Yesterday was International Happiness Day, and the blogging world was flooded with articles, images and quotes of achieving happiness.
Even without a specifically dedicated day, it’s a prominent topic. There seems to be have been a conscious movement over the last few years that focus on the ideas on mindfulness, self-care, motivation and happiness, which may be partially reactionary to the turbulent times within society, or the fact that many are beginning to realise that there is more to life than a soul-destroying 9-5.
I have been one of those people, making seemingly risky changes as soon as the opportunity presented itself, and the last 18 months have been challenging, exciting and a huge learning process – perhaps the biggest one of my life. 2016 was an epic roller coaster of amazing experiences, new connections with friends and visiting places that I had only ever dreamed of before, and as the bells of Big Ben rang to symbolise the beginning of a new year I could honestly look back at the previous 12 months and say that I had achieved true happiness.
However, as 2017 has settled in, I have followed suit. I’m much more comfortable with my routine and unfortunately over the last few months it has become apparent that my ‘settling in’ to my new lifestyle has turned into slobbing about. While I used to venture out to new places almost on a weekly basis last year, now I seem to have adopted my inner hermit. I’m not leaving the house much, and have slowly fallen back into the unhealthy physical and mental habits when I was unhappy.
Of course, I’m having to be much more careful with my finances because of the upcoming wedding and honeymoon that needs paying for, but this shouldn’t be an excuse. As a base, what needs to happen is a carefully crafted healthy eating, fitness and finance checklist that I can follow daily, in the same way that I religiously work through my blogging checklist each morning. I can do this myself…
…but here’s where I need your help.
For April, I know that my supply work is minimal, so it is the perfect opportunity to really start working on self-improvement and more regular blogging. However, I really want some ideas of free things that I can do during the day that will improve my mind, fitness and experiences, and will involve me leaving the house. My own list, combined with your ideas will hopefully give me plenty of things to push myself to do, and as a result, get myself back to the positive mental and physical health of last year…
So, you lovely people… Help Suzie stop being a hermit! Feel free to leave any suggestions on the comments!
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Visit my mum… she’ll feed you!!!
Ooh that sounds good! I’m always up for lovely authentic food!
Have those running shoes even seen daylight this year?? ;o)
Yes they have – I wore them when I went to the shop the other day I’ll have you know! 😜
I feel ya! I’ve been in a bit of a ‘hermit hole’, recently. Doesn’t help that this dark cloud keeps looming over me. It’s a bit of a viscous cycle. I guess the key is to keep planning ahead and be as social as you can. Easier said that done, I know. Like you, I feel so much better when I push myself to meet people and do things! Otherwise, I’m stuck in a rut, feeling sorry for myself! Argh! I hope you manage to break free of you feel better soon. Spring has finally sprung, and a bit of sunshine always helps! 😊
You pretty much summed up everything perfectly! I am looking forward to brighter weather – it feels like we’ve been living in the dark and damp for months!
Ideas: Go to the library; Go to a park; window shop; look in the paper or newspaper and find free concerts, events, and go to one or more of them.
ooh Library. im lucky to have a brilliant local one so i need to go and visit i think!
My first suggestion won’t help with leaving the house directly, but I find a daily bit of yoga really balances me emotionally making it easier for me to face the big bad world with equanimity.
Walking is always free. smiles. Go on a hunt for odd things you can photograph and then blog about?
Quite a few people have mentioned yoga so it’s obviously much more popular than I thought! I’m not sure whether I prefer slow and measured or just going out and running to get the aggression out… I’ll keep you updated!
Go for a walk somewhere different everyday or at least a few times a week.
You could have day visits to different places too 😊
That’s a good idea – there are still parts of Birmingham that I have never visited!
There you go! Go visit them! 😊
I was a bit of a hermit last year Suzie for lots of reasons. This year is looking different with a new job on the horizon but I know that last year was a challenge. Getting out for daily walks, joining a Zumba group (great if you like dancing and music like me) and exploring my own backyard were some ways I got out and about. The library’s another good place to go … anyway, some food for thought. Hope it’s a great year ahead for you Suzie. 🙂
Those are lovely suggestions, thanks! Ooh, what’s the new job?
