I’ll start off my saying that a happy list is not the same as a gratitude list. Though I may be grateful for the things that make me happy, it’s simpler than that. A happy list doesn’t have to have things that you feel obligated to feel thankful for, it’s more relaxed than that. It’s just things that make you smile, make your heart warm and make you feel like life is worth living.
I started writing happy lists when the pandemic felt like too much- too much isolation, too much loneliness, too much sadness. Writing happy lists made me consciously recognize the happiness still left all around me. I encourage everyone to write a happy list when they feel like everything is too dark.
Along with my happy list, I’m going to link items that I have that make me SO happy. There may not be a reason for the happiness they spark, just the feeling of pure contentment. Some of these items I have purchased intentionally because even the thought of them made me SO happy.
Note: You don’t need items, or to spend money to be happy by any means, but sometimes it helps :’) A lot of the things on my happy list are things money can’t buy, and I love that. But, I also believe items can bring us certain kinds of comfort ❤
This Sherpa Blanket: Okay, so this blanket is the ultimate read-in-bed blanket. It’s so soft, washes well, and is super affordable compared to other blankets I’ve found ($40.00)! We got a king size for our queen size bed so there’s no fighting over the blanket. It’s thin, so we layer it on top of our duvet for pure softness.
These Vintage Wine Goblets: I’ve been eyeing these for months because they make me feel happy. They have an old school vibe, and are so dainty and delicate. I love both colors, but the pink hits a certain way for me. They’re 6$ each, so fairly affordable, especially if you only want one or two.
These Little Glasses: I have some super similar to these that I purchased years back and they are the perfect iced coffee glass (especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine and only want a small coffee). They’re just so adorable and only 2$ each. I feel so dainty sipping my cold brew from them which makes me feel happy for whatever reason. 🙂
Fresh Flowers: I’ve started buying myself fresh flowers on occasion and it makes me so happy. Just the bright colors, the life they hold, and the pure beauty of them sitting on my counter. My latest flower purchase was a bundle of pink tulips.
Now, let’s talk Self Care!
Self care is so different for each person. It depends what fuels you, what helps you unwind, and how you choose to connect with yourself. For me, self care is all about bringing myself back into my body and connecting with it. Anxiety for me often presents as disassociation and numbness a large chunk of the time, and the other times it presents as overthinking and panic. So, I have self care routines/activities for both.
Self care for panic:
The primary thing that helps bring me back into my body when I feel a panic coming is doing activities or rituals that engage my senses such as:
Floor Stretches: My favorite way to ground myself is to literally lay on the floor and ground myself by quite literally being on the ground. While I’m laying on the floor, I’ll focus on deep inhalations and slow exhalations. I’ll imagine my body is planting roots into the ground and that I’m becoming part of the foundation. Then, once I’ve had a few good breathes, and feel a bit more grounded, I’ll incorporate a few of my favorite stretches below. I do the stretches without using a wall, but a wall may be nice for further support.
Self-Massage: After I’ve done some stretching, I use my favorite hand lotion, Hand Relief by Aveda or any other lotion we have laying around and massage my hands with it. I focus on visualizing all the anxiety I’ve been holding and imagine pulling it out of my fingertips. I also use this hand reflexology guide. Self-Massage is a nice opportunity to connect with your body, find what hurts, what feels good and focus on intentionally connecting with your body while visualizing the anxious energy, or whatever stressors you experience are being removed from your body.
Self Care to Curb Overthinking:
When I’m overthinking my self care looks totally different. Instead of bringing myself back into my body, in these situations I actually focus on escaping it for a little while to give my mind a break. I still focus on my senses, but in a less intentional way.
Blanket & a Book: This is my favorite routine lately. If I’m overthinking, I go and find my favorite, softest blanket and sit on the couch with a good book. I force myself to read 10 pages, and 99% of the time, once I’ve finished the 10 pages, I feel better and have escaped into whatever book I’m reading and have stopped the racing thoughts about my own life which allows me to feel calm and continue reading.
Forest Bathing/Walking Outside: When my brain is too full to even focus on reading or any other self-care, going outside is one of the things that helps me. Walking in a forest is particularly helpful for me. The smell of the trees, and the sound of the leaves rustling, birds chirping and the silence allow me to decompress. Most of the time, when I’m overthinking or panicked, it’s because I’m overstimulated, so detaching and letting myself just focus on walking, one foot in front of the other, is super helpful and usually leaves me with a clear mind.
Self care is so important, obviously, we all know that – it’s been drilled into our brains for years, though it’s also been over commercialized in the process. So, I challenge you to find routines that you can access even when you’re broke. I know for me, knowing I always have access to these rituals is vital.
I hope you all feel able to curb your anxiety, overthinking and panic by using whatever feels good for you. Feel free to comment things on your happy list as well as your favorite self care routines! ❤