You Could Be Happier

Recently I’ve tried to take steps to be happier in my everyday life rather than just looking forward to something. I want to wake up and look forward to each day with a new perspective. Losing my friend to suicide has somehow challenged me in my own life to live, and not just for him, but for myself and for those around me.
I’ve been researching what it takes to be happier and I’ve never really done this before because I’m used to being up and down in my emotions. I would have bad days emotionally all the time, but before losing my friend I would look at the end of my day and measure it by, “Is everyone I know still alive? Yes, today was a good day.” However, throughout my day I would just go into zombie mode, not really living, I was pretty much just existing.
I’ve taken a few steps each day to try and make it a little different in hopes to be a happier version of me. I’ve listed them here in no particular order. 🙂
1. Limit yourself.
One of the things I did was set a time limit with the new iOS 12 update that was just released. I don’t allow myself to go over an hour of social media per day and honestly, that still seems like a lot of time, but I try to only use it to respond to people. Okay, I did extend it a few times this week, maybe three times. I really had to see what people were posting about the new episode of American Horror Story on Wednesday!
2. Take 15 minutes a day to do something you love.
I love to write. Am I good at writing? I don’t think so, but it’s something that I have loved to do ever since I was a kid. Even in college, I hand-wrote a chapter to some cheese ball vampire book that I wanted to write. (This was around the twilight time okay? Don’t judge me, but I completely understand if you do!)
3. Be grateful.
I can imagine that this would sound silly for someone struggling with depression and it is hard, trust me I know it is. I am a constant complainer and I’m always looking for reasons to be unhappy, however, I’m not 100% sure that I’ve struggled with clinical depression so I can’t speak for everyone. I do know that this is something I have struggled with my whole life and I recently downloaded an app called Five-Minute Journal. At the beginning of the day you’ll get a notification and for the start of your day it has you list three things you are grateful for. This has been difficult, but I know it’s working because each day isn’t something I dread like I used to. I’ve also realized, I have tons to be grateful for. It has you log the end of your day too and ask you to list three amazing things that happened that day. I’ve actually put in, “I’m still alive” as one of the amazing things. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. I’m still here and I believe there is a purpose for me.
4. Check on a friend.
I have gotten caught up in my own life and have failed to see what was going on around me. “Me, me, me!” all the time isn’t the best life to live, especially if you struggled with depression, at least I think so. This helps get your eyes off yourself. Reaching out to my friends has helped me a lot lately and I want to make sure they are okay. I will ask if they need anything or just need company. I want to be there for people more and being off social media has helped me a lot in this area.
5. Pray.
Now if you don’t believe in a higher power then maybe you can meditate or take time to jot down your thoughts for that day. I’ll go on walks and say my prayers instead of taking a smoke break as others do at my job (plus, I don’t smoke). I will recall what my kids from church asked for prayers for and I’ll say them as I walk, and pray for my friends and family too. This gives me peace.
6. Surround yourself.
Reading that alone might not make any sense at all, but what I mean is – what do you desire? What do you want to do? Do you want to lose weight, become a writer, singer? Surround yourself with people that have done those things. Listen to people who have done those things! Read more about people who have achieved those things! Everything can seem impossible to us especially when it’s something we strongly desire but don’t know how to get to it. How is it that there are people who have actually done the things we think are impossible? Because it is.
7. Let it out.
I haven’t practiced this one fully yet, but I have a reminder set for it and I’ve read this from multiple people. Set a time to let it all out. Give yourself five minutes to be completely and utterly miserable, really pour your energy into it. I’ve been reading “Girl, wash your face” by Rachel Hollis and if you haven’t read it and want to then skip this part. Rachel shares how she lost her brother to suicide and her therapist suggested that she give herself five minutes a day to recall the events and then be done with it for the day. Rachel was constantly having nightmares after discovering her brother and said this method help her tremendously. I didn’t discover my friend’s body, and I’m thankful for that, but I did have the week repeating on a loop in my mind. Writing has helped it go away, but I look forward to trying this method to help me heal.
If you have taken the time to read this, I thank you and hope it helps you in some way! Have a great weekend! 🙂
Advertisements