It’s an admin/marketing/writing job with Bushwalking Victoria.
Of course, sorry, minor brain fart there…
Hmm, thought I replied then it disappeared. Anyway, it’s an admin/marketing/writing job with Bushwalking Victoria. Start on Monday. Nervous but excited at the same time.
Your comment came through, it’s just that they don’t show until I approve them, which I don’t do until I can reply properly to each one of them
Hi Suzie Going out for a daily walk is free, so is taking a book out from the library on yoga, pilates and doing it at home,or get a dvd which is minimal outlay. It is the mindset that neeeds to change first. Do you write a daily list of things that need to be done? If so, add your emotional and physical activities to it too, then you can tick them off when you do them in the same way that you would tick off any job done. Good Luck! Blessings Joy
I have a daily checklist for the blog, but not myself – I need to get into that!
Oh I can relate to this so much, Suzie! It’s far too easy to adopt the inner hermit than face the world sometimes. I’m in a similar position and have been on a personal search for my ‘happy place’. Perhaps you could take on your own mission. For me, I’m looking for a place to go when I need to clear my head. It needs to be outside, possibly by water, but somewhere that allows me to breathe in the beauty of nature (perfect for the mind, body, and soul). I try and visit a new place once every couple of weeks. I’m hoping to get to Kenilworth Castle soon as I think exploring this beautiful site will also inspire my muse! Good luck with your happiness mission xx
Have you ever been to Edgbaston reservoir? It’s gorgeous!
I’ve committed to doing a long distance walk over a week at the beginning of summer. We have a training programme (one of us is an accountant), which means going out for a walk at least three times a week in the couple of months leading up to the walk itself.
Ooh that sounds exciting! I need to get back doing outdoor exercise I think – I have several running buddies that I need to contact…
Long distance walks are great. If you plan it properly you’ll visit a pub at lunchtime and at the end.
You had me at ‘pub’
Why do you think so many middle-aged people join walking groups?
Haha! I’d never thought of it like that!
International happiness day – one day, is that all we get to celebrate?! At the risk of sounding hippydippy – you rarely find what you’re looking for in the outside world until you find it first inside yourself. If you want to feel healthy then think of your hermit shell (body/home) as your safe & healthy space and make it so. It doesn’t have to cost much to make it feel like your sanctuary rather than your prison. Get the Bloke to bring you a bunch of daisies every now and then, clear the cupboards and fridge of soul destroying food, do an online yoga/salsa/zumba class free off YouTube. I came across a writer called Victoria Erickson and something she wrote hit home for me – “If you inherently long for something, become it first. If you want gardens, become the gardener. If you want love, embody love. If you want mental stimulation, change the conversation. If you want peace, exude calmness. If you want to fill your world with artists, begin to paint. If you want to be valued, respect your own time. If you want to live ecstatically, find the ecstasy within yourself. This is how to draw it in, day by day, inch by inch”. Could you join a writer’s group or a painting class or something completely different which would take you out of the house? Go sit in the park and draw the buttercups, or sketch people passing by, or find a bench in town opposite something interesting and write 5 words about the expressions on people’s faces. Museums and art galleries are free I think .. When all else fails I pretend I’m an artist living in Provence (I know not easy when it’s raining cats & dogs outside) and the local supermarket ‘becomes’ a rustic market filled with lovely fresh produce I want to buy to make lunch with or a big bowl of pasta. I know it can sound mad but like my Dad always said, you can be anywhere you want to be with just a bit of imagination.
Why aren’t you a life coach Deb? Awesome advice, thank you! I’ll tell The Bloke he needs to buy me loads of flowers now… (Although, to be fair, he has bought me loads over the years but the cat tries to eat them so it can be a bit difficult haha!)
