You may or may not be aware that on Monday I turned 26. The past 12 months have been full of extreme highs, Alex’s birth being the best, as well as some terrible lows, post natal depression and anxiety being the absolute worst. While I did enjoy being 25, for the most part, and I don’t really love the idea of edging ever closer to 30, I can’t help but feel that my 26th year on earth is going to be my best yet. I know it might seem a bit cliché but I am seeing turning 26 as the perfect opportunity for a fresh start and to change my life for the better. How am I going to create this new, happier version of my self you may be wondering? Well, let me tell you how..
5 steps to a happier me
1. Be grateful every day – For Mother’s Day the boys bought me a gratitude journal. I have been kind of putting off writing in it for some reason, although there are so many things I am grateful for every day I still often find myself stuck thinking about all the negative things that have gone on during the day or worrying about the future. After having it sat on my shelf for the past couple months, today I finally picked up my gratitude journal and wrote down everything that I am grateful for today. Yes, I struggled at first as I was fresh from a bedtime battle with Leo and I am worrying about a hospital appointment on Friday but I moved those negative thoughts aside and was able to enjoy looking back on the positives of the day. The aim of the journal is to achieve 100 days of happiness, by writing down everything you are grateful for each day and reminding yourself how it is you want to be feeling apparently your whole entire outlook on life can change for the better.
2. Eat well – Ok, I am not going to be munching on kale for breakfast and eating meals of quinoa with chicken anytime soon BUT I am going to try and make more of a conscious effort to shove less cake into my face and eat more healthily. As far as a healthy diet goes I don’t think I am doing too bad, I don’t eat loads of ‘bad’ foods and I am actually one of those strange people who enjoys a salad. However, when I don’t eat healthily for a couple days it doesn’t take long for my mood to slip. Sugary foods may perk me up on a bad day but sometimes the subsequent sugar crash just isn’t worth it. Also, if I eat too many carbs it makes me feel lethargic and a bit rubbish. Obviously I am not swearing off pizza and chocolate for the rest of my life but I am just going to try and exercise a bit of will power and not give in to treat temptation too often.
3. Make time for ME – So, when I was really quite depressed and suffering with bad anxiety after Alex was born I really wasn’t looking after myself very well. I was so concerned with making sure my family were all happy and looked after that I was forgetting to care for myself too. It is a shame that it took me running to my health visitor in floods of tears to realise that something needed to change but at least now I understand that, to be the best possible mum and a happy person, I need to be looking after myself as well as making sure my kids are ok. I am going to make sure I do something for me every day, be that a long hot bath at the end of the day or sitting and reading for 15 minutes while the kids play or nap, I just need to make time for myself and, most importantly, not feel guilty about it.
4. Exercise – So we all know that exercise releases those happy hormones but it is also true that working out can be hard and requires time, effort and motivation. For the past few years I have lacked all three of those things, or so I told myself anyway. I was recently asked to review a new online fitness programme for mums (Lean Mums) and, I am not just saying this, it is slowly changing my life. I am not going to tell you all about it now as I will have a full review coming very soon but it is the first time in my life I have actually stuck to an exercise regime. I am working out every morning for no more than 10 minutes (lack of time is a real struggle you guys) and even just after a short workout I am feeling amazing and ready to take on the day. It is amazing how by just moving your body that little bit more you can really change your whole mood and feel so much more motivated to tackle anything the day decides to throw at you which, believe me, can be A LOT of challenges when you are at home all day with 2 small people.
5. Dream big – If I fail at everything else on this list, this is the one thing I want to make sure I actually do this year. I am awful for squashing my dreams in their infancy as, whatever they may be, I convince myself I am not good enough to make them happen. Be it a job opportunity, a potential friendship or just a small yet unfamiliar task, I am often guilty of letting doubts and anxiety get the better of me instead of just going for it. NO MORE. I am going to dream big this year and I am going to try my best to make those dreams a reality. Here’s a secret for you, it has been my dream since I was little to write a book. I love writing, hence the blog, and I am such a bookworm at heart. I haven’t gone for it before as I, alongside the self doubt, have never really had an idea for a story but now I finally do. Of course there is a part of me that wants to quit before I have even typed out my first sentence but I am not going to let that part win. I am going to release my creative side and just go for it, the words might tumble out on to the page and be a load of rubbish but if I don’t even try how will I ever know? There could be a bestseller brewing in my mind and I will only regret it when I’m older if I don’t at least take a stab at crafting it into the book I have dreamt of writing since I was a little girl.
Another dream of mine is this here blog. Naptime Natter is now over 2 years old and, while it’s not doing too badly, I really want it to grow and flourish in blog land. I want new mums searching the web for solidarity in their parenting woes or a mum-to-be seeking honest advice from someone’s raw real life experiences to stumble across my blog and to feel a bit better after reading it. These people are only going to find my blog if I put more effort into getting it out there. Self promotion does not really go hand in hand with self doubt and an anxious brain but I am going to try harder to get the right eyes on my blog and to build on everything I have been doing since I started Naptime Natter at the beginning of 2015. In an attempt to start putting myself out there I have decided to go up for this years BiBs awards (Brilliance In Blogging). I am doing this to prove to myself that dreaming big and trying to reach those dreams doesn’t have to be a big scary thing and that, even though my brain tries to tell me otherwise, I am a good blogger and why shouldn’t all my hard work be in with a chance of being recognised?
So, if I have ever written anything that has made you feel less alone in your parenting journey, if I have ever made you laugh or cry, helped you or reassured you in any way then I would absolutely love for you to vote for me in the family and lifestyle category (or any other you think fits) for this years BiBs awards by clicking here. I know the competition is tough and there are loads of fabulous bloggers out there but if you like me and my blog then I would be so happy to receive your vote.
There you have it, 5 steps to a happier me. Being 25 was good but it wasn’t great and I want 26 year old me to be the happiest me there has ever been. If I can stick to these 5 little lifestyle changes then I don’t see why, by this time next year, I won’t be a so much happier Mummy, wife and woman.
Have you ever suffered with low mood, depression or anxiety? What do you do to make yourself feel happier? What are your thoughts on dreaming big, do you get scared and give up or do you acknowledge your dreams and just go for it? I would love to hear your thoughts 🙂