10 THINGS / BEING HAPPY ALONE
when i was younger i remember always wanting to be around people. my mom said one of my friends would leave after a sleepover and i would already be asking for the next friend to come over. i guess people have always been my safe space. i always felt bored, depressed or anxious when it was just me alone with my thoughts. i was never good at goodbyes and i hated when the fun came to an end. so imagine my fear when i ended up single and living alone. there were a few days there that the silence was unbearable. i would fill each evening with a social activity so i didn’t have to face it.
and then one day i realized. this IS my reality so i better learn to like it. or even love it.
and i’ve actually seen myself change over the past few months. slowly but surely. here’s a few things that helped…
1. created rituals for myself. i really like rituals or traditions in my life so i thought about ways that could bring me peace while i was feeling worked up or anxious about being alone in my house. my go-to was checking my phone (which really doesn’t help anything) so i made my own little safe space. my coffee table is full of candles, gifts from people i love, and good smelling oils. when i get home, i sit down on the couch and light the candles, maybe burn some sage. it always makes me feel happy to be home.
2. learn from my friends. the other day i stopped by a friend’s house because i knew she had a rough morning and i wanted to give her a hug. she had tears in her eyes at the door, but behind her there were all of these rainbows dancing on the walls because she hung up a bunch of crystal prisms in the window. she just said to me “hey, i’m trying.” those rainbows made her feel happy. or at least helped. it showed me that we are ALL just doing our best everyday. we are all going through something and need a little pick me up.
3. so what are my pick-me-ups? i was ready to figure that out. i love waking up naturally. no alarm clock freaking out in my ear in the morning. so recently i have given myself that luxury (when i can.) i usually wake up on my own at a fairly decent hour anyways, so i threw away the set the alarm for 7am and start working right away mentality. it wasn’t helping me. now i wake up around 8 or 9, my cat is always next to me in the same spot, and i feel a more relaxed energy put on my day.
4. start a series. okay so this is the embarrassing part of this post, but whatever. i was searching through netflix for something to watch one night and figured, what the hell i am going to see what this “gossip girl” show is all about. and if i like it, there’s 6 seasons to get addicted to! i did get into it, but i wouldn’t go around recommending this cheesy show to everyone i pass on the street. it’s really not very good. ha. but it’s mindless and sometimes i make myself a fancy margarita with agave, grapefruit and salt, sit down on the couch with my candles and watch a few episodes before i go to bed. because WHY NOT? (totally open to other netflix series with better material by the way. also i have a crush on dan.)
5. music for when my mind is going haywire. sometimes i totally feel the pressure of being a freelancer. keeping up with all of my responsibilities. conference calls, emails, meetings, planning, producing, showing up, being “on”, executing ideas, coming up with new ideas, being a good boss, being a good blogger. it can be a lot swirling around in my head and sometimes i just need something to calm me down. and since it’s not appropriate to drink wine all day, i downloaded this spa music on spotify (i guess i’m just gonna tell you all the cheesy things about me in one post) when my brain needs a break i try to just take some deep breaths and listen to it. it helps.
6. cook something new. the other night i made pasta carbonara with pancetta and peas. just for me. and i probably ate 4 servings. i like listening to ray charles and cooking something new. i want to try to do this more often. once i learn portion control.
7. take care of something. having my two cats bring me a lot of happiness. they are both so different but loving in their own ways. i think it can heal you to take care of something or someone else. even if it’s a house plant. which reminds me, i should go water mine.
8. keeping it clean. i am really not a very neat person. there is usually clothes on my floor in the bathroom and dishes in the sink. and i will definitely admit that having a house keeper every two weeks keeps me sane and is one of my splurges. but lately i have found that i enjoy keeping it clean in between visits too. zone out and wash the dishes. spend 5 minutes and pick up the clothes in my room and then go to work so i don’t come home to a messy environment. it’s just me here, i can’t make that much of a mess. and noticing that clean = happy and sticking to it.
9. remove the unhealthy habits. now that i have a lot of time to sit and think, i try to at least be productive with my thoughts. i think after a break up you can sit and torture yourself with thoughts and questions and wondering. luckily that phase seems to be almost gone completely. now i try to find something to look forward to, my trip, or planning a dinner party or photo shoot. i sometimes think about how breakups must have been so easy in the past, before the internet. you break up and maybe run into each other in person? now you have to see photos and wonder what life is like for that person. your mind can take you to a place of false reality and totally mess you up after seeing ONE photo or comment. it sucks, right? and it’s hard to stay away from. so one day i got smart and decided i was going to do my very best to cut out things that caused me pain on the internet. at least the things i could control. unfollow, block etc. maybe not for always, but it was the best decision for me then. at least if you make it harder for yourself to look, you can take a second and think about what you are about to do. how you are going to feel…
10. and lastly. learn to love me. this one is probably a much bigger journey. but i have started it. each night before i go to sleep i try to think of a reason to be proud of myself. considering my anxiety issues, sometimes even checking the mail can seem like a victory. so maybe that day i will tell myself “good job for checking the mail, i know that was hard.” or “that photo shoot came out just how you wanted to, nice one.” big or small. it doesn’t matter. like i said, we ALL have our struggles and quirks. but we all also have things to be proud of ourselves about. so start patting yourself on the back.
thanks for listening. that was a lot, huh? i know i am not the only one with good ideas for this type of situation. and i would love to hear your little ways of finding happiness alone…do tell? -bri