The first month of my Happiness Project has already come to an end, it feels like only a few days ago I was starting this project and I’m now heading in to my second month!
The past month has been horrendous, it has thrown more rubbish at me than I know how to handle and I have cried a lot. I haven’t coped at all well with the stress that has come my way and I have spent a few weeks walking around feeling a bit numb. My anxiety went through the roof to the point where I didn’t want to leave the house other than to go to work. But throughout it all I have kept my goals clear in my head and I’ve done my best to try and achieve them. It hasn’t always worked out as well as I had hoped, but due to everything else that is going on I haven’t been as tough on myself as I normally would have been. I’m hoping that next month will be a bit nicer and that it will be easier to focus on my goals.
My goals for month one were:
- Go To Sleep Earlier
- Exercise Better
- Toss, Restore, Organise
- Tackle A Nagging Task
- Act More Energetic
Go To Sleep Earlier
In the past I have been terrible for staying up late watching junk on TV and then falling asleep on the sofa. I often struggle to get to sleep so this means that I have tended to stay up as late as possible in the hope that exhaustion will help me to nod off. The downside to this system is that I am even more tired by the following morning.
So when I set the goal Go To Sleep Earlier I was interested to see if I could keep it up and if it would make a difference. For the first few nights of the month I failed miserably and completely forgot my new goal, but towards the end of the first week I was making an effort to head to bed at about 10pm on a weekday. I have decided that weekends are for staying up later, so I don’t keep to my rule for Friday and Saturday nights.
It was much easier to go to bed earlier than I thought it would be and I had the added benefit of finding some time in my day to read. My new routine is to head to bed at 10pm and read for an hour maximum. The result has been that I am more relaxed and finding it easier to fall asleep, plus there is the added benefit of having some reading time too.
I’m not sure whether I can honestly say that going to sleep earlier has made me happier, but it has made me a bit more relaxed, which has got to be a good thing!
Ugh, I always knew this was going to be the hardest goal of the month and it really was! I didn’t achieve any of my ‘targets’ for exercising, but I did get more exercise. I didn’t join the gym so that I could swim and take yoga classes, as it is just too expensive for me at the moment and I still haven’t unwrapped the fitness dvd from it’s wrapper!
So what did I do? I started walking a lot further with Chester, on most days now I take him for at least an hour’s walk (unless it’s pouring with rain!). This might not sound like a lot, but with my fibromyalgia I’m finding it’s enough exercise at the moment. Mark and I have also signed up to do some 5k runs, which are just about manageable for me, so I’m looking forward to doing them soon.
Although I haven’t exercised in the ways that I thought I would, I can say that the exercise I am doing is definitely making me happier. It is often the only time of the day when Mark and I get talk as the kids don’t very often come with us, and all the fresh air is lovely. Plus, we have found some lovely places that are literally a two minute walk from our front door!
Toss, Restore, Organise
I have really enjoyed this goal and I still have a lot more to do! As we finished decorating the children’s bedrooms, we sorted through all of their toys, books, clothes etc and asked them to really think about what they wanted to keep and didn’t want to keep. The results were fantastic, they no longer have cupboards bursting with items that are never used and there is more space in their rooms. I put Marie Kondo’s tidying skills to work and folded all of the kids’ clothes in the way that she recommends and oh my goodness it really does make a huge difference! Seeing their rooms clean, tidy and organised makes me so happy, so I can say this goal has definitely had an impact on my happiness!
Tackle A Nagging Task
For this goal I sat down and wrote out a To Do List – it was huge! There were pages of tasks that I needed to complete, some were really quick and simple and some more complex, but they were all jobs that I had been putting off doing. I am working my way through that list, but it feels so good to cross something off.
In addition to my To Do List I looked around the house to see what things were really driving me crazy. The kitchen work top was one area that I hated. Our small kitchen has very little worktop space as it is and one whole area had become a dumping ground for everything from the day’s post, to the kids Easter Eggs, to loaves of bread and any other junk that nobody could be bothered to find a home for. One Sunday morning I walked into the kitchen and decided that I’d had enough of looking at that area, an hour later I had thrown away numerous empty envelopes, junk mail, empty cartons from sweets and chocolate and I had put away all the various bits of junk that had been left there. I wiped the counter down, re-purposed a pretty tray that I had been using for something else, neatly stacked all of the remaining sweets and Easter chocolate on to it and placed it on the side. The result? My kitchen looked neat and tidy again, I had more workspace and it made me feel happy.
Act More Energetic
This is a big goal for me because my fibromyalgia often zaps all of my energy and even doing a simple task like making a cup of tea can feel like climbing a mountain. So it’s a goal that I have had to really push myself to achieve.
I was never going to get up and run a marathon, so I had to look at what I do and what I could change to make me feel more energetic. One of the first things I did was to get up a little earlier on a Sunday morning. Quite often Mark will bring me a coffee in bed on a Sunday and I will either waste time looking at social media on my phone or read my book and before I know it, half the morning has gone. Now I try and make an effort to get up and come downstairs for my coffee, so that the whole day isn’t lost.
Another way I have started to act more energetic is to get outside and do some gardening. The new house means we have been blessed with a lot of outdoor space, but it all needs some tlc, so I have spent time outside in a bid to start tidying it up. I have done various tasks such as cutting the grass, weeding the large flower bed at the front and taking the turf up. It was exhausting, I had blisters on my hands and I hurt like hell the following day, but when I looked at the area I had been working on it made me smile because it looked so much nicer and I had done it all on my own.
The first month of my Happiness Project has been hard work, but I have definitely seen and felt an improvement in my happiness. There have been many days where it has been hard to find that happiness because of all the stuff going on in the background, but I do genuinely feel a little happier over all. I will continue with all of my goals and I will be adding a new set of goals to work on too.
What I have found so far is that happiness isn’t something that everybody feels every day, but there is something in almost every day that can make me feel happy and that is what I need to focus on.