Friday, 17 April 2015

I want to live like 'Happy People' or a realistic rant on how to become a 'Happier Person'

 So I have my happiness journal. I have my pack of zen tea. I mediate every morning while grasping my malachite stone while my salt lamp is a-lamping. So why the hell are negative things still popping into my brain? 

The majority of people who know me consider me to be to be a ‘Happy’ person. Especially since this whole eating differently, exercising, saying ‘yes’ instead of no to opportunities and basically having a mid-life crisis in my early thirties (Let’s call a spade a spade, yo). So I’ve noticed that when I talk to my friends about how I’m feeling they ask me: Are you happy all the time? Cue extreme pig-snort laughter…

There is a common misconception with happiness, especially with the ‘Healthy Living’ community on platforms like Instagram. Check out these pretty, pastel hued pictures and everyone looks like they are permanently living in a tampon advert (e.g. ‘Life is for living and I’m living it, even if I am bleeding for 3-7 days- woohoo!’). They seem to be perpetually Disneyland happy, living their seemingly perfect lives out in trendy cafes, deserted white sanded beaches and in bathrooms that have the best light for selfies the sun has ever thrown our way. Awesome YouTuber Cassie of Cloudy Apples did a great video about the selected self that people portray online. It’s all about branding, the likes and the like. Don’t ever assume that a selection of pictures paints an honest representation of that persons life- myself included. We all have our shit to shovel. 

Ask my boyfriend if I’m happy all the time and he'll inevitably do that cute but annoying smirk he does. This will be because he's seen me before I've taken that perfect Instagram picture of the dish that I've just been telling to 'fuck off' for the last hour while cooking it. He's heard me whinge about people or situations that have upset me, and he knows that sometimes I'm just a bitch. I am. I accept that. Thumbs up to my bitchy self. 

The idea of being happy all the time scares me. It immediately makes me think of alien invasions, forever increasing doses of prescription drugs and pupils the size of donut holes. It isn’t real. And thank goodness, because without the bad how would be ever appreciate the good? While I don't love feeling moody or miserable, when I do, I take a moment to remember that what I'm feeling is temporary. It's like whenever I'm sick, I take multiple moments to remind myself to pay more attention to how great it feels to feel well.  It’s about connecting to what you’re grateful for and remembering that what goes down will come up even if it’s only for a moment before it goes down again. Such is life.

I fully believe that happiness is an inside job, and one that you have cultivate continuously in order to reap the benefits. Happy people aren't all delusional fairy dust farters who are grinning the moment they bounce out of bed. They make an effort to find the joy in the everyday. But really make an effort, making it a part of their routine. I can vouch for the benefits of exercise in improving happiness (You can’t argue with science). And considering that it only takes 7 minutes to ‘get there’, I won’t hear a word about people not having time to move their bodies. I am also a pusher for expressing gratitude on a daily basis. I did this consistently for a few months before my routine changed and it got left by the wayside. Now in moments when I wake up and think ‘meh’, I remind myself to think about the things I am grateful for whether it be the porridge on my spoon, the fact that I have a job or that I could see when I opened my eyes (Okay, when I put my glasses on). It changes my outlook for the better even if it’s just a fraction. In that moment I can be happy because I can be grateful about what I have, instead of thinking about what I don’t have. 

Still, it doesn’t stop be from feeling sad, mad, frustrated, infuriated or just a little bit sorry for myself at times just like it doesn’t stop bad things from happening in my life. If someone I love gets hurt, I get upset. If I lose something through no fault but my own, I’m angry. I can feel rejected. I will still get negative thoughts even on the most perfect of days. I can feel a particular shade of shit. But I will always, always come back to what I am grateful for once I’ve processed everything that I’m feeling. 

That is what ‘Happy People’ do again and again and again. 

x KB 

Sunday, 25 January 2015

How to manage the post-holiday blues- looking after your body and wellbeing

Doing my best to be the productive blogger-turned traveller, I’m writing this from an over air-conditioned lounge in Kuala Lumpar on the now fourth hour of my wait for my connecting flight to London. It’s my return journey, and I’m being faced with the same thing I and every other holidayer has as their journey comes to an life now absolutely sucks.