Home In Your Heart

I’ve stumbled across a band, Elephant Revival while listening to St. Cinder on Spotify. Typically when Spotify decides to add on songs that sound similar, they don’t always work out, but this time they had my attention. The lyrics in Home In Your Heart by Elephant Revival felt comforting. Just working a typical 9-5 and I have Spotify to trick myself into believing I’m not actually working, not that I dread coming to work, but life has its way of being monotonous.

The lyrics were beautiful, and the first line is something I think everyone can relate to at some point in their lives:

Falling down, Spin me ’round. No one said this would be easy now, But you’ve gotta keep moving somehow.

I’m at that age in life, friends with kids, friends engaged, and then there’s me; single, graduated, not fully in a career. I don’t hate that I’m not with kids or a significant other, but it definitely feels like a confusing time, especially when I see others my age with a full on career and family. Back to the music. Elephant Revival gives off a folky vibe, but not necessarily a Mumford & Sons type, more like you’re chilling at a local bar and they come on and you wonder to yourself why you hadn’t heard them before. Doing some quick research on the band and come to find they are on a hiatus to re-focus on their family, themselves, and what they believe in. You can really hear it in their music, their passion for their loved ones, and for what they do. On their site, they have their intro titled – “WHERE WORDS FAIL…MUSIC SPEAKS”- when it comes to music and why I often find myself searching for new bands, it’s in hope of finding something I can relate to. There have been times in my life that I don’t have the right words to say, but then I find music, I can’t explain it, but can hear it and it’s perfect. I hope they take all the time they need and until they come back, I’ll be listening to their beautiful banjo music.

Link for more info on Elephant Revival: http://www.elephantrevival.com

 

elephant-revival-tickets_05-21-17_2_584211ac9723d

Didn’t I know you?

Every now and then I get curious to peek into the lives of people that I used to know, people that I use to see on a daily basis. It’s crazy because at one point in time we all knew one another, we worked together, we checked in on each other.

 

Facebook provides a quick insight to what they’re up to now and it’s always a good thing when you see they are doing something they talked about. Following the career path they wanted, married, happy.

 

It’s disheartening when you find out that they are gone and all you have left of them is the memory of when they were younger. Flipping burgers, complaining about customers, and promising to one another one day we would grow up and make something of ourselves.

 

I’ve seen people do that and I think it’s beautiful.

 

Regardless of differences we all had when we were younger, the whole ‘he said, she said’, or ‘so and so needs to be a better worker’, it’s nice seeing how they turned out.

Life moves so quickly and you plan to stay in touch, but life happens, as it always does and will.

 

I hope every now and then my name pops up in their mind and they check on me too.

Fighting

The holidays have felt like a weird time for me this year.

Just doing simple things I think of Stephen. Driving to work, brushing my teeth, listening to music…listening to music is the most intense one. Music has the crazy power to give you the ability to travel back in time. Sometimes when I’m driving and listening to music I’m amazed I make it to where I’m going. Other times at work I sort of get in a daze.

I miss him.

I really wish that I could tell him.

I really wish that I could have one more day.

I wake up some days worried that he didn’t know that I cared about him so much.

I fall asleep many nights wondering what I could have done to not fail him.

None of these things can change the now though, the reality.

I don’t want to live in regret.

I just want to be happy.

 

 

For you, Stephen, I will fight to be happy.

 

Glimpse

 

I’m realizing that people don’t really want to be part of your everyday life, they just want a glimpse.

A glimpse into your life, but once they’re busy, then that’s it. They’re busy.

No signals are picked up by them on how you’re feeling, they don’t really want to know how things are going. “How are you?” Just another question to ask while they stare at their screens looking into the lives of those unknown. It’s interesting, but I’m wondering if I should be like them, unbothered by those around me and engulfed in my own life.

