Happiness

The last few weeks I’ve felt the most relaxed that i have in a long time. I’m smiling more, breathing easier, shouting less. I feel quieter, calmer.

Things that have made me feel happy include:

  • Sitting on a slide at soft play with my children on slides either side of me holding my hands, and hearing their excited laughter in each ear as we whizz down the chute.
  • Decluttering and organising downstairs. With each bit of clutter that is put in order my head and heart feel lighter.
  • Watching Ez race into her first ever ballet lesson without a second glance back at me and peeping through the curtain on the door to see her face lit up with a beaming smile throughout the whole class.
  • Ignoring what I’d previously decided I was meant to be doing on my child free days and instead quietly getting on with whatever I fancied – such as breakfast in bed and catching up with my favourite blogs. Flitting from blog roll to blog roll to add new blog finds to my reader. Going through the twins’ wardrobe to clear out clothes that no longer fit them. Making a pom pom garland on a whim. And at no point did I allow myself to feel guilty for not doing the task on my to do list that day.
  • Taking the kids out on their new bikes and listening to Fonz’s gleeful squeal as he zoomed down a hill or pushing both bikes (and their riders) fast through mud and puddles so that they’re overcome with juddery giggles.
  • Finding myself on the verge of shouting and taking a couple of moments to pull myself back and react in a much calmer way.
  • Being able to help someone else out because, for a change, I have that ultimate luxury – free time.
  • Seeing the positive effect my own happiness has on those around me. The children seem even more full of joy and my husband looks at me with a smile instead of a look of concern.

It’s nice, this feeling, and it’s one I’d like to have a lot more of. But real life has to start again, and my short, self-enforced work break has to come to an end. It would appear that without work to worry about, I’m a much calmer, happier person, but somehow I need to slot it back into my life without letting it have such a great impact on my state of mind. So I thought I should write myself just a few rules, to try to keep me on the straight and narrow:

Concentrate on the big stuff. Where possible, focus on one bigger project at a time and don’t take on lots of little projects*. Trying to juggle too many deadlines makes you feel pressured and unhappy.

Learn to say no. Closely related to the previous rule, be brave about turning work down. However much you think you need the extra money, remember the value of your own happiness.

Plan your time. Each week, sit down and work up a weekly schedule so you know what to tackle and when. Schedule non-working time too, especially with the kids, so you can focus on that rather than trying and failing to do either successfully.

Make time off a regular thing. Be strict and enforce a work break between those big projects. Don’t cram that time full of other non-work projects that need doing – take some time out to potter and get the house straight again after it’s been neglected. You always feel happier after a good sort out.

 

*I have already broken my first rule (fuelled by the panic of my tax bill looming), but I’m seeing it as ‘room for improvement’ rather than a total failure.

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