Yesterday was 'Blue Monday'. A day that is supposedly the unhappiest day of the year, according to the media. The comedown from Christmas has kicked in and the freshness of the new year has worn off. I had a good day yesterday as it happens. I didn't know it was 'Blue Monday' for a start, so that will have helped, not being told to be sad by the media. I have been using my motivation to help me on my fitness journey again.
For the last week, I have done a 25-minute workout each day, I'm not going to lie, it was horrible. Getting myself to jump around like a lunatic again, after doing pretty much nothing in the way of exercise, was not my idea of fun. However, I feel great the instant I complete it and it makes me happy for the rest of the day knowing that it's out of the way.
I wanted to share some tips with you on how to have a happier day, which is basically my rough routine for an average day in my life.
I know what you're thinking, you haven't got time to be sat in a trance on a morning while the kids need feeding and taking to school? Well you might be in for a surprise, as meditating doesn't necessarily mean spending ages listening to sounds of nature and chanting lots of vowels. You can get plenty of short guided meditations on Youtube, for as little as ten minutes. There are lots of apps too, that are designed to help you be mindful and have a few minutes to be still and in the moment. I love starting my day listening to positive affirmations, which get me in the mood for a productive day.
This does not have to mean a gruelling workout, that takes an hour. Again, there are so many short routines that can be done. If you follow any fitness coach online, such as Joe Wicks, there will be any number of ten-minute workouts you can choose from. I do T25 which is a Beachbody plan, where you do 25 minutes a day for 5 days. Sometimes I miss days and that's okay because it's about balance. If you have a dog, that's a great excuse to get outdoors. I have a Fitbit which tracks your steps, calories and sleep habits and I must say it's been a great motivator.
3. To do list.
At the end of the day, make a list of what you would like to achieve the next day. Writing down your intentions helps you keep track of what you are doing. It could even be a rough timeline of how you want your day to go. I do this, and it helps me get so much more accomplished, than if I just got up and went into the day with no plan. You should also make a list of goals you want to accomplish in life, making sure you regularly keep track of and update it. When you put the effort into jotting down what you want, it helps with the process of achieving.
4. Nourish yourself well.
I'm not here to preach about diets or fads, but I will say feed yourself in the best possible way. Have a delicious breakfast you enjoy, just make sure it's prepared as healthily as it can be. Upon waking, get a drink of water before anything else and if you take any supplements, take them with the water and you won't need to remember later in the morning. Try not to skip this meal, as it's the most important one of the day. If you can, sit and enjoy it instead of rushing round. If you really don't have the time, then prepare some bags of chopped fruits and vegetables ready to blend into a healthy smoothie.
This might surprise you on a list of things to do to make you happy, but let's face it, who likes being unproductive? By work, I mean work that helps you accomplish those goals you have. Take small steps each day towards your goal and it WILL become a reality. If you have a job that you don't like, think what it is you want to do and take action. Take the courses you need, do the training, it will all fall into place if you put the effort in. I love ticking off my to-do list as I go through the day. It keeps me on track and I can visualise how productive I've been, which lifts my mood instantly.
I don't care who if you are a rocket scientist, there's always something else you can learn. Didn't make college? So what, everyone is capable of learning something new, if it interests them. I'm not suggesting you go out and try to speak Swahili, when you've no intention of setting foot anywhere that speaks the language. Going back to the goals, what extra skills might you need to help you get them? If you want to run your own business, why not try a course in book-keeping? Always wanted to be able to fix your own car? Grow a vegetable patch? The library is a great place to find books on specialised topics. You can literally learn anything these days on the internet. Use it to your advantage and take steps to learn as much as you can.
I know a lot of people who say they don't like reading. I say the same thing every time, how can you not like escaping into another world by yourself, for as long as you want? If reading is not your strong point, then how about trying an audio book? I love nothing more than curling up in the corner of my sofa with a blanket and a book. You don't have to read a different book every week, just try a chapter a day if you prefer. Again, the library is full of them and it's free. What more could you want?
An activity I've never had trouble with - actually that's a lie - it was all I got into trouble for at school! How many of us these days take the time to talk to one another? I don't mean type, text or message. I'm talking - okay I'm typing - about talking. Families are becoming more and more disconnected as technology takes over. Before you make an effort to do this, or if you don't think this is an issue, make a note of how often you speak to the members of your family - not texting, but talking. I bet you will be surprised. How well do you know your children? Are they little people that pass by and end up in their rooms, only to leave for school again the next day? Do you have meaningful relationships? Just a little effort will go a long way, I promise.
9. Do something that makes you or someone else smile.
At least once a day, you should be involved in something that makes your heart sing. Ideally your job, but if not - remember those goals - try an activity you really enjoy instead. If you like to paint, draw or write get the brushes, pencils and pens out. So what, if you're not the greatest at your chosen pass time, that's not the point. The point is to feel happy doing what you love. If you know someone is struggling at the moment and you want to help them, why not go for a cuppa and a chat. Do a favour where you can help someone and don't ask for nothing in return. The feeling you get from doing a good deed is far better than the feeling of treating yourself to something you didn't need.
10. Wind down.
I love the feeling at the end of a day where I've completed all my jobs. It's important after a busy day to wind down properly too. Light the candles, put on some chill out music, run a bubble bath. Take steps to relax after a hectic day. Most people have a night time routine for their children, but not themselves. Make the most of your 'you' time. Don't spend hours on social media scrolling through the same rubbish. Spend some time journaling, about what in your day you were grateful for, or what you wish to change or improve. Do some yoga, a good stretch before bed is a fantastic way to end the day. Kiss your children goodnight, tell your partner you love them, smile as you get into your bed as tomorrow, you get a whopping 24 more hours to use.