Have you ever noticed that it’s rarely the ‘big things’ in life that make the most impact on our day to day happiness? More often than not, it’s the little things we do that allow us to live a better life.
If you’re in need of some inspiration, here a few ideas of small changes you can make to live a better life. And don’t be overwhelmed. You don’t have to do them all, pick a few and work on them, then do a few more, and then a few more. Little steps will get you there.
1 – Smile Often
When was the last time you had a really good smile, like a ‘creases in the corners of your eyes, cheeks hurt’ kind of smile? Or a good belly laugh? Smiling has been shown to significantly reduce stress, increase serotonin levels (the happy neuro transmitter) and can even help reduce the amount of time we spend being sick.
2 – Use To-Do Lists
Don’t underestimate the power of a list! The things we keep track of are the things we focus on, and having a to do list is going to make you far more productive and allow you to get far more done.
But don’t limit to-do lists to your daily chores! Get creative. Make a to-do list of all the fun activities you’d like to do this year, a list of things to do when you’ve got a weekend off with your husband, a list of places you’d like to visit… When you have it all written in front of you, you’re more likely to cross it off and actually do it!
3 – Take Time to Converse and to Listen
We spend so much time on social media, with the average being around 2 hours (and for some teens an average of 9 hours!!) that we tend to overlook real conversations. That is face to face or even over the phone, hearing each other’s voices and actually listening to them.
When was the last time you gave someone your undivided attention? Text conversations and messenger conversations are usually broken up between other activities. Make a conscious effort to converse with and listen to a friend or family member each week.
4 – Spend Time Alone
There’s something cathartic about spending time alone. Regardless of whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, whether you love being around people or prefer your own company, we should all make time be spent alone on a regular basis (some of us just might need it more often than others).
That time alone allows you to recharge, allows you to take a break from others and allows you to just be on your own, doing what you want, when you want. You could do something as simple as going to your favourite cafe on your own and reading a magazine while eating cake, or you could ramp it up by booking yourself into a hotel for a few nights all on your own.
5 – Learn How to Cook a Signature Dish
Having a signature ‘go to’ dish is a must and will get you out of trouble in a pinch. If you’ve got no time to cook, or if you find yourself with guests coming over and no idea what you’re going to make for them, this is the dish you’ll rely on.
Keep it to a few ingredients that can be put together quickly and you’ll be so grateful to have this tasty dish up your sleeve.
6 – Learn the Difference Between Healthy Food and Unhealthy Food
It still amazes me at how many people are confused by what is ‘healthy’ and what isn’t. Sure, there’s a lot of confusion out there when it comes to all the diets and lifestyle choices, but we should all have at least a basic understanding that pizza every day is not a healthy option.
Take some time to find your healthy – that is the style of eating and living that makes you happy and makes you feel amazing.
7 – Move
There’s no denying it, we don’t move enough. We work more, do more, sit more and drive more than ever before, but we spend less time moving and stretching our body. The thing is, keeping yourself healthy and relatively fit will allow you to actually get more done in your day, allow you to sleep better, reduce your stress and generally feel good about yourself.
Set yourself a challenge to move for 30 minutes each day. Put some music on and dance around, go for a walk, head to the gym or run around at the park with your kids. Whatever it is, do it more often.
8 – Live Somewhere You Love
How do you feel about where you live? Does it make you happy? When you drive around your town are you happy to be there? If you don’t love where you are, why are you still there?
Often, we feel like we have to stay somewhere, or we just don’t look elsewhere because we’ve never had a reason to. Here’s your reason – if you don’t love where you live, and you don’t absolutely have to stay there, then find somewhere in the world that will make you happy and go!
9 – Get a Side Hustle
Almost everyone I know has a side hustle now, and for great reasons. Some do them to give themselves extra financial security, others for extra spending money. Some do them to achieve some creative fulfillment and others because their day job no longer challenges them.
One of the things that seem to be overlooked is that a ‘side hustle’ doesn’t have to stay on the side and you don’t have to have just one. You can use your side hustle to diversify your income, and you could even make it your full-time job!
10 – Learn How to Manage Your Money
We didn’t learn how to pay our bills and budget our money in school, and many of our parents come from the generations where you don’t talk about finances, so our lessons in money management have been quite limited.
Take some time to educate yourself about how to manage your money. Financial stress eats away at so many aspects of your life so don’t let it! Live a better life by understanding your money, what’s coming in, what’s going out and what you need in order to fund the lifestyle you want to lead.
11 – Be Confident in Yourself
Self-confidence isn’t something we just have. We have to work at it and build it, like a muscle. We spend so much time worried about what other people think, talking ourselves down and being negative – all of that time adds up to a big part of your life.
Think about it this way – how much time have you spent worrying about what other people will think of what you’re wearing to a party? But I guarantee the majority of the people there are too worried about what people think of them to be worried about what you look like. It’s like one big circle of worry.
Be confident. Back yourself. Love yourself. Look in the mirror and smile at who is looking back at you. You are freaking amazing – act like it.
12 – Sleep Better
Poor sleep not only leaves you feeling less than fabulous, but it’s also been linked to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. What better excuse to have that extra nap? We treat sleep like an inconvenience (okay, well maybe it’s just me) or like something that just happens, without much thought. Have you actually set up your sleep space to give you the best night’s sleep possible?
Ensuring you have a great sleep will give you so many health benefits and will make you feel like you can take on the world.
13 – Create Routines for Yourself
Oh, the wonders of a routine! It’s so easy to overlook how good a routine can be for your day to day life. Having a morning routine helps reduce the stress of getting out of the house of a morning, having a healthy and exercise routine helps you keep on top of your workouts and having a self-care routine means you take the time to recharge your own batteries.
14 – Get Outdoors
As a general rule, most of us a Vitamin D deficient. We don’t spend enough time outdoors and in the sun. Then, instead of getting outside, we take tablets to try and boost our Vitamin D supplies.
Did you know it only takes around 10 minutes of sun exposure to give you your daily dose of Vitamin D? Just 10 minutes! Not to mention all of the health benefits of being outdoors in the fresh air – both physical and mental.
Get outdoors – whether it’s sitting in the sun in the morning to drink your coffee, heading outdoors to play with your kids, or going for a walk, soak up that sunshine and feel your energy levels increase.
15 – Indulge Yourself
How many times have you bought yourself the expensive shoes or had another piece of cake and said ‘you know what? Treat yourself. You deserve it!’? Ummm… for me, a lot.
But the thing is, if I’m ‘treating myself’ every day, then I’m not really treating myself. I’m just making poor money management decisions and poor health choices… right?
So, don’t skip the indulgence, just make sure it’s an indulgence every now and then. And really, don’t skip it. You are worth it and you do deserve it. And when you do indulge, you’ll feel luxurious and fabulous and all the things indulging yourself is meant to make you feel. So make that life count
Source: Project Hot Mess