Dramatic? Maybe. But I can’t recall a time where I, or anyone I know, has returned from a break from work, college or school without feeling a dash of resentment. 

The truth is, post holiday blues will and do happen. I remember a classic burst into tears mega-jetlag moment when I came back from Oz a few years ago when having my first shower off the plane and I realised that my drab British bathroom had no windows whereas my Australian bathroom looked out onto never ending beautiful bushland. I resigned myself to misery and looked at everything around me with a particular dark shade of ‘I hate everything here’. Being me, and being around me, was not fun. 

What I recognize now is that it’s entirely up to me to how long I let my post holiday grump drag my mood down; I’m the one in control. Accepting that we may feel disheartened after a break is realistic, you can’t just put the mask on an solider through it. It’s important to feel it, but there are steps you can take to make your transition to RL that much more bearable. So here is how I’m planning on avoiding getting stuck in the mindset that anywhere but here is better...


You need not only to catch up on the sleep you lost in travel, but also the possible emotional smack you had if you left relatives behind or, my personal fav, going from summer to winter in a matter of 24hrs. Be kind to yourself. Eat the right food, get the right Z’s and give your body and mind time to re-adjust. If you get back into your work routine exhausted, your emotions will be all over the place and that black dog of post holiday resentment will be going into overdrive. 

Dancing on the beach at Byron Bay during a full moon.
Absolute gratitude every time I look at this photo!

Dude, you just had a holiday. A holiday that brought you new adventure, experiences and reasons to remember why our world is pretty darn amazing. Whether you visited Byron Bay or Blackpool, you had the means, the time and the ability to change your life up for a time. So many others aren’t so fortunate. So when you’re grumbling about it being -3 instead of 30 take a moment to reflect on this.


Get your holiday photos out and take time to reminisce. Maybe your experiences brought about a few small changes in your life, or maybe you find that your trip changed you for the better in more ways than first or ever thought. Writing your thoughts down, or the changes you feel, is a great way to hold onto the positive on why you went away in the first place.  

See people. 

I mean particular people. The ones who you will always leave feeling the same thing: that was such a positive, good use of my time- man, I love that person! It’s oh so tempting to hide away at home once you return from a trip dripping about on Facebook and going green at other peoples adventures. Instead, throw out a few texts and get some plans in the diary to fill your time with people that make you feel good. 


Okay so that holiday is over. What’s the next one? It doesn’t hurt to fantasize about your next destination. I’ve been known to inhabit Kayak and Expedia daily after my return just to shift my post holiday grump. If you do book something, it gives you another thing to look forward to or a countdown to watch! If traveling isn’t on your agenda until the pennies turn to pounds, then start planning activities that you know will bring a smile to your face. Maybe invite some unpredictability into your life. Try something you’ve never tried before, cook something you’ve always been meaning to cook catch up with people you’ve been meaning to see for yonks. The point is to find the wonder in your ordinary so that we’re not always relying on our annual holiday to find our moments of gratitude and happiness. 


Make sure homes your home. It might be a bit late for this, but I know that if I come home to a house that’s messy with laundry piled up, carpets that need vacuuming, and a room that looked like it threw up the contents of my suitcase three times I’m not going to feel great. Coming home to a tidy, clean space will be better for your mind and body. Who needs that instant ‘to do’ list building in your mind as you walk through the door? 

Get outside. 

Get grounded by putting your feet to the earth as soon as possible. This will expose your body to the natural magnetic frequencies that are released by the earth and basically combat all the positive electrons in your body. Sound too wacky? Have a read of this. I read a lot of positive accounts of frequent flyers indulging in some outdoor bare foot yoga once they arrive at their final destination. Even if I decide I don’t want bare toes on some cold, crunchy grass I will make an effort to get outside as soon as possible. This way I can remind myself of how beautiful the UK actually is (Something I can forget when I’m back from Oz) but also let every cell in my body understand where I am.

x KB

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