That sounds very lonely.

Lately

Writing can be hard when you don’t want to share how you feel.

That’s what I’ve been feeling lately…I have plenty of drafts, but don’t feel like hitting the publish button. It feels good keeping to myself, or at least that’s what I’m believing. I am hoping it goes away soon because it feels nice to let go.

That’s something writing has been able to do for me, it’s helping me let go. I wonder if the things I’m struggling with are just things I’m not ready to let go of yet. Misery can feel comfortable, I’m trying to fight it.

Dreams

backlit blur close up dawn
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“Get over it already.”

That’s what my mom said to me a few days ago after I woke from a dream about my friend Stephen

. I shared Stephen in previous post, seven weeks ago he took his life after knowing him for ten years. In the dream he was alive, which I hear is something not a lot of people experience once a loved one has passed. He seemed stressed and sad, I imagine this is what he looked like the last few months, but I wouldn’t know because I didn’t go see him. He was telling me he had to find a job to make his parents happy, he always wanted to make them happy. His parents are hard-workers, but they told me they are slowing down some. Stephen’s dad has always worked 60+ hours and he would tell me he wanted to be just like him. In my dream I knew he was going to take his life and was trying to prevent that.

Stephen was saying he had to move to Houston for the job and I told him I would go with him and it made him happy. I remember saying my resume sucked and he that wasn’t true and it’s one of the best. Funny because I’m currently looking for a new job and it’s been a struggle.

By the end of the dream I knew he hadn’t taken his life.

It skipped time somehow, because it’s a dream and it can do that, and I saw a lady reading an obituary, she said her husband took his life. I looked down at the obituary and it was Stephen’s face. It was the strangest thing, but when I woke up I realized that there was nothing I could have done. As I was telling my mom about it, I just started to cry. I didn’t mean to and it definitely doesn’t hurt like it first did, but it does hurt. I’ve been keeping myself busy, but it’s all just a big healing process isn’t it?

My mom has experienced a lot of loss in her life and I don’t hold her reaction against her one bit. I just hope she can change it somehow. I run head first into pain that comes my way and I know most people don’t like to do that. It’s easier to build up a wall and not let anything phase you, I’ve been there, and I’ve done that at times. I just know that it doesn’t work. If I don’t allow myself to experience the whirlwind of emotions I have from this loss in my life, I’ll retreat from life, and not the good kind either.

Time Does Not Have Me

“I have time, time does not have me.” – Stephen Aerts

My friend said this quote above, I think that’s awesome. I googled it to see if anything would come up, thinking maybe he got it from somewhere else. Nothing. Lately, I’ve been trying to create more time for myself. It’s easy to get sucked into meaningless things of this world, from my first thoughts in the morning, until I lay my head down at night. What was the first thing I did this morning? Social Media. What did it do? Made me mad. Simple as that. There goes about 30 minutes of my life that was wasted being mad at someone I have never even met in person. It’s pretty crazy. I have to really keep myself on a tight leash when it comes to how I manage my time. If I’m not careful I’ll let myself waste away doing things that don’t really matter. Does this blog post matter? Nah, not to everyone, but it does to me. I love to write and it’s an important part in keeping me sane. I wonder if other writers can relate?

I notice I click on my phone quite a bit, just to see it lights up still I guess. Hoping I have a text from someone that I’ve messaged numerous times, and yet still nothing. I was listening to a podcast today called The Beautiful Writer’s Group and they had Tom Hanks on. I didn’t even know that he wrote a book, but he got my attention. He said he opens the Washington Post app on his phone constantly, but he doesn’t even read a single article. It’s like we do this thing out of habit. It’s really disturbing in a way to think we put so much into these devices. I can’t even count how many times this tiny device has caused me a whirlwind of emotions without me having to hear someone say anything or actually talk to someone. I don’t want to keep giving this my energy, not when I could be doing something better with my time, for myself. It’s sad to think that I haven’t really challenged myself much. I hope it’s not too late to start.