Happiness. You gotta work at it.
Recently I listened to an interesting podcast called The Happiness Lab, which covered a bunch of topics relating to happiness, and examined the science behind them. It talked a lot about the fact that the things that we think might make us happy often don’t, and looked at lots of research around that. I found it such a great listen, even though some of the things were quite obvious, and it was really relevant for starting the year off with clarity about what’s important and what isn’t. Even though I tend to be quite happy, I do find that it’s easy to slip into patterns of behaviour that make you unhappy, and I know from experience that it’s something you have to work at constantly. So, in an attempt to be more accountable, I’d like to share a few ways that I’m focusing on to be happier in 2020!
I’m Prioritising Sleep
One thing that stuck with me from the podcast was their assertion that of all the things you can do to make yourself happier, sleep was the thing that makes the most difference. That’s because, without proper sleep, you don’t have the bandwidth to make progress on other parts of your life. As someone who has had recent experience with sleep deprivation (hello new baby!), I couldn’t agree more. But telling someone with a baby to GET BETTER SLEEP isn’t that useful. I mean, having a child is a unique obstacle. However, as much as I lament not getting sleep like I used to, I know that there are things that impede sleep that aren’t related to Frankie, in which I could definitely improve. So, this year I’m focusing prioritising sleep with a better sleep routine – packing up all screens by 8pm, going to bed by 9pm and taking time to truly wind down at night (I’ve been using this!). These are things I’ve talked about before but I know from experience that it’s a slippery slope, where one bad habit leads to another.
I’m Sharing More Of Who I Really Am
The thing about sharing a lot of ourselves online is that there is a tendency to smooth all your rough edges, in an attempt to keep people happy (and, you know, stop people from trolling you). I think that’s quite normal, as we try to shield ourselves from criticism and build a community that enjoys what we do. But sometimes this can gloss over who we really are, and cover up all the unique, weird and wacky ways we are different. At the end of the day, we’re all flawed and unique, and it’s those nuances that make us more interesting to each other! SO this year I’m focusing on owning who I am, and honing in on what makes me different. Perhaps I should introduce myself? Hi I’m Geneva Vanderzeil, lover of finding furniture on the street, owner of two thousand teas, with a penchant for cutting off dresses. Nice to meet you!
I’m Logging Off
Working for myself, and in social media, it goes without saying that online is the business. But in my experience, constant exposure to the online world can completely take over your brain, and make it hard to be present in even the odd moment of downtime. This is another area in which you need boundaries and constant vigilance. I’ve noticed that with time being tight in my day, I’ve started working online at night after Frankie goes to bed, posting on social channels and replying to the hundreds of DMs I get daily. This is essential and needs to happen (no complaining here, I love this community), but I know this approach if taking a toll on my mood and ability to sleep (see point 1). So recently I’ve tried to rearranged my day to do this earlier so I can carve out family time and log off earlier. This means more preparing things in advance and being organised!
I’m Living In The Moment
The start of the year has been one of major uncertainty, with the Australian bushfires and now Corona virus giving us plenty of reasons to be fearful for the future. At the same time, I tend to focus on my goals a lot and suffer from not really letting the current moment sink in. So this year I’m focusing on living in the moment, being more present at home and not letting the future (whatever that may look like) distract me from the here and now. Sounds kinda woo woo but I’ve noticed that staying away has helped a lot.
Do you have any ways you’re trying to be happier in 2020? Here’s my sleep tracker in case you’re looking to work towards better sleep.