Each day can be a struggle or a hassle, or just plain hard when you have stress in your life. Shout out to the entire human population. Sometimes, although we do not like to admit it, it can feel like we are just going through the motions. Just waiting for the next unimpressive moment to pass us by. I have found that this is no way to live life, much less enjoy it. Furthermore, I have found that this type of depression or melancholy only creeps in through the cracks of bad habits. Sometimes addictive habits.
For example, the most prominent example, at least in my life, is my phone prior to sleeping. I feel like a failed researcher. A result of addiction. I am addicted to my phone and can sometimes spend upwards of an hour just scrolling through mindlessness as I lay down to sleep. I noticed this bad habit and tried some nights to read instead.
The results of my little experiment were shocking. And when I say shocking, I mean not at all. When I fell asleep reading, I felt like I got an extra 3 hours of sleep. Instead of snoozing my alarm 11 times until I eventually accidentally turn all of them off and oversleep, I felt myself rise with the sun, with ease. And yet, I still retreat to my phone most nights. Funny how addiction works like that.
Even knowingly, we make choices that do not enrich ourselves and do not prepare us for success. It is obvious that some days we just need that guilty pleasure. An instant effortless break from the harsh and ruthless world. But it is when this break becomes a habit that we start creating more problems than we are escaping.
For those of you still with me, get excited, it only goes up from here. There are a few simple changes or additions to your day that I have found not only enrich the moment but create a mindset that sets the stage for a good day. I am now going to share with you some of these things, so stay tuned.
When you wake up, go wash your face. Maybe put on some moisturizer, too. This little addition makes you feel lighter and brighter. You cannot underestimate the self-confidence you get from a little self-care.
Find a tea you like. Experiment if you have to. Make sure you have an outstanding mug and maybe an adorable loose leaf tea holder if you're fancy like that. And sit down for five minutes to drink this tea. Do not look at your phone. Maybe take this time to read a newspaper, or catch up on some other form of reading, or even write down your goals for the day. Five minutes of serenity each morning can wash away any self-doubt and put you in the perfect state of mind to find happiness and purpose that day.
Dress to impress yourself. If that means wearing your comfiest pants and Chuck Taylors, then you rock that outfit. If that means finally wearing that bold piece you bought on a spontaneous impulse, then you rock that boldness, honey. Maybe this means just simply wearing that red lipstick instead of peach, or gelling your hair back so it has the perfect flow. Take the time to make sure you are happy and confident in yourself each day. Once you've done that, you're unstoppable.
Listen to podcasts. Or maybe you prefer audiobooks, or maybe you just like music. Find a way to enrich your commute even if it is 10 minutes. That's time for a third of a "Getting Curious" episode with Jonathan Van Ness, which is my personal favorite, or at least four pump-up songs to get you ready for the day. Whatever it may be that you prefer, finding a way to enjoy this otherwise wasted time brings about countless smiles and happy moments that may have been lost otherwise.
The next one does not seem too important or obvious. And it certainly was not something I started doing with the intention to gain happiness. It was really more out of convenience. Although, I have found that having a specific water bottle, one that I like, one that is aesthetically pleasing, as they say, brings me an unexpected amount of joy.
I love having it and carrying it around. In a way, it is a subtle form of self-identity. I stay hydrated, I create less waste, and I am constantly reminded of all of those facts. I do not decorate mine with stickers, but there are infinite ways to personalize your own. This is just one small way to take pride in everything you do in life. Embrace even the little things and it will all add up, I promise.
Fit in some exercise. Yes, I know no one actually wants to do this one. But the tricky thing about exercise is that you have to do it to appreciate its benefits. No one sets out to do a workout because it seems like a ball of fun, but because it leaves them feeling better afterward.
That being said, there are infinite ways to fulfill this. Many that are vastly more enjoyable than 30 minutes on the elliptical. I love doing an hour of hot yoga or regular yoga. Or maybe going on a walk. But that is personal to me. If you do not have a form of exercise you particularly enjoy, then experiment. Rock climbing, weightlifting, cross fit, swimming, walking, or anything else you can think of.
It takes an extra amount of effort to break these habits, or even to create new ones. You must not only want to, you must commit. And once you do, the feeling of freedom is overwhelming. Set yourself free to be happy as can be.