There is no denying that the past few years have felt anything but calm. The world has been a weird and anxious place, with ever-changing rules and regulations to adapt to and everything that we took for granted as normal thrown up in the air.
So, how can we possibly feel calm when so much is out of our control? By only focusing on those things we can at least partly control; our time and our homes. And by making space for the things that make us happy.
Find your happy
What makes you happy? Like really happy. As in you forget what the time is because you’re so engrossed in what you’re doing, and after you’ve done it you feel lighter and brighter? It could be: yoga, walking, sewing, writing, singing – whatever it is, if it makes you happy it will also help you feel calm and balanced.
Put yourself on your to do list
I know what you’ll say – “I haven’t got time for that! My life is already over-crowded with things to try and get done!”. I get it: we’re all juggling a million roles and responsibilities, but if a loved one called you telling you they were stressed out and needed some help, chances are you’d find the time for them by pushing something less important off your to do list. Well, it’s time to put yourself on your to do list. Put an actual date and time in your diary for your ‘happiness practice’ and treat it like you would an appointment – no cancelling on yourself!
Little and often
You don’t have to carve out hours and hours to do what makes you happy (wouldn’t that be nice?!), even just five or ten minutes spent on yourself can give you the energy and resilience to help deal with everything else that life throws at you. You might even find that in giving yourself that time off from your usual responsibilities, you’re more productive and efficient at working through all the other stuff that needs doing. Potentially giving you more time to do what makes you happy – result!
Create the space you need
“Ok, great, but I haven’t got space to think, let alone space to do yoga!” No problem. Start by being realistic – you only need the essentials for your five-minute happiness practice, so for example if drawing is your thing, then a single pencil and pad might be all you need.
And you don’t need the perfect environment either; if your home is cluttered and busy then try and clear just a small corner for what you need, or create a permanent space for the equipment required, so you know exactly where to find it when it’s needed.
Protect your investment
Then the tricky bit – protect that physical space and the space in your time with all you’ve got. Remember how important your happiness practices are, how they can help create a feeling of clarity and calm, and how they can build your resilience to the stresses and strains of life. And if you find those spaces start getting lost or forgotten about, remember how important you are and the need to invest in yourself, and keep digging them back out again until you create a regular happiness habit.
Kate Yiannacou, Declutter Coach (Tidy Happy Calm)