Crikey, is that the wankiest blog title you’ve ever read? I think it’s the wankiest I’ve ever typed.
But bear with me gang, because this post is important.
In my (almost) twenty-nine years on this planet, I have always lived day to day without giving it too much thought. Sure, as an adult I have a nifty to-do list to tick off in order to make me feel like I have my shit together – especially now working from home and for myself – but I never gave much thought around actually living my life and looking after my happiness intentionally.
Or is it? I can hazard a guess that I’m not alone in this. In our innate need to be “successful” in our jobs or relationships, we forget to look internally at what happiness looks like. We have moments of happiness or happy memories, but how often do we reflect on them? How often do we make a mental or physical note of these times – especially when the moments or memories are small and often mundane?
OK so I’ll stop with the rhetorical questions now. But it’s something to think about. It’s something I’ve been thinking about, a lot.
I came across The Happiness Planner some time ago after seeing Holly share hers on Instagram and on her blog. After a few months, I started looking into it and finally bought one the other week. Does anyone else have a level of inbuilt resistance to buying something that isn’t on Amazon? Oh shit, I said I’d stop asking rhetorical questions didn’t I? There I go again.
The reason I was drawn to The Happiness Planner was because it looked like the perfect journalling tool that wouldn’t require too much effort or any artistic talent (bujo’s ain’t for me, chaps) to fill it out – it was simply about reflecting on the individual days, and the week as a whole to check in that I was looking after number one properly.
Not entirely committing (as per me), I opted for the 100 Day Planner and I’m quite looking forward to whether it does make a difference.
For each day, you have to fill out what you feel grateful for, and the things that have been good about your day. It might sound cheesy if you’ve never journaled before (I hadn’t, and it did), but by knowing you have these sections to fill in, you start to live the day with more intention…intention to have things to add to those boxes without having to clutch at straws.
Self-care and living intentionally
So how have I been living more intentionally? Well, it starts with self-care. It’s about finding the time to do something just for you. Create daily or weekly actions that make you happy.
Here are a few of the actions I have been taking lately to practice self-care:
- Gone for a walk in the sunshine and left my phone at home – that shit is revolutionary
- Headed up to bed earlier to read a book for 10 minutes – peace and quiet at it’s finest
- Instead of getting ready for work immediately in the morning, I sometimes sit downstairs and have a cup of tea first
- I stop obsessively checking Twitter and Instagram (still working on this…old habits die hard, y’all)
But it’s also about recognising the fact that self-care can be incorporated into your day in so many different ways. It can be the first cup of tea in the day, the lunch time walk or the Netflix binge in the evening. It can be spent on your own, or with a loved one.
It doesn’t have to be that stereotypical bath, book and a candle if that isn’t your style. It isn’t mine. I hate baths. I’m not wild on candles either *collective gasp from the blogging community*.
So as well as practising self-care like it’s going out of fashion, there are a few more things you can do to live more intentionally without having to really make many changes to your everyday.
Think about what you want your day to look like
In the morning, grab a cuppa and a pen and paper (or journal), and think about what you *want* the day to look like. I like to include creative endeavours in my day so that I’m not just dealing with emails and admin. Luckily my job makes that easy, but if you can’t have a creative moment in your working day, think about what you could do over lunch or in the evening to ignite your creative flame.
Make a wish list, and consider ways you could add daily or weekly actions that help you achieve even a portion of that ideal day.
Reflect on each day
With my Happiness Planner, I start writing my schedule and to-do’s in the morning, but then revisit it in the evening to fill out what’s made me happy and what I’m grateful for. That way, I’m spending dedicated, book-ended time in my day to monitor my happiness and plan for the next day.
You don’t need a planner to do this – in fact, Liam and I started telling each other before we went to sleep each night just three things about our day that were good/we enjoyed. Some days are harder than others, but the rule is that it has to be at least three things. It means you go to bed in a better mood because you’ve focused on the positives. Even if those positives are minor, they are still important.
Make changes when you recognise the need for them
This is easier said than done – but if you realise that scrolling through Instagram in the evening is making you feel sad, annoyed or [insert any other negative emotion here], then cut that shit out.
Put your phone in a different room, making it more difficult to give in to temptation. Replace this action with something you know you enjoy doing. I was scrolling through Instagram before I started writing this post and realised quickly that I didn’t actually *want* to be scrolling through Instagram, so I’ll do something I do enjoy doing instead.
Bloody revolutionary, right?!