How I became happy again

It's so easy to lose yourself when you become a mum...

In the early days, you're at the beck and call of a tiny dictator, so something as simple as having a shower can feel like a real treat!

You may then get so used to putting everybody else first that you forget your own needs

I only woke up to this fact a few years ago.  So I decided to do some training that was less about exercise for once and more about my mood.

I learnt a few simple steps and have been implementing these regularly and it has made such a difference!  I hope something here will help you too

1.  Create a happiness buffet

This is a list of things that make you happy. You can make it as big as you like, but just make sure that at least half of them aren't dependent on money, other people, the location or the weather.  This means I now have a list of activities to call on when I'm feeling low.  But ideally, I'm doing something from that list every day, or at least weekly,   This not only gives pleasure at the time, but you can also get anticipatory pleasure as you look forward to it!

2. Be grateful

List three things you are grateful for today.  Even if you can't think of anything immediately, when you look hard enough there is always something to be grateful for.  It's so easy to focus on the bad stuff - this just changes that around a bit.  And what you focus on grows - so the more good you look for, the more good you find!  And - like the looking forward to something from your happiness buffet - you get to feel the same pleasure again as you remember what you are grateful for!

3. Move your body

The easiest way to do this is to get some kind of exercise in. Whether it’s stretching, yoga, a walk or a run, or an exercise class, it all helps. I do lymphatic release in the morning which just involves a bit of slapping myself and then bouncing up and down!  Takes a couple of minutes but it still works to improve my mood!

Dancing works too - it has the added benefit of music, which is also a quick way to lift your mood. I’ve put together an album of songs that I know make me want to dance/sing and play it when I need to lift my mood. 

Other ways to change your physiological state, which then changes your mood are cold showers and massage (self massage and Trigger Point Pilates would also work - unless you have a willing partner!). And even just changing your posture can make a difference - try standing in a power pose for a few moments!

4. Meditate

This is the one I find hardest to fit in to my day.  But it doesn't have to be anything more than being quiet and focusing on your breathing. Any time you can take out of your day to calm your breath is going to help ease stress and anxiety.  My favourite breathing exercise is Hypopressives and I do find this meditative.  But if I need to reduce my stress quickly I do box breathing - breathe in for 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, hold for 4.

Another reason meditating is beneficial is because it is more restorative than REM sleep - so it's a good way to feel more rested if you’re not sleeping well. And it doesn’t matter if you fall asleep whilst meditating, it just means you needed it!

Hope you can give at least one of these a go and that they help you as much as it has helped me! 


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