Being content… it seems like such a simple concept, but in this age of social media comparisonitis, and instant consumerism I think it’s getting harder and harder to simply feel content with your life.
You’re happy at your job, but you’d like a promotion.
You like your car but you’d rather be driving the latest model.
You wish you had the latest iphone or that you were thinner, richer, taller… all that stuff.
It’s tough right? To simply feel content with the way things are. To live in the moment and simply enjoy what we have. Some areas of society almost train us to be discontent. After all, the more we want the more we spend.
I’ve certainly struggled with it in the past, in fact it wasn’t until earlier this year – with my fourtieth birthday on the horizon – that I decided to make a real change to my attitude and simply try and be thankful for what I have.
Even if you’re a pretty contented person there are always times in our lives where it is harder than usual to stay happy and content. We experience loss, we get stressed out, or life just throws us a curveball.
So whether you’re like me and want to create more contentment in your life or if you’re facing an uphill struggle that’s making it hard to maintain your usual cheery outlook I’d like to share a few simple ways that helped me to feel more happy and content in my life.
Get in the habit of doing these things, and they will serve you well during the tough times.
Lean On Your Support Network
When life gets hard, we often feel alone. It doesn’t seem possible that anyone else is facing what we’re facing. But while this may feel true when you focus on every little detail, it often isn’t true when it comes to the big picture.
We all face challenges, and we all go through periods in our lives that are tough. But you don’t have to carry all this weight on your own. It’s hard to ask for help but trust me, lean on your support network can make a huge difference and your friends want to be there for you.
Call or message a friend just to talk about what’s going on. Ask someone close to you to watch the kids for an hour or take one little chore of your plate to give yourself some breathing space. Meet a pal for a cuppa and a rant. It all helps.
Find a support group locally or online to exchange ideas and “war stories”. I’ve found this particularly sanity saving when it comes to my business.
Build your support network and then don’t be afraid to lean on them. You’d do it for them right? And I promise it will make all the difference.
Practice Self Care Every Day
When we feel backed into a corner or we’re trying to get through a rough time self-care is often the first thing to go. We don’t think we can afford the time, energy, or money to rest, relax, and do something nice for ourselves.
It’s all too easy to forget that it is that these simple little things are what gives us the drive to keep going. Self care helps us de-stress, it rejuvenates us and put us into a better frame of mind.
Even if you can only spare a few minutes, make a real effort every day to do something to take care of yourself. It doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to cost a lot (or any money).
- Take a warm bath
- Take 15 minutes to flick through a magazine
- Read a few pages of your current book
- Sit quietly in the garden for half an hour (bonus points for grabbing a cuppa too!)
- Do a little yoga
- Go for a short walk
I’ve always found that stepping away from a problem, even if it’s just for a little while can help me think clearer when I return. Find what makes you feel better and put it on the calendar regularly. You’ll feel more relaxed, your head will be clearer and you’ll be much better equipped to deal with your problems.
Take A Nap
Yes seriously! 38 per cent of UK adults – some 20 million of us – are not getting enough sleep and that’s bad news for our wellbeing.
Getting plenty of shut eye is crucial to keeping up our focus and energy, in fact we should all be getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Problem is, when your mind is buzzing with a potential problem or you’ve got an urgent deadline looming it’s super hard to shut down your head and get some sleep.
Everything is tougher when you’re tired. During sleep, your body heals itself and your brain forges new connections. Without enough sleep, your brain and body systems won’t function normally. Your immune system is weaker, your blood pressure higher and your risk of health complications like heart disease and even Type 2 Diabetes rises.
So, it may seem counterproductive, but seriously, when the going gets tough, make like a Victorian lady and take to your bed. You’ll feel much better.
Remember, the thing is, happiness doesn’t always ‘just happen’. It’s important to take the time to find little ways to increase your happiness… to make time for me time.
They may seem small but these three little steps will help you to feel much more positive and give you the energy and will to persevere through challenges until things get better – and they always do.