WORDS:: Chyka Keebaugh
PHOTOS:: Lisa Atkinson
What makes you happy? Sit back and think about it. Is it family? Is it time spent with friends? Is it your pets? Is it a glass of wine while cooking dinner?
Whatever square you land in, happiness is one of the most important things in our lives. If we are unhappy, then everything can fall apart.
Activities that bring me the most joy are spending time with my family, entertaining friends and travelling. Being able to do all of these things regularly, seriously keeps me sane! Knowing I have a holiday with loved ones planned gets me through busy days that lead into busy weeks, and having something special like that to look forward to makes all the hard work worth it. But it’s not just the holidays and the big things - happiness can be found in the small things too! Little everyday things can have such a pleasurable impact on us - anything from a smile and sweet compliment from your local cafe owner to getting a thank you note in the mail - small gestures like this are sure to brighten your day.
There are many ways to find happiness within yourself. I think as a mother and businesswoman, I am so focused on keeping others happy that I don’t always put my needs first. Over the past few years, I have tried to shift some of that focus on myself and to factor in some 'me time' here and there to find that balance in life.
There are small simple changes you can make in your life everyday that can bring a smile to your face and can help you lead a happier life. It’s not astrophysics, it’s not hard to do. It can take a little time, but it can make such a tremendous impact on our lives.
Small ideas, big benefits…
- Writing in a journal every day. Making a list of all the things that make you happy and grateful for each day, from the small to the big. You may write about your plans for the next day or about the trees you saw on your way to the train. It doesn’t need to be an essay; it is a tool to help you think of the beauty that surrounds you.
- Get out and walk. Smell the grass, smell the air, smell the flowers. Take it all in. There is something magical about sitting in the park and taking your shoes off to feel grass under your feet. It's straightforward and free; it can also calm you down and help you feel relaxed. Even walking your dog is the perfect excuse to get out and about. Talk to others, ask them how their day was and listen. Spread and share your happiness with others.
- Dress in a colour you never usually wear. It's incredible what a little colour can do, not only will you notice a little spring in your step but so will others. There is something gorgeous about seeing people wear bright colours when they are normally in dark tones, it really does give you an instant boost.
- Reach out to someone you have been thinking of. A card, a quick text or simple email - anything to let that person know you are thinking of them. Catching up with friends regularly should be a priority, surrounding yourself with the people you love, be it friends or family, is never a bad way to spend your time.
- Pop your headphones on. Music is transformative, whether it be a loud disco tune in the car or calming classical when walking the dog. It can take you to another place and lift your spirits. I love to put on my headphones on and play a poppy playlist when walking, it takes my mind off anything that is bothering me and takes me on a fun little musical journey.
Creating a happy home goes beyond having flowers on your table. What does it smell like? Are you warm? Are you cold? Do you have enough light? Do you have too much clutter? Simple things like this matter when creating an environment that makes you happy. Small changes, a shift of a table or a candle in your bathroom can make all the difference. Take a walk through your home - what are you not happy with? Is it a simple fix you've been putting off or something you can do at a later date? Don’t, do it now!