Happy SELF CARE SATURDAY to you!
I never usually begin a blog post with a picture but I just wanted to get us to think for a minute. Today I’ll be talking about happiness and self-care…
I believe that true happiness isn’t just a feeling, when fully actualised, it also becomes a state of being – although it can manifest in lots of ways. And for me, my happiness involves consciously taking in things that will lift me up; actively choosing joy over sadness; fleeing from negative vibes and toxic situations… Just in case you hadn’t realised yet, I am a Christian and the Bible doesn’t joke about when it says that we’re going to face trials and lots of them. It’s not easy. Still, through it all we mustn’t lose heart (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). My joy is in the Lord first and foremost, but I put some other things in place to help keep my happiness high and my self-care game strong alongside my foundation of faith.
Here’s my version of the A-Z of Happiness Challenge:
Appreciate your blessings: I’ve said this in a previous blog post* but it really is necessary. Make it a habit to find something to be thankful for everyday (even for the little things!) and you’ll see just how much you actually do have.
Balance: It is very important to find the right balance for your life. My friend recently reminded me that we all have the same 24 hours in our day, we just choose to spend our time differently. Devoting too much time to one thing and neglecting another can be detrimental for your growth. Balance and moderation go hand in hand – master it.
Cultivate meaningful, fruitful relationships: Friendships, romantic relationships, family relationships. Surround yourself with people that will lift you up and reciprocate that! (Proverbs 27:17). And then make memories with these people.
Date yourself: I know right… sounds strange. The concept behind dating yourself is that it gives you the chance to get to know yourself better and become more independent. It reinforces the idea that happiness starts within because you literally find joy in being in your own company. If you can be happy all by yourself, you won’t have to rely on other people for your happiness – they will add to but not be the complete source of your happiness. Through dating yourself you can learn more about your strengths, weaknesses and areas for growth. Some date ideas include: cinema, concert, physical activity, cooking or dining out, whatever your hobby is really.
Energy: Make a list of where most of your time (and therefore energy) goes and evaluate each thing honestly. I became so much happier when I cut out some of the biggest wastes/drains on my energy and replaced it with good vibes. #StrictlyPosVibesOnly
Freedom: Enjoy your freedom and use it to do good for you and those around you (Galatians 5:13-14)
Grooming: I know I said happiness for me starts from the inside, but that definitely doesn’t mean we should neglect our outward appearance. When I know I look good, I tend to feel good, and then do good, what about you?
Hobbies & YOU time: Again this can be in your own company, but the goal is to create time to do the things you are passionate about. All work and no play is draining.
Individuality: In the copycat world that we live in, we’re surrounded by clones. You will never be happy trying to live someone else’s life. Be yourself and embrace that fully. We can draw inspiration from others, whilst remaining individual.
Joy (choose it): You have to CHOOSE to be happy sometimes, despite contrary factors that will try to steal your joy.
Kindness (show it): Intentional words and acts of kindness go such a long way. It makes me feel good to know I’ve made someone else feel good.
Love (do it): Love or hate – choose one, you really can’t be about the business of both. (John 15:12)
Mental Health: Your mental health is so important and naturally has a big impact on your happiness. It might be a taboo to discuss mental health in some cultures but this does not negate its importance. Don’t just ignore the telling signs of anger, anxiety and panic attacks, depression etc. Accept that you have an issue and seek meaningful counsel. (Mental health scripture bank)
Not everything and everyone appears as they seem: Exercise wisdom. Have your guard up when necessary to shield yourself from hurt.
Opinions: Everyone is going to have an opinion on you and the way you conduct your life, but it is not every opinion that you must take in. Not every opinion comes from a place of truth and love. Again, exercise wisdom.
Positive affirmations: There is so much power in the tongue! Speak good things over yourself and watch them come to fruition… A good habit: Each morning, tell yourself that you are going to have a great day. Whether it comes to pass or not, at the very least your positive affirmations and perspective should help you to navigate obstacles throughout your day better than if you’re being a Negative Nancy from the outset.
Quitting means you have 0% chance of winning: Imagine that – you ran all this way just to turn back? Run like someone who is serious about getting the real prize (1 Corinthians 9:23-25).
Rest: Another key to happiness is rest. Life moves so quickly sometimes that it is very easy to forget that you need to pause and rest to be able to function properly. I studied Law at university and I shudder at memories of all-nighters and sleepless nights that I pulled to finish my work. I may have got the job done in the end (*praise God, I’m graduating in less than 2 weeks!*) but lack of rest caused me to be cranky, unable to focus and constantly tired i.e. NOT happy.
So make sure you rest. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t make you lazy. It makes you human.
See yourself the way God sees you! You’re actually a big deal you know (Psalm 139:13-14). I know the media and society sells us a dream about perfection and everything is #GoalsThis and #GoalsThat but you need to be OK with the way you are. For some, this one takes time. Maybe even years. I know I certainly didn’t wake up one day with the confidence that I have now and even still, I have insecurities. But I find comfort in recognising that I am God’s unique creation and you are too.
Tea: No seriously, I’m not even just biased. Certain teas have so many properties that can make you look better on the outside and feel better on the inside (read more). It’s also delicious, especially peppermint 😉
Unleash yourself from the shackles of your past!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t be so hard on yourself. Repent over your past and keep it moving. Have you read The Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:1-7)?
Value: There’s something about the saying “know your worth and add tax” that just reminds me how precious I am in the sight of the Lord – Don’t let just anyone treat you just anyhow. (Proverbs 31:10). And in the same breath – make a point of adding value to the lives of those around you.
Wait and exercise patience: There is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8), so don’t force anything ok? Just think of all of the amazing things you could be doing whilst you’re waiting for xyz to happen… I also like to write things down (especially when I’m waiting for something), for me it’s therapeutic. Hence why I blog.
X (Exhale – yes I know, I’m cheating): This point is inspired by my boyfriend who is forever telling me to take a deep breath when I get upset. I might not appreciate it at the time, but now that I’m writing this… I have realised that it’s so true, sometimes you just need to stop feeling feelings and just let yourself inhale and exhale. Deeply. Give yourself a moment to let the calm in and don’t be consumed by your emotions all the time.
Your relationship with God: As I mentioned at the beginning, my joy is in the Lord – it is my strength. A source of constant happiness when nothing earthly is making me feel better. The deeper my relationship with Christ gets, the happier I become.
& Remember, it’s ok not to be or feel happy happy happy all of the time, this would probably be impossible. When you’re not happy though, you can’t just wallow in your unhappiness forever. You have to choose to be happy.
Shout out to MJ from Keeping Up With MJ for inspiring me to do this post! Her A-Z is a refreshing read that is full of self-care gems and I loved it – read it here.
*The A-Z of Happiness challenge was first seen on ThriftyVintageFashion – check out Nicole’s blog for more on mental health*
What are your go-to self care tips for happiness? Share them in the comments below & let me know if you decide to do this A-Z of Happiness Challenge too – would love to read yours 🙂
God bless you!