How many times per week do you participate in something that makes you happy?
Is it once, twice, maybe every day, or perhaps…never?
With an increasing amount of obligations like school, work, kids and relationships, it’s hard not to get swept up into the chaos and it’s easy to forget about taking care of ourselves. Sometimes we get caught in a rut and your life feels like it is nothing more than the same old daily routine.
This begs the question:
When’s the last time you did something that made YOU genuinely happy?
If you’re finding yourself in the situation where your never have time for yourself and you are constantly feeling drained, then keep reading to check out my top 10 tips on how to refresh and rejuvenate your happiness!
10 Tips on How to Refresh and Rejuvenate Your Happiness
1) Try something new
When we get stuck in the same old routine, things can feel a little stagnant. We tend to stay in our comfort zone and in doing so, we rarely try new experiences.
Shaking things up can be as simple as trying a new recipe, attending a different group fitness class, or simply changing the time that you wake up in the morning!
Getting out of your routine can prevent you from feeling aimless and wandering into depression.
Obviously this will depend on what your schedule allows, but it needs to happen. Without new experiences, we are stunting our growth mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally.
If you adhere to the same routine on a daily basis, you are likely not challenging yourself to meet your upmost potential. Plus, there are so many opportunities out there waiting for you!
Seeking new adventures is part of what makes life so exhilarating! Try something new and let your curiosity run wild.
2) Make time
It’s no secret that most of us are way too busy to even consider finding some free time, but here’s the thing:
You need to MAKE the time just like you do for everything else.
“I just don’t have time” is not a phrase we can afford to say. As soon as those words come out of your mouth, you shut down any hope of finding a moment to recover from your chaotic life.
And you NEED that recovery.
The trick behind making time is treating yourself like a priority. Managing your stress level with a little “me time” is absolutely essential when things get crazy. It’s your time to pause life for a moment and forget about all the other stuff that you are dealing with.
In order to make time, you need to put yourself on your schedule.
You know those days where you magically fit in work, grocery shopping, Facetime, getting an oil change, arranging your best friend’s birthday party, making dinner, and tucking the kids into bed ALL IN ONE DAY?
Well kudos to you because that’s a lot to get done in one day! But here’s the kicker: next time you need to schedule yourself in there just like you would for anything else.
If you can find the time to do all that, you can find the time to relax.
You owe this to yourself.
Don’t put your downtime on the back burner. Instead, this should go somewhere on the top of your To Do List as something that needs to be done within a certain time frame. If you don’t schedule yourself any time to just breathe, you will likely continue pushing it out as something that can be done in the future.
Making time for yourself is just as important as all the other stuff you need to get done.
3) Evaluate your situation and how it affects others
It is the unfortunate truth that people will let their outside obligations dominate their personal lives. Oftentimes, this can cause a serious strain on your social circle. I’ve experienced this first hand, and believe me, it’s miserable.
But I bring this up for a reason.
You might not want to admit it, but it might be time to have a sit down conversation with your friends or family to discuss the idea of a change.
Is your job, school load, or childcare situation putting a strain on your relationship? Are you isolating yourself from friends or family? If you are, it might be time to address your current situation with the people who love you most.
Don’t go searching for problems where there are none, because perhaps you live this awesome life with a superb balance, and if you do, I’m seriously incredibly happy for you!
But if you can’t find that balance and it’s affecting your loved ones, take the time to have that conversation. It might be time to brainstorm some positive life changes that will help you step in the right direction.
I get it, some things are completely out of your control. It is the scariest thing to think about leaving your comfort zone and the feeling of uncertainty might temporarily contribute to your stress.
Stick with me here…
What I’m getting at is the extremely powerful sense of control, relief and overall happiness that occurs when you finally change something that has been bothering you.
For example, you might be struggling with your current work situation. You might not be able to leave your job, but you can try requesting a schedule change to better accommodate your family time. Don’t dodge any ideas until after you’ve tried them. Just be sure to be reasonable in your requests. The worst is someone says no.
And if you do get rejected, this will only help strengthen your priorities and help you identify what you truly value. It could also help you identify what changes you might need to make in order to reflect those values.
You are a strong, valued person and you and your family deserve more. In the end, this will open up pathways that you didn’t know existed and your overall happiness will shine on for the world to see. This tip alone might serve as the single most important contributor to your happiness.
4) Do inexpensive activities
Finding your happiness doesn’t need to be expensive! Take advantage of all the free resources there are online. You know how I mentioned there are tons of opportunities just waiting for you? You can easily find these ideas with a quick internet search.
No matter what your hobby is, it is almost without question that you can find new inspiration and free tutorials online. You can easily save yourself a few bucks by following along with free step by step instructions!
Why pay for something that you can do at home for free?
Alternatively, if you’d like to get out of the house, there are plenty of free and inexpensive activities available that require minimal to zero upfront cost. You could test out a new bike route, meditate, go for a walk/jog/run, swim, or simply relax with a cup of coffee and reflect on the day. These activities can be physically intensive or super relaxing.
Do what works for you!
Additionally, try researching upcoming events that might be happening in your area. Oftentimes these events are family friendly and require zero entrance fee.
Flee markets, farmers markets, antique shops, plant nurseries, local non profits and musicians work hard to put on free events just to get their name out there. Check out their social media pages to see if a free event is headed your way!
Lastly, if you happen to live in a university town, you might already be aware of all the sponsored events that take place on campus. Many colleges host fun events that are free to the public and are conveniently located in the center strip of campus.
Even if you don’t attend the university or plan to buy anything, it is still a great way to get out of the house and see the different types of vendors. Plus, many of them might be offering free samples of their food or products.
