Making yourself happy should always be your highest priority in life, and yet many of us, especially women, feel guilty for doing so.
Well no more, I say! Happiness is such an important part of your wellbeing and your own selfcare that looking after yourself first means you are stronger in mindset with copious amounts of energy to give to those you love, the warmth and care that they need.
Permission to be guilt free
If you are anything like me, you are always looking for signals from loved ones that it’s okay to do something for yourself. Why is it we can’t give ourselves the same permission? I think it’s that critical inner voice who always talks too much!
So if you need it, I’m giving you permission to find ways of making yourself happy – and it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. I find it’s the really small things in daily life or weekly rituals that can really transform you from gloomy… ‘let’s just get through the day‘ kind of attitude to being truly happy with life and have a little skip in your step!
I thought I would share some of things I do, that no one else gets to see most of the time, only my dog or my hubby or if you were to have a cuppa & chat with me. I don’t shout loud about it, because they are new habits that have now become part of my weekly routine, so for me it’s normal. Normal and guilt free.
Guilt free ways of making yourself happy
Whilst these ten items make me really happy, they may not all be 100% right for you. But think about how you can switch something that you could easily adopt as a new habit for yourself.
Avoid thinking you don’t have time. Wellbeing and selfcare is something you do need to make time for, so skip that next episode on the boxset, leave work 10 minutes earlier than you normally do or take that lunch break that perhaps you don’t always take.
I would challenge anyone who could not find 30-45 minutes in their entire week – it is possible you just need to change your attitude.
1. Listening to podcasts or audio books
I love reading, but I’ve discovered over the years I am not great at reading on digital devices like my iBook or my Kindle – it’s just not for me. The one thing I envy about people who commute by train is the the 1-2 hours a day that they have to read.
I’ve recently discovered audio, both in terms of podcasts and books – and this has transformed my world since around November last year. I now listen to podcasts or an audio book either whilst driving, walking my dog (and I am now walking further because I want to listen to the entire podcast) or when I do my fitness at home… yes some people need music to do that… I am very happy with my podcasts and audio books.
2. A weekly blowdry
About five years ago I paid over a £150 for a spa day of beauty pamper treatments and at the end of it I felt ‘okay’ but not amazing. Just as I was about to head out the door, I was asked if a junior hairdresser could do a wash & blow dry free of charge, giving her a chance to practice ‘on real people’. Well with oil in my hair from the treatments that I had during the day, I said yes. I felt amazing afterwards. So much so, I thought to myself if I had just paid for a wash & blowdry not only would that have saved me a considerable amount of money but I actually feel better in myself.
Fast forward five years – I don’t payout for spa days, in fact they are one of my least favourite things to do. I don’t like getting wet, I don’t find it relaxing (at all) to be sitting in water or a steam room. But I absolutely love a blowdry and if I was every rich enough to afford it, I would have my own personal hairdresser who would come every day to do my hair. I find it relaxing and it makes me happy.
To accommodate this need, and because I can’t afford to go to fancy hairdressers every week – I have found a walk-in, no fuss (Easyjet quality) hairdressers where I now get an affordable weekly blow dry – and I love it.
I now have a little ‘all to myself’ routine which takes just slightly over an hour every week; which includes a ‘grab a coffee’ from my local Costas, the blow dry itself, the trip to the post office (see selling my preloved below) and fortnightly, I add a trip to get my eyebrows threaded. What’s even better, is this weekly ritual is with with the same people… so these known strangers I now have weekly chats with and I love it!
3. A weekly evening beauty regime
I wish I was that perfect person who has a beauty regime every evening…. I don’t. I just about get all the right products on, in the right order, first thing in the morning and that’s challenging enough!
Knowing how important it is to look after my face, neck and décolletage area – I now (usually the night before my weekly blowdry) do a face mask…. first I start with some deep cleansing, followed by the mask itself and then afterwards I add serums and night cream and anything I can grab that might help my face look somewhat better for the next week ahead.
It’s not glam, it’s not anything special, but I get a buzz knowing that I am doing something better for myself. Strangely hubby never notices…. and the dog loves me regardless of what my face looks like!
4. Looking after real plants
I do this one a bit with my mum… well I am more likely to kill a plant than keep it alive… so far so good, I still have 12 that I look after and care for, and for the most part I remember to water them, care for them, and I have to say, I really enjoy having them in my life.
