Friday, January 2, 2015

Finding My Happy in the New Year

This year I am not writing about New Year's Resolutions. I don't want to feel the pressure of one looming over my head. For some reason, when I hold myself to a resolution, I feel anxiety about it; I feel this mounting pressure as time goes on to always live up to my resolution. Then if I fall behind, I feel down on myself, like I'm not good enough at anything, because I can't keep a damn New Year's Resolution. And I don't think that's the point of having a New Year's Resolution. 

There are a lot of things that I want to do this year, and I don't want to feel the pressure to do them. I just want to want to do them. And I know, from past experience, that giving myself goals just leads to failure. With my anxiety, I know that would be setting myself up for failure. 

So this year I decided to make a list of things that I'd love to do this year that will make me happy. This past year was a roller coaster of emotions--finding my way through depression, dealing with new treatments for my headaches, and feeling stagnant on my happiness journey. 

I am writing this list in hopes to remind me of the things that make me happy and to remind myself to in all honesty, do them more often. 

Here's my Happy List for 2015:

1. Read

This fall I definitely did not read as much as I usually do. A lot of my energy this year was spent just making it through the day, so I didn't spend a lot of time doing the things I love. Look for an upcoming post on my to-be-read list for the new year!

Here's a preview of a few books that I would like to read this year:

2. Blog

I miss writing and want to write more. Expect more blog posts coming soon! And because I love writing, this note from Jacqueline Woodson means so much to me:

I look at it when I need to spark my motivation. It makes me happy. 

3. Move More

Over the last year, I haven't been as active as I usually am. I haven't been going to Zumba. I haven't been dancing. Changing medications, feeling tired, and feeling depressed have taken a toll on me. I've gained some weight, and I don't feel like myself. I want to feel like myself again. 

4. Laugh

It's funny the things that you take for granted when you feel depressed. I never laughed--about anything. It took so much energy to laugh, smile, try to feel any kind of happiness. This past month, I remember two times--one on the phone with my sister and one watching TV with my husband--when I just uncontrollably laughed, non-stop until tears formed in my eyes. It felt nice to feel happiness again--genuine bliss. It's funny how going through such a dark time made me distinctly aware of laughing. Afterwards, it was like I had a moment with myself--I just laughed out loud. I can't remember the last time I did that.

5. Learn to Meditate

One thing that I've learned through my headache journey is that pain creates pain {and stress creates pain which creates more stress and pain}, so I have decided that I would like to start meditating. There has to be some kind of link between mind over matter and nerves signalling pain. I've tried a website for biofeedback--a way to try to promote self-soothing and calming of your mind and body. It involves deep breathing and guided imagery. I like it, but I feel like I need some more heavy duty mind-over matter practice when it comes to my migraines. I've got it down {most of the time} for my OCD, but intense pain is a different beast. I do well when my migraines are not severe, but it's hard to focus when you can't see straight, you feel like vomiting, and you're sensitive to sounds. Sometimes in those instances, it literally hurts to think. I started a Pinterest board called Meditation. I am going to keep adding to it as I find new meditation ideas. 

6. Relax

In talking about meditation, I think relaxing fits in nicely here. I've been much better at this lately. I've learned with time, especially with my migraines, not to push myself. If I have a migraine, I need to lie down and rest. I don't need to spend the evening cleaning the house. It will be there tomorrow. If my house isn't pristine, so be it. If I'm planning on working out and I feel a migraine coming on, I won't push myself. I'll work out another day. It sucks, for sure, but I've learned that I'd rather feel better than almost pass out or throw up on the dance floor. And driving home with a migraine is horrible! I've learned my limits; it's time to acknowledge them and take a deep breath. I don't have to be perfect. 

7. Have Fun

This one is a biggie for me. When I was depressed, I didn't do anything fun. I didn't want to. I want to have movie marathons, read books, blog, play with my dogs, go out to dinner, cross stitch, and learn how to play the ukulele! 

8. Don't Sweat It

This is a big one for me and my anxiety/OCD. I have always and still do {to certain extents} worry about other people and whether I'm doing the right thing to keep them happy instead of whether it's the right decision for me and my life. I've always been this way, and this is probably going to be an ongoing struggle. I always feel like when I say "no" to something, that I owe an explanation. I feel that I need to keep other people happy and I worry that something I did wasn't the right thing to do in a certain instance. 

I used to worry and dwell about different things that I said or different situations that happened on given days. Over time, I've gotten better about spending less time thinking about them after the fact, but this year I'd like to dwell even less. The choices I make need to be what's best for me and that's not being selfish. I need to take care of myself. 

These are the things that I want for myself in the new year. I'm going to work on them, but not set myself to a certain timeline or make myself feel like I have to do them by a certain point in the year. After all, finding happiness is an ongoing journey. In my personal life, I do much better without deadlines hanging over my head. So here's to the new year. I hope everyone is looking forward to 2015 like I am! I'm ready for a happy year :)

What do you plan on doing this year to find happiness?

Love and happiness <3 Holly

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