Over the past 6-7 months, I’ve had to seriously think about my own happiness.
I graduated and decided to stay in the city that I studied in, whilst a lot of my friends (including the boyfriend) moved away or back home. Those of them that do live near me, live with their other halves, whilst I live with a super busy and sociable student, who I rarely see to say good morning to.
In a way, I love my new-found independence. But, I didn’t realise how much I depended on other people to be happy.
It wasn’t always this way. I grew up as an only child and had to make my own entertainment. I was used to playing on my own, occupying myself and just generally being alone. I grew to favour my own company.
But, there’s something about sharing a house with lots of students for 3 years that means that you become a little too dependent and reliant on people being there for you.
Having a bit of a bad day? Just pop down to the kitchen and have a rant over a cuppa with your bestie. Need to go food shopping? Ask your boyfriend to help you carry the bags. Want to see that film or go to that gig? Just put a post on the group chat and you’ll have someone to go with.
So, it’s no wonder then that over the last few months, I’ve felt a little isolated, a bit lonely and slightly lost. I then had this funny realisation. I could make my own happiness.
It’s funny because I feel more ‘me’ than ever before. I feel like I’m returning to that independent little girl who would make her own entertainment. At the same time, I’m not sat here pretending that I own a post office or writing out registers for my pretend class! (Did anyone else used to do this as a kid?)
But, I am doing little things for me. Things that make me happy. And whilst I do get a lot of happiness from others, I’m not completely emotionally reliant on them.
Today is International Happiness Day and here are 4 steps to creating your own happiness.
Do something for you.
You know that thing that you’ve always wanted to do? Do it.
Whether it’s picking up a new craft, learning a new language or playing sport, just go out and do it. Google some local classes or clubs near you and bite the bullet. If you fill your life with the things that you love doing, I promise that you will feel a lot happier.
For me, I’ve always loved crafting. This took a back burner when I was a student because I was simply too busy. Now, I am working my way through all the arts and crafts that I want to try, from sewing, to cross stitching and even candle making.
Make the most of your time alone.
I’m currently in this weird situation where I am ‘the single friend’. Of course, I’m not actually single, but I only get to see Aaron once a month at the most. The rest of the time I do spend ‘alone’, whilst a lot of my pals live with their partners.
At first, this was quite distressing. I was even feeling like a third wheel with my parents!
I’m now trying to approach this sense of loneliness in a different way. I’m making the most of this time; my free evenings, my spare days. I don’t have to ‘check in’ with someone if I want to sign up for an evening class, or if I need to stay up late to work. I’m appreciating all the time that I have alone because I might not get much of it later in life.
My friend lives by the mantra that your 20s are for you, and I’m slowly adopting this myself.
Look after yourself.
If it’s one thing that makes me feel absolutely crap, it’s when I don’t look after myself. To feel happy, you must try and look after your physical and mental wellbeing. I’m not saying going for a run twice a day and staying super positive all the time. Just take steps to nourish and exercise your body.
For me, this means making sure I eat regular, nutritious meals and that I stay active. Again, I’m not super duper healthy, but I’ll make sure that I have breakfast, lunch and dinner, go for a walk and perhaps the gym 2-4 times a week.
Even if I’m not losing weight, I feel happier because I feel productive and stronger. One of the main reasons I get down is because I feel sluggish and fat to put it bluntly, so taking these steps has really improved my own happiness. It also links in with doing something for yourself.
Don’t wait for someone else to buy you flowers, buy a bunch for yourself. Have a nice, relaxing bath. Cook yourself a nice dinner. Hey, even go out for dinner. Pop a face mask on. Read a book. Anything that makes you happy. Perhaps set a day or evening aside each week to indulge in yourself.
I personally love making myself a fresh coffee in the mornings. It’s something to look forward to. I also like cooking properly for myself. Cooking for one sucks because you can easily fall into the habit of eating ‘quick’ and ‘easy’ food that’s unhealthy and tastes rubbish. I don’t really enjoy cooking, but I do enjoy the feeling of making an effort for myself.
Let me know in the comments or on Twitter how you make your own happiness. Have you ever been in a similar rut to me? I’d love to know that I’m not the only one.