I don’t really believe in work-life balance. There is no magical balance, just choices, about how you feed your body and spirit that either make you happier... or don’t. So I’ve come up with a list of things that make me happier. I know if I do these things each day then my life feels free-er. I’m happier, I feel the love, and my business works. When I don’t? Well, things are a little bit tougher, caring for the little dude is a bit more stressful, I pick fights with the big dude, I feel lonely and I work really hard without getting anything done (that may be, in part, to convincing myself that scrolling Facebook counts as ‘work’). You know the feeling when everything’s just a little bit off? That. I’m obviously no saint though, and I don’t do all these things every day. But I try, and that’s all you can do, too.
Which brings me to my ten simple steps to get happier today.
- Sleep more.
Arianna Huffington famously recommended that we all “Sleep your way to the top.” Most of us run on less than a full tank, and lack of sleeps sends me to crazyland. After a few nights of deprived sleep I tend to cry at the drop of a hat, feel like I have no friends, think I’m trapped in this life I never wanted anyway... (so you can imagine, the newborn months were a piece of cake!). More scientifically, most people need between 7 and 9 hours of night, how much do you get?
- Move your body
And I don’t mean in a no-pain-no-gain-bigger-loser-crossfit-till-your-knees-break kind of way. I just mean move. In a way that you love, every day if you can. My top picks for happy movement are horse riding, hiking, and yoga. I go to the gym sometimes, and mix it all up, but I try to do something, every day.
It reduces stress, releases endorphins (happy hormones), and works your tummy muscles. Plus laughing together makes you feel together, so it increases your connection to the people you’re laughing with. If you want the advanced version of this one, laugh at yourself! By being silly yourself, you will give permission for those around you to be silly as well.
- Learn something new
You could also read this one as challenge yourself. I’m often not very good at the in-the-middle-of-it phase of learning, get frustrated and want to give up. But when I don’t, and I keep going, and then at the end I have a finished product (like my beautiful WordPress blog that I mainly did myself) then it is super satisfying. Stretch yourself, learn new things, keep on growing.
- Don’t eat junk food.
Your health, energy, and vitality all rest on a healthy diet, it’s the foundation to enable you to do everything else you want to do. So eat lots of green things, and not too many things made of white sugar.
- Give up gossip.
I know a group of girls where there’s always some kind of drama. This one said that, and that one told that other one about it and analysed it until this one became the worst person. In. The. World. Then someone else jilted someone else, and all the drama swung around. Seriously, it was difficult to keep up with who was in and who was out, but even worse, I obviously couldn’t trust at all that none of them weren’t gossiping about me when I wasn’t around! If you gossip, people will fear the same of you. If you trust a gossip, there’s a good chance your secrets won’t be secrets for long. So just don’t gossip.
- Do more of what makes you happy.
To paraphrase the Dalai Lama, in The Art of Happiness he says that to be happy, we just need to do more of what makes us happy, and less of what doesn’t make us happy. It sounds too simple to work, but try it out! Write a list of things that make you happy. Some ideas are: hosting a dinner party, reading a book lying in the sun on the floor, naps, spending time with friends, hiking, eating sushi, sending cards to friends, binge watching TV series on weekend evenings at home. Then try to do something from your list every day.
- Do less of what doesn’t make you happy.
Another one to help with this is believe that ‘No’ is a complete sentence. An example I always use is one of my close friends feels like she has to hang out with her husband’s brother’s girlfriend every time she asks. My friend doesn’t like this girl, and actively feels WORSE after seeing her, but regularly meets up because she doesn’t feel comfortable saying no. Learn to say no, and don’t hang out with your husband’s brother’s girlfriend anymore if you don’t want to.
- Connect with your circle.
Your circle is whoever you choose. Your family, friends, mastermind buddies, online blogging friends, entrepreneurial support groups, mothers’ groups, old school friends. Whoever you love to be around. Then spend time with them. I’m not saying you have to turn into an extrovert-on-steroids like my good self! Just find the people you love and connect with them. In real life, not just online. Laugh, cry, chat, dream. Love is what gives everything meaning and growing connections grows the love that surrounds you.
- Connect with yourself.
Talk about saving the best for last! To be truly happy, you need to know yourself. To know yourself means you need to spend some time in silence (meditate or do yoga) and you need to be willing to look at what shows up. Are you happy with who you are and how you are spending your life? Every day is a new chance to shape things how you would like them to be. Know yourself, so you know what dream you’re even chasing.
Bonus number 11 (since everyone loves a bonus!) - Play and have fun!
Samantha Sutherland is the excitable founder of The Everyday Adventure where she encourages women to live through play in their everyday spaces. It's possible to live your life joyfully, full of freedom, connection and adventure! She runs in person retreats and events, a Fun-Life Overhaul Challenge and blogs regularly. She's a corporate refugee who is a certified Health Coach, a mother of one as well as being chief fun-maker of The Everyday Adventure. Come join us and be happy! Connect with her on Instagram, on Facebook and via email: firstname.lastname@example.org