Lately I’ve been feeling weighed down by the little itty bits of every day life. The kids and marriage are great, I have wonderful friends, my family is doing well and the weather is gorgeous. The mental checklist of “Big Happy Things” can be checked and double checked. So the blahs are coming from the little things – the ruts and routines that we fall into and repeat daily because we haven’t asked ourselves why recently.
So I’ve been taking baby steps towards cutting out any ruts that aren’t working as a routine for myself or my family and reevaluating those itty bitty details of daily life. How can I cultivate habits that build me up instead of slowly draining me. Here are some of my ideas.
- Clutter for me is often a big culprit to my over all mood. Sometimes, when a room has gotten out of control, I can feel my mood darken just by walking into it. Piles of clutter are an unfortunately common occurrence in our home (yours too?) and though I’ve never found a way to eliminate it entirely, I do try to find new ideas to tackle certain areas and improve their functionality. A new basket to hold the 8,000 remotes in the living room, a bulletin board to hang up all the random schedules and important school information. Or even just finding an actual home for the things in our house which seem to be nomadic by default.
- Drama shows are addictive but as someone who tends to get highly absorbed by the lives of the characters in these shows, sometimes there are just too many fictional people to worry about. Lately I’ve been gravitating towards comedies and I’ve been slowly cutting down on shows that don’t make me laugh / leave me feeling happy, like the dramas that have been too dramatic and are weighing on my soul. If you are flipping through your DVR and feel any animosity towards watching a backlog of shows that have recorded, give yourself the freedom to walk away.
- Similarly, read something happy. There is plenty of time for lofty literary fiction or thought provoking non-fiction. If you need a lift, I highly recommend reading something funny. I love all the new celebrity / comedian memoirs that have been coming out lately and picked up a copy of Girl Walks Into a Bar by Rachel Dratch at the used book store this week. The first pages of the book instantly made me smile – just what the doctor ordered!
- Listen to an uplifting song and if possible, dance. Liven up mundane chores or long commutes with music that makes you happy. If the morning DJ on your daily commute irritates you, stop listening to the station and find something else. Take a break from paperwork and have a mini jam session until your head is back in the game. I recommend: Katy Perry, Meghan Trainor or Iggy Azalea these days but I’m guessing you already have a few songs in mind of your own.
- If all else fails, get outside and take a walk or do some laps at the gym. Exercise is a great mood lifter even though up until the workout, it usually feels like a terrible idea to me – I never regret getting in a good walk. Bonus boost: listen to those uplifting tunes while you walk or find a good friend to walk with you. Then it feels less like exercise and more like a break.
These are just a few of my favorite ways to lift my mood.
What are your favorite tricks for getting happy?