I recently celebrated a birthday and I’m not lying when I said I had a great day. I gave myself a day off of work and spent time with family and friends just relaxing and enjoying myself. It felt great.
If you’re a workaholic or perfectionist like me, you know how much work can suddenly start to take over your life. Taking even just one day off can give you a different perspective. I realized that most of my days are planned around work. My birthday gave me a rare opportunity to plan for pleasure instead.
I started to wonder about why I wasn’t making more room in my life for the things I love. Why would I save only one day out of the whole year for rest and relaxation? What if I could find some way for my day to be pleasurable every day, even in just some small way? Could I actually plan my own happiness?
If happiness is something that you work on, it’s a state of mind that needs to be worked on every day. Giving yourself something to look forward to, allowing yourself time to relax or even indulging in something small are all good ways of injecting some fun into the day, whether it’s during the week or on the weekend.
Realistically, there might not be an opportunity to do this on a daily basis (like I said, life gets in the way) but there is always the time to practice gratitude. It may sound corny, but reminding yourself of reasons to be happy can actually improve your mood. Gratitude doesn’t always have to mean listing the things you’re grateful for either- for me, practicing gratitude also encompasses finding appreciation or pleasure in the everyday world around me. It could be as simple as being grateful for the breeze on a hot summer day, or how beautiful the view is from your window. There are little sparks of joy everywhere in your life if you know where to look for them. If you don’t, it may be time to create some. (Check out The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo or The Book of Awesome by Neil Patrisha for some ideas.)
We only have birthdays once a year, but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have reasons to celebrate everyday. We’re alive, for one thing, which is remarkable unto itself. If we constantly look for opportunities to be grateful for this, we can all be on our way to something that looks like everyday happiness.
In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.
What are some of the ways that you stay balanced? Give us your advice below, or email your strategies to firstname.lastname@example.org.