2017 didn't get off to the best of starts here in the Turone household. With one thing or another breaking (namely our evil car, but also the husbands fairly new van also decided to have problems.. vehicles..huuuff!), job situations massively changing without warning, little work on the blogging front for me, plus huge bloggers block and bills flooding in quicker than we could even contemplate our pennies, I felt engulfed with an overwhelming urge to curl up into the foetal position and cry for the foreseeable.
Life is never easy for some, and we just so happen to be in that some category.
All sounds pretty terrible doesn't it?(No teeny tiny violins necessary, I promise I'm going somewhere with this)
And if I'm honest (which if you've been here a long time you know i always have been, even through our lowest point 4 years ago where we had to close our 7 year business, move out of our house and lost pretty much everything) I felt incredibly low.
Low doesn't even cover it. Screaming to the ceiling "WHY US??!" in amongst shed loads of tears and frustration was closer to the mark.
We have been through A LOT in our nearly 11 years together. Sometimes a stroke of luck would be nice.
Through the fug of anxiety and melancholy I started to think about what makes me really happy.
There are different bands of happy isn't there, like life altering all-blazing happiness: unequivocal family love, then there's surface happiness: Pretty Flowers and nice makeup, and then there is daily happiness: taking that long walk, reading a great book, laughing out loud at a sitcom.
It is so easy to get hung up on the bad stuff I'd forgotten how to be happy. I'd forgotten how to enjoy even the smallest of things.
I realised I needed to find my happiness again and that it wasn't just going to fall in my lap, I had to make an effort if I wanted to actually feel that emotion that had become so distant from me.
Firstly, Life is all about attraction. What you attract in to you life is what you create.
I had to start attracting more positive things rather than constantly focusing on the negative. Its easier said than done i know, but these are some of the steps I've taken towards my own
Personal Happiness Project.
I hope these may help you or just inspire you to make your own Happiness project.
Take a Digital break
Sometimes the digital world can be a place of inspiration, sometimes it can be a place of compassion leading to depression. I find when I'm feeling low i need to take a small step away from the perfect reality that those Instagram squares portray. I, like everyone, only post the best bits about the best, prettiest, nicest parts of life, but it can leave you feeling like life is perfect or better for others.
Take a step back from social media and read a book, preferably a good ol' paper book as there is less temptation to browse the internet than when you are on a tablet/pad/kindle, plus to feel the book secure in your hands is a very grounding feeling.
In February i picked the book Happy by Fearne Cotton. It gives simple relatable advice and exercises for those times when things are just not great. Fearne openly talks about her walk with depression, and her honesty makes this book an empathetic read full of comfort for the fact you know someone else has felt things that maybe you're experiencing.
Now if i'm feeling the lowness creep in, i retreat to my bedroom and read a few chapters and it brings me back to a happier position or at least give me the tools to take on any struggles i may have.
When i was going through a low point the mundanity of the day to day rat race of life was really getting me down. The consistent pack lunch, school run, make dinner, supermarket shop routine was making me irritable and feel low (I'm a Sagittarius we crave adventure and change), and without anything to look forward to it all started to get me down.
To have something to look forward to really helps my mental state. Whether that be a small date night with my husband, a day out with my family or a special event to plan, it's just nice to have that something to break up the monotony. Our brains need fresh stimulation, so for me visiting new places and doing new things helps my mind and feeds my soul. I love visiting beaches and feel my soul sigh whenever i'm beside the sea. Its my happy place.
Since the low point that was Janurary, I have visited Bristol, taken Husband to a show, visited a new vegan restaurant, filmed a segment with the BBC for TV, had a few mini dates to the cinema with Salvatore, visited the beach and booked a summer holiday for the family.
I also have more plans to break up the months to come, such as a Date day once a month for Salv and I, discovering new Vegan restaurants and taking in a few more cities.
I need these plans to help me feel excited for life, as lets face it, scraping the squished sandwiches out of your sons lunch box every day sometimes doesn't feed the mind or soul... just the bin;)
Don't become a recluse
I'm renowned for doing this, whenever things get a bit low i retreat to my house and don't leave for the foreseeable, thinking it better I just stay in my safe place. Before you know it one day bleeds in to the next and you've spent weeks just in one place, venturing out just for the school run in my case.
I can't stress how important it is to go out.
Force yourself to go out for that walk, it'll probably feel like the last thing you want to do, but just take that step outside the door, go for a walk, even if it's just around the block.
My friend Karen is aware that i easily fall in to the trap of becoming a recluse, so she takes charge and makes plans for us to meet up. Often it will be just down the road from me, understanding that sometimes when you've' been in one place for so long it suddenly becomes a big deal to leave it. Anxiety can often follow. Starting close to home helps.
That hour out for a coffee can really change things, it can make you see that the world carries on and so do you.
Talk about it
Us women like a good natter don't we. I can talk about the weather, fashion, holidays, celeb gossip and general light hearted banter with the best of them (My husband finds it highly amusing, he thinks i could keep a conversation going in an empty room), but when it comes to feelings and emotions, i clam up. I don't share my complaints or thoughts in-case i appear a bit moany or a Debbie downer. But the truth of it is? There are people who want to listen. We all have those true friendships in our lives that will listen to our highs and lows and we will do the same in return. I have my sister, she is my confidante and will give me her ear any time of day and in return gives me her honest opinion and help.
The fact of it is, seek out someone who will listen and cares for you, a problem shared is always a problem halved. There is nothing ever to be ashamed of if you genuinely feel down. You are entitled to your emotions and your significant person (my sister in this case) will always recognise this, Talking helps your mind to unravel any thing that may have gotten knotty in your mind.
Write it down in a Gratitude Journal
I started this as a way of seeing the good.
It is so easy to be swept up in the bad and therefore be engulfed with all the crappy things going on that you can't see past them. By focusing daily or weekly on writing 5 good things that happened really brings to the forefront of the mind that this is good to be seen. I love to do this. Not only does it help put things in to perspective but its also lovely to read back on previous entries especially when you're feeling low, it will act as a reminder that life has some wonderful moments too.
I like to do my gratitude list of 5 point once a week. I have a beautiful note pad dedicated to my happiness and i enjoy taking 15 minutes to write my entry each week.
Do something that pleases just you!
I can get lost in there sometimes amongst all the humdrum of daily chores and forget I'm a person with hopes and likes too.
So i've started to do something for me once a week. Whether that be taking myself shopping, having my nails done in a salon, or just going to Starbucks with a book and having an hour out with a coffee. Its often just face value things, but sometimes that's all i need. A pretty manicure, those lovely flowers you bought yourself or that delicious coffee you just enjoyed. Focusing on just you for one hour a week brings much more patience to give others. Its win win.
And that's it, my happiness project is something i constantly have to work on and make mental provisions for. But just as we try and take care of our bodies, its important we take care of our minds too.