It would be lovely to share some photos of some of the pretty areas, architecture or parks that you may have in the area. I know you enjoy taking photos, and I always find it interesting seeing places where I have not been before so you could show me around! 🙂
That’s such a good idea Judy – thanks!
You’re welcome, Suzie 🙂
I’m struggling with absolutely free, but as I can’t see any comments so far, I guess I’m not the only one.
Getting out on a bike’s always an attractive idea, though – as long as you’ve got one.
A few cycling things have been mentioned, I’m just approving and replying to comments now… I haven’t got one but its worth looking into!
I use free videos to do yoga! I actually started a regular yoga practice through Yoga with Adriene on Youtube! It may not be venturing out, but it is something that’s good for you, and free! 🙂
Ooh, I have been doing some exercise videos courtesy of YouTube recently… Ever heard of the Fitness Marshall?
No! Tell me more!
You could ride a bike. Living in the Midlands you have no shortage of canals to choose from. But unless you have a bike lying idle in the garage it’s not really free; borrow one maybe? When you find a bike, see if there are any breeze rides local to you ☺
Ooh I haven’t ridden a bike in years! I don’t own one, but if you see a news article about an overweight northerner and a bike being rescued out of the canal by the fire service, you’ll know who it is!
My personal favorite thing to do if I have some extra time is to help someone else. It is so rewarding to read with a toddler, to talk or play a game with an older person in an assisted living community, or to drive someone to a medical appointment. Perhaps you could volunteer some music experiences for those who are under-served.
Last week, I helped make small fabric dolls for children in Latin America and Africa who will be having (free) surgery to correct cleft palate. Most of these children have never seen a doctor or even had a toy of their own. The doll they will be given will be one small comfort for them as they go through a scary experience. The success of the surgery will allow them to eat, swallow, and learn to speak, as well as to permit them to be a healthy part of their community.
We worked with very young children in our temple who thought they were going to keep their own dolls. When we explained that we would be sending the dolls to children who needed to see the doctor, not one child complained, and many came back to make another doll.
I am still feeling such spiritual uplift because of a few hours volunteer work. You might find something in your community to help you get involved that will make you realize how lucky you are, and how important your contribution is.
That’s a beautiful idea Sharon – thanks! I’ve been wanting to do some volunteer work for a while and discovered that there is a soup kitchen near me, so that’s something I want to do. You sound like you’ve had some amazing experiences, and there are so many people who will remember your kindness!
I’m heading to NYC next month, but other than that I barely go anywhere besides work, home and the occasional movie.
You’ll get into a comfortable, affordable routine soon, Suzie, just be patient.
Thanks lovely – I hope so!
Hey Suzie, I enter hermit mode every autumn and don’t come out of it again until mid Spring really. I think I start to shut off when nature does ☺️
This year I am toying with the idea of wild swimming as I really don’t like commercial, crowded places that have been taken over by gift shops etc.
If money is tight then you can’t beat just getting out into nature and taking in all that it has to offer. I hope you re-emerge and have an eventful and fulfilling year.
Wild swimming! That sounds amazing!
So… Hmm. I’m a hermit by nature. I just am. But it can get ugly if I let it. As you probably know, it’s way easier to give advice to others than take your own but I’d say going for a walk, listening to music…actually, I’m out. I can’t wait to read the suggestions in your comments. 🙂
Music is a huge way of getting out of a funk for me… what do you listen to?
I didn’t even realize it was national happiness day a couple weeks ago, and I read blog articles daily! I loved this was such an eye opener
Thank you! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it!
You are on the other side of the world, and I still feel the same way. I have to get out and move about my town, and state. Being in the house I can only blog about so much, and I am like you needing suggestions with where to go with this blogging. Keep it up and just move about. I have always wanted to go to the UK it looks peaceful. Rainy looking but peaceful
Hahah! Rainy, it certainly is, although we’ve had a few days of glorious sunshine which will constitute as our summer… It’s difficult not to get stuck in a rut isn’t it?
it does…. I’d still like to go over there. BBC Top Gear, started that…
Haha! I haven’t watched that in years!