Photo from Loveli
I always laughed at the idea of a ‘quarter life crisis’ because what’s there to be in a crisis about? The twenties are supposed to be the best part of your life, aren’t they? Well, that is until I turned 21 where reality hit me full-force in the face and I had to deal with where my life was headed. After graduation, my life drastically deteriorated as I kind of refused to step up and develop my life the way I should have (get a career, become an adult). I was stuck in the student mindset of just chilling and being young while I can. Long story short, I did a lot of stalling adulthood and quite literally put it off for as long as I possibly could.
People underestimate the stresses that a transition into adulthood includes. It seemed that one minute I was a fun-loving teenager enjoying university and the next I was a responsible adult with a lot of shit to get done. Basically, I know what it’s like to feel very lost and useless, at times I found myself in a very dark place wanting to give up and not even try. For ages I didn’t try. I don’t really know what I expected to happen, looking back. Anyway, I’ll go into this more another day, but this blog is simply me sharing the steps I took towards improving my happiness and productivity. I hope it can help you too!
1. Training a Positive Mind
During my darkest times, I found myself constantly dwelling on what i didn’t have and what I hadn’t accomplished. Completely ignoring how blessed I truly was: I had a loving family, I had graduated with a 2:1, I had amazing friends, a nice place to live. But when you’re battling demons it is so easy to forget your blessings and focus solely on the failures and disadvantages of your life. I cannot stress how important it is to count your blessings.
Every night, morning and even regularly through the day, take time to count the things you are thankful for. I used to go to bed wrecked with worry over the most pointless things forgetting how lucky I was to be in a warm bed in a secure home, with food in my fridge and clothes in my wardrobe. Always remember how fortunate you are, focus on the positives of your life and stop dwelling on things that simply do not matter.
2. Life Analysis
When overwhelmed with stress and sadness, it is so easy to just deem your life a failure and say things like ‘my life is a mess’. In reality, you’re life is probably pretty okay. But when overcome with a stressful situation or depressive state, there is usually an underlying factor which has lead to or is causing your negative mindset. Of course, it would be ignorant to say every feeling is directly linked to a reason. I know that depression has a way of making your state of mind overall negative with no apparent reasoning. However, I found that picking apart my life and analysing areas of improvement really helped me develop a more positive and productive mindset.
Ask yourself ‘what in my life could I improve’ and ‘what aspects of my life bring me stress’. Whether it be relationships, work or a particular environment you are associated sign that negatively impacts your life, you can always take control and make change. Never settle for anything but pure happiness. Take steps towards changing the areas of your life you don’t enjoy and remove yourself from unhealthy or unfulfilling situations. You will find endless excuses to stay in damaging situations because a way out might seem too stressful or risky, but I can assure you the outcome is priceless and nothing or nobody is more important than your mental wellbeing.
3. Planning Is Everything
Mental illness seriously impacts productivity. If you’re not looking after your mental well-being, your entirely life is seriously influenced. It is far too easy to stay in bed because your mind tells you there’s no point in getting out of bed and your overactive mind deems facing the world just too challenging. I understand how hard it can be to do so, but planning your day and setting tasks to complete can positively impact you mindset and lead to a happier lifestyle.
I’m not saying set enormous goals per day, a task could be as simple as get up and make your bed. Daily tasks can be a huge challenge to struggling people, so it is important to congratulate yourself when you complete even everyday tasks. To even get out of bed and face the day is massive in terms of development.
I am obsessed with organisers, notebooks and planners. I’m one of those freaks who spends over £20 on a notebook in Urban Outfitters because it has a pretty marble covering (no regrets). I found making to-do lists for simple tasks and challenging one achievement each day helped me to be more productive, allowing me to go to bed feeling more accomplished than if I spent the full day in bed doing nothing (which frequently made me feel 100x worse). So make lists, tick tasks off, get shit done!
Notebooks from Albert&Moo
4. Be Selfish
That being said, it is okay to have the day off and stay in bed. In fact, we need to rest and it is so important to look after yourself. Never over-work as a means of being productive, always make sure your health and well-being comes before how successful you view your day to be.
I’ve had my fair share of lazy days and during my darkest times, I regularly stayed in bed until afternoon and avoided the big bad world. However, I don’t know whether it’s because I’m in a healthier mindset or what, I now hate lazy days and love constantly being on the move. This is something I never thought I would enjoy, being a bit of a sloth who loves sleep and Netflix.
Although, I can’t stress enough how important ‘me’ time truly is. Be selfish! Use your time for you. Take a bath, watch a TV series, hang with friends – do things you enjoy to relax you and recharge. Life is hard and everyday can be draining, so it is important to take time to put the demons to one side and just chill.
5. Who Cares What People Think?
One thing I personally struggled with the most, and still bothers me from time to time: what people think of me. I have always been overly obsessed at how I’m perceived by others, usually placing it before my own happiness. To stop caring what other think is a particularly hard skill to acquire, but there are daily steps you can take towards a more care-free attitude.
What I found helpful is to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. We are all just living beings going about our own business, on a weird planet and with inevitable death fast approaching (bit depressing, sorry). One day, we will all be gone. And as brutal as it may sound, many of us will just be forgotten. We won’t leave a noticeable trace on the earth. When you view life as a precious process, you are made aware that life is far too short to waste time worrying about what other people think.
One thing I have noticed and something my mother has always told me, as you get older you begin to care less. I love seeing old ladies going about their day-to-day business simply not giving a fuck. Ageing teaches us slowly that life is going to end and one day we will be gone, as time passes we become less bothered about what people think because we have bigger things to worry about and just want to focus on living life. When you’re 60 years old and reflecting on your life, the last thing you’re going to remember is what your colleague criticised you about when you were 22. So brush it off, so what you love and never sacrifice your own happiness at the sake of others.
So, there you have it. It is entirely up to you what you make of these 5 Daily Actions to a Happier Life and it is down to you how you take them. But all-in-all, the help is there. There’s nothing else that anyone else can do to help your mind. It all starts with you. You must want to change your life in order for it to get better. You cannot wait around for a miracle to change. You need to take actions towards where you want to be, and there’s no better time to start than right now.
– Beauty by Disaster x