This is the next post in the Happy Mondays series, which explores creating your own version of happy. Today’s post concentrates on using humour and enjoying yourself. Sounds pretty good to me!
Now, when I talk about using humour, I do NOT mean that you can never be happy if you aren’t a comedy genius. I know some of you are (I’m looking at you The Unmumsy Mum, Hurrah for Gin and Scarlett from Gogglebox) but for the rest of us mere mortals, worry not. And read on.
What has been really shown to help, and what the happiest people tend to do, is to use humour wherever they can to manage different situations in their lives. To try to find a reason to smile rather than not smile.
I remember saying in an interview that while I always take my work extremely seriously, I don’t take myself too seriously at all. I got the job. I think this is a really important distinction to make – we can choose to face things with humour even while taking any particular issue very seriously. And the happiest people do choose humour, even when faced with very real struggles.
We can apply this in all different areas of life – from the tiniest of annoyances to the big problems. Since reminding myself of this recently, I have faced a LOT of parenting situations with more humour, resulting in a happier outcome for all of us. I now always take a second to breathe, remind myself that the boys are very little, and ask myself if I am taking the situation too seriously. Occasionally the answer is no, if someone is about to get hurt or something is dangerous, but more often than not the answer is yes, I am, and I choose to look at the funny, silly side instead.
Just this simple act (although it doesn’t always feel that easy, depending on the situation and lack of sleep I’ve had) can change the outcome of the whole family’s day, especially mine. That’s the powerful influence that humour has.
But it can also apply to more serious issues too. Studies have found that the outcome of people diagnosed with cancer are improved if they laugh, and experience humour. This can come from both their own attitude and outlook on life, and from those around them. This amazing couple embrace this approach having found that when faced with cancer, “the only thing we can do to face another day is to laugh at ourselves, and share a laugh with others.” From this attitude, a successful fundraising website using hilarious and inspiring images of Bob in only his pink tutu in picturesque settings around the world was born (it really is worth a look). It is said that laughter is the best medicine, and from looking at this couple, this doesn’t seem too far fetched at all.
It is SO important that we all take time to do some things that we enjoy. It is a vital part of self care, and a huge influence on our personal happiness.
The things that we enjoy are so personal, it is important that you take time to really consider what it is YOU enjoy, and try to include them in your day or week. Or plan something for the month or year ahead, if it is a bigger/more expensive something.
This is where my love of planning comes into its own, I really believe that if we plan it, it will happen. Here is what I like to build into my life to make me happy…
- Seeing other people. And by that I mean seeing other ADULTS. I am an extrovert (to some degree) and therefore gain energy from interacting with others. I try to plan my week to ensure I see other adults at groups and playdates, and squeeze a child-free coffee with friends or my husband in when I can.
- Getting my hair done. This sounds completely shallow, but there it is. As my hair is ENORMOUS, it requires fairly lengthy appointments, but not that often. Therefore when I go, it is 2-3 hours sat down, with my lovely hairdresser/miracle worker to chat to, with someone bringing me tea, chocolates and magazines all morning. What’s not to love??
- A brand new book. Or a magazine. And a cup of tea. And my bed. All at the same time. Heaven.
- Eating. No, I know we all eat, but hear me out. I LOVE eating, but I am not a natural in the kitchen, by any means. So when I get to eat a meal that someone else has prepared; my husband, a friend or a restaurant chef, I am in heaven. I love trying new foods, eating a wide variety and OFTEN. Honestly, bring on ALL THE FOOD.
- Making our house our home. We went on a school visit recently, and the Headteacher said he believes that children are, to a large extent, a product of their surroundings. I subscribe to this and believe it to be true for adults too. I love sourcing products and finding little gems for our house to make it beautiful and distinctly ‘ours’, including finding ways to display the boys many works of art! I am struggling with this at the moment as we sold our beloved house and are renting while we save and search for our next home, so yet again I am finding the joy in planning (hello Pinterest) and looking for inspiration for the future at this point.
- Travel. I know this can be a bit of a cliché but I really do love exploring new places, and returning to old favourites. Even better if there is good food involved! I love planning holidays, weekends away and day trips. And despite some naysayers, I have found I love travelling even MORE with the boys, as I can see somewhere through my own eyes and through theirs, with all the magic that brings. Brilliant.
So, grab a notepad, have a think and write down what really makes you happy. What you want to include in your life. Think about whether you are doing these things, or whether you are overlooking yourself and making no time for them. Then find your diary or calendar and BOOK SOMETHING IN!! However small, doing something you enjoy will bring a smile to your face, and isn’t that what we all want? Happy Monday!