I haven’t learnt all that much in my 25 years. I’ve learnt never to double text a boy, to never have a wild night out without eating carbs first (that time I ate one Muller Corner before a bottle of wine taught me a heck of a lot), and how to make digital content go viral, kind of.
But aside all that, mostly I’ve learnt how to be happy. How to make every day a bit sunnier. How to pick myself up from one of those bad moods that comes out of nowhere, is about nothing, and feels as though it’ll never disappear. So yeah, here’s a list of happiness. A list to bookmark or print off and put somewhere ready for one of those hideous grey moods that is all consuming and overwhelming.
1. Switch off social media. Hide your phone in a drawer. Turn it off. There’s nothing that makes you feel like you’ve wasted an hour or a day more than refreshing Facebook and Instagram every twenty seconds. And you know what? It makes you honestly believe everyone else is in a better place in their lives than you, so put it away. Put it far away from your eyes and your over-thinking brain.
2. Buy flowers. Pretty, bright flowers. You can get £1 daffodils from Sainsbury’s, carnations for £2.50 and tulips for £3. They’ll last a week and they’ll make you feel like a grown-up with a Pinterest-worthy house and that will make you smile.
3. If you live near the sea (say within half an hour of it) then go there. Drive there in your trackies and hoodie and oversized scarf and just watch. The sea is enchanting and it clears your mind in a way nothing else can. It’s soothed me through many emotional turmoils before, and I often forget just how bloody powerful on the mind it can be.
4. Play Theme Hospital. Or The Sims. Or any other game you love. As adults we believe it’s wrong to spend any spare time doing something that doesn’t make us more successful and productive in life. But it’s OK to just do something because it makes you happy. So take a trip to cEX or find your fave noughties game on Amazon, because why the hell not?
5. Go to a really big supermarket and buy one of them giant frozen Yorkshire puddings. Then make (or buy) mash, sausages, peas and onion gravy. If ever there was an actual meal that felt like the biggest, warm, safest hug, it’s this.
6. Late-ish in the evening? Just go to bed. Forget about all the things you haven’t got round to doing and the fact that it’s ‘wrong’ to go to bed before 9pm. Sometimes I can wake up feeling like a new person just because I had a good dream or it was sunny when I woke up or I HAVE NO IDEA WHY, but sleeping off sadness just works.
7. Take yourself off on your own to a coffee shop with a book or a notebook. I do this once a week and have no shame in ordering a giant cappuccino and just sitting on my own reflecting on how dreamy and wonderful life is – it gives me perspective when I’m not sitting surrounded by ironing piles and washing up and general mess and I instantly feel much prouder and contenter at where I am in life.
8. Harry Potter. Read it or watch it, either way sometimes your own life can just be so darn overwhelming that you just need to escape being you and escape real life just for an hour or two – this, or LOTR or Disney is the answer.
9. Exercise. Yeah, OK, every fucking person says exercise makes you happier because of endorphins but I HATE exercise – you know what I don’t hate? Pilates. You don’t get sweaty, weezy or feel embarrassed. You just lie there trying to tense your belly whilst listening to soothing music and you come out of a session feeling like you could skip and CONQUER THE WORLD.
10. Book a trip. It could be some extravagant fortnight away in the Maldives (LOL if you can afford that), it could be a weekend somewhere that your credit card CAN allow like Rome or Budapest or it can be a night away staying at your best friend’s flat 100 miles away. Having things to look forward to makes my world go round.
11. Take a shower, blow dry your hair, put on clothes which are comfy yet don’t make you want to punch yourself in the face and spend an extra 10 minutes on your make-up. Feeling comfortable and fresh and clean always makes you feel like tackling the day isn’t so painfully aggressive and, sad as it may sound to some, I always feel just a little bit cheerier when I look in the mirror and don’t feel physically horrified by my appearance.
12. Go to the postcard section of Paperchase. Bulk buy. Stick them up on your walls. You cannot help but feel a whole lot sunnier on the inside with these super cheap, super pretty, motivational slogans. (P.S. they don’t sell them online, so you’ll have to get yourself some fresh air, sigh)
13. Run a hot bath, put something bubbly and ridiculously sexy smelling in it from Lush, light a candle (or 5 if you have plenty) and turn off the lights. I like to listen to Classic FM on a low volume and leave my phone in a different room. It’s dreamy, it’s relaxing and it totally soothes my crying headache (what the flip are those monsters?) plus, my chose of music makes me feel much more middle-class than I am.
14. Let yourself order a takeaway without fretting and panicking over the carbs. Some days you do just need a takeaway, you do. And that’s totally OK. I ordered a Dominos at the weekend – was it cheat day? Nope. Have I gained any weight? Nope.
15. Buy something new that makes your insides feel full of magic and sparkles and happiness. Instead of clothes, try something that won’t get old as easily – a cute monogrammed mug, a notebook that just gets you, an Etsy print that’ll make you smile every single day or just a really bloody cosy pair of Primark slipper socks.
16. Buy a big chocolate bar, put on fresh pyjamas and matching socks and get cosy on the sofa with a cup of tea and a blanket – ain’t nothing wrong with making yourself feel like a happy little foetus still in the womb.
17. Write your emotions out of you. Get a notebook and a good, non-smudgy pen and get writing. Sometimes just forming sentences for a few minutes helps me realise what I’m actually upset or angry about it and it feels so good to get it out of my system. It also feels bloody incredible to be able to read back on your lowest points in a few months time – you’ll be so incredibly proud and overwhelmed by your own ability to grow stronger and move on from things.
GO BE AMAZING BECAUSE LIFE’S TOO SHORT TO SULK OVER THE LITTLE THINGS.