This is from someone who in their last house had 100% plastic plants to make the house look like it had some ‘life’ – the irony! Real plants are the way forward, and if I can keep them going…. so can anyone.
5. Fitness and stretching
I don’t leave my house…. I do all this in the comfort of my home. Fitting in fitness was my focus in 2019 and I have kept it going. I am not perfect by any means, but I have stayed with it, changed it when I have become bored. I use it as an excuse to let me listen to my podcast or I even play with my dog in-between my sessions to make it a little more fun.
When stretching I try and practice mindfulness or just be silent and let the brain calm down – it’s not a bad way to spend time just focusing on your body, discovering what hurts, what needs a rub, how do I generally feel? It’s important to notice how you are feeling from head to toe, so that you know what is your normal, that way if something doesn’t feel your ‘normal’ you can be proactive and do something about it.
6. Flicking through a magazine
Magazines are not the same as books – and whilst I do spend a lot of time in the digital arena, I still love to flick through a magazine. The way magazines are written it gives you the chance to absorb snippets of information and get the lowdown on current affairs without having to make too much of an effort. I’ve always loved printed magazines and I truly hope they are here for the long-term… because there is nothing more relaxing than spending five minutes here and there, flicking through one.
7. A Ted Talk
I love learning and I love YouTube. I’ve taught myself so much through this media and particularly through the Ted Talks.
If you have never explored them, give them a go. It’s not something you can do daily, it’s just too much, but try and watch one at least once a fortnight – it’s amazing the quality of the talks, that if you were to go see these people in real life…. either at their own show or as a consultation, it would cost you hundreds of pounds! Their advice is of credible quality… Ted Talks are free. YouTube is free…. it’s free learning!
8. Selling my preloved
I used to feel quite stress about having too much ‘stuff’ around me. Cupboards full of things… items I don’t really understand why I bought them in the first place – we’ve all done it.
Well about six months ago, I had enough. Enough of giving good stuff away for free and also I didn’t just want to bin it. Now I know you are going to say ‘give it to Charity’ well around my way the clothing bins are full and some charity shops were not taking all the items I wanted to get rid of. So I set about setting up my own stall and selling…. on eBay… it was a hassle at first…. but now I love it.
Each week when I parcel everything up ready to take to the post office (part of my weekly blowdry experience), I now feel like I am doing something great. My items that I don’t love anymore are going to a new home, to be used, to be worn and to be loved. This makes me happy.
Look out for my tips on how to sell on eBay which will be live on the blog soon!
9. A cuppa & a chat
I was always too busy to meet up for a cuppa… I mean who has time to chat?
Well now, at least once a week I do this with someone… my mum, my mother-in-law, a girlfriend or even Instagram girlfriends that live local to me. Last week, it was my 92 year old Grandmother and we had a fab hour over a mug of coffee and some shortbread biscuits.
Every week, I stop and have a cuppa & a chat with a female loved one, that needs my time. And you know what? I need them too.
10. Buying some new stationery
You will always win me over with a new notebook or shiny new pen. If I need motivating or I need to seek new inspiration, regardless of the fact I already own an notebook with plenty of paper still left in it – a new notebook or pen seems to just make some new magic happen.
I was only in Home Sense the other day and lost twenty minutes looking at new gift wrapping sets and their fab notebooks with motivational quotes… I didn’t buy, well not on that occasion. But if you want to get a new project off the ground or arrange that party that you’ve been hesitant to start, I guarantee a nice new notebook will get the creative juices flowing…. and a task started, is a task nearly done!
I’m wearing the new Embrace Tee in Emerald with Drawstring Pants in Dark Grey with Emerald and Blossom stripes – both of these sustainable yoga clothes are from Asquith London’s latest ethical activewear SS20 collection and were gifted as part of a Instagram campaign. I love them so much, I am happy to feature them on my blog.
Both of these super soft ethical activewear items are from Asquith London’s Yoga, Pilates & Living In range.
Photo Credits: The image of Alfonso and my real plants were taken by Sarah Rider Photography
If you have any guilt free ways of making yourself happy, please do share! We can all learn some fabulous tips from each other, simply leave a comment in the box below.