Free food and entertainment? Sign me up!
5) Pay it forward
Showing your gratitude is beautifully infectious.
Doing your part to lift someone else up when they need it most is one of the most humbling and rewarding feelings you can experience. No matter what is going on in your life, you always have the choice to pass on even the smallest of gratuity.
A financial donation, a home cooked meal, a word of advice, or even a smile to a stranger can all exhibit a positive impact on someone else’s life. No matter what you offer, do your best each and every day to leave the world in a little better shape than you found it. Even on the days when you are struggling to stay positive, a smile is always free and can go a long way. And who knows? You might get one back.
Sometimes the smallest of gestures can have the greatest impact on others.
In the end, we are all one people living on this planet it’s important for us to support each other on this journey we call life.
6) Let that sh*t go
Designate a time where you can forget about everything. I mean EVERYTHING. Forget about your deadlines, that afternoon appointment, the new school semester… whatever burdens you, it cannot be changed in this exact moment in time.
Nothing is worse than fueling your own anxiety by worrying about things that cannot be changed anytime soon. Those things CAN be put on hold for 5 minutes. You need to come to terms that nothing will change in that 5 minute span.
There is no use in stressing over something that cannot be changed right here and now.
Here is where we take a breather.
In order to relax, I’d recommend trying a yoga technique called savasana. You simply lay supine on the ground and let your mind go blank. Notice your breathing and how your body is supported by the floor, and just let everything go. Nothing else matters in this moment.
It might feel awkward at first not having a designated end time when you do this, but that’s the beauty of it. Some people need 5 minutes to be fully relaxed, others need 20.
The important thing here is not letting your anxiety force you into feeling like you need to be doing something else. Let your body, not your mind, tell you when you are ready to get up. Give this a try and you might be amazed how even a few minutes can reset your entire day.
7) Disconnect from your device
It sounds simple, but how often do we really disconnect from our screens and just enjoy life? No phone, no earbuds, no notification bells. Just you and the outside world.
Over time we’ve become accustomed to the immediate satisfaction we feel when we are affirmed by others via social media. I’m talking about the instant dopamine rush you get when you see someone liked your photo on Instagram or commented on your most recent post.
It’s addictive. It’s sickening. And it is making us disconnected from the world around us.
So my challenge to you is short and sweet. Reconnect to the things around you and the people around you without the use of a mobile device. There is so much satisfaction in enjoying our surroundings and being with good company without the distraction of a phone in our hand.
8) Make a list of your goals
When’s the last time you wrote down your goals? Did you celebrate when you achieved one?
Celebrating your hard work is a great way to appreciate all the work you did to achieve that goal and reaffirms that you are capable of attaining more goals in the future.
If you’ve never written down your goals, start by identifying your priorities and make a list of the actions you are currently doing to make those priorities happen.
The key thing here is to not get discouraged if you aren’t currently taking the steps needed to achieve your priorities, but be sure to brainstorm a starting point. Sometimes our priorities are more immediate than our long term goals, but in the end, we need to be able to reflect on the bigger picture and come back to the overall goal we are trying to achieve.
Goals require a game plan and a step by step formula.
What are you going to do to make a change in the right direction? How will you initiate that change? How do you plan to maintain that change?
Don’t just think about it. Get these suckers on paper! Having a plan will put you at ease in a chaotic world that sometimes seems absent of the picture bigger. Plus, writing down your plan of action oftentimes rekindles that fire or inspiration you had in the first place when you initially set those goals.
Find that one thing that you’ve always wanted to do, and make a plan to get there.
9) Pinpoint your addiction
When you are stressed, you might gravitate towards the same coping mechanism each and every day, thereby deepening your daily rut. Challenge yourself to try something new in lieu of your typical stress relief mechanism.
I realize how easy it is to immediately come home from work and binge watch Netflix for 4 hours each night as a way to forget about your day. I am not here to judge!
But it might be worth your while to try cutting back on the TV and swap it out for something different. If there is still daylight left, try taking a 30 minute walk or swing by the gym while on your commute before plopping on the couch.
You don’t need to cut out your original coping mechanism completely, but be aware of how it might be contributing to your daily routine. If watching Netflix for hours on end brings you immediate relief from a hectic day at work but you later feel guilty for being a couch potato, make a compromise and use part of your Netflix time for a more productive activity.
Even the smallest of a change can help you feel fulfilled and satisfied with your daily choices.
10) Cut back where you can
There is a huge difference between needing and wanting to occupy your time with false obligations. Oftentimes, your schedule and workload go hand and hand with your stress level. Sure, you might want to be that superior mom that attends every bake sale and keeps a tidy house every hour of the day, but for the sake of your sanity, you might want to consider taking it down a notch.
Let me explain.
Not all of our “to do” items are a requirement. Despite our brain telling us that we have a thousand things to accomplish, some of these items are what I consider extras (the things that we do to make us feel like overachievers).
Don’t be confused, working hard is an essential trait and sometimes we really do have a thousand things that truly need to get done. But the next time you reflect on your upcoming tasks, filter through those items more carefully and tune in to what needs to be done instead of looking for what more you can do. Burnout is all too common and I’d hate for you to experience it firsthand, let alone be stuck in that phase for too long!
If you can afford to cut down on some of your responsibilities, dedicate your remaining time to the things that make you truly happy. We only have a finite amount of time in this world, and making the most of our time with meaningful actions is by far one of the most rewarding feelings we can achieve.
I’m excited for you to kick off the new year with a refreshed feeling of happiness and a positive outlook on life! The start of a new year is the best time to reset your inner drive and get after those goals. I can’t wait to see what the year brings for us all! Until then…