Today is international day of happiness. Can I get a whooop? I think it is important to remember that the state of being happy is not permanent and that is life. Yes, I work hard at my mind but sometimes life gets a bit heavy and that is normal. Taking time to accept sad and frustrating times is healthy.
As for day to day living though, I am very grateful that I do feel happy for the majority of the time. Happiness is a very personal journey for us all. Here are a few of my happy ingredients.
Have you ever had a shot of limoncello after a big Italian meal? Perhaps you felt full and tired and the refreshing limoncello gave you a boost. When life gets a bit heavy I like to take a bit time out to heal. Then I come back refreshed, with a cold batch of limoncello. I use the experiences in life that drain me to learn something new and, in some way, help others. Now for me that is putting myself out there and sharing a whole lot of honest content with my own little twist on it. For you, it might mean getting lost in music or art. It might mean knitting blankets for the sick kids, quietly without putting your feelings out there on social media. Find the kind of limoncello that lightens up those around you. Give back.
I work hard these days to get the balance with food. This is the year – good old 2018 that I have made the greatest effort to have home cooked, non-processed food where possible (if you have followed my batch cooking posts with The Batch Lady you will see there are so many hints and tips to make this easier). I also get daily tips from people like Alexa from The Fresh Life. She runs a fantastic group on Facebook and her recipes are so healthy and tasty. I blogged some of them last month if you would like a taster then check them out here.
I received an amazing hamper this month, if you follow my insta stories you may have seen me open it up with my Mum (we love you Gran Violet) and two very excited kids.
The Scottish government have set up a fantastic campaign called Eat Better Feel better. As a Mum of 2 young kids, this has been a fantastic way of getting Bonnie and Charlie excited about fruit and vegetables. The campaign even has characters and yes we rock out in the t shirts. Just call me Rita the rice cake.
Charlie is loving being a frozen yogi.
The banana cases are fab and also work as a new mic for me to sing to you with as I prep the evening meal or batch cook over the weekend. Yip – my Mother in Law told me at the start of January there is no way I would stick with batch cooking. We are still going strong baby with no intention of stopping.
There are some great recipes on the Eat better feel better website and also a fantastic quiz. I got one question wrong though – note to switch the kid’s strawberry yogurt pots for Greek with some fresh fruit. I’ll take 9/10 though and one of those is all about the power of batch cooking for the family mid-week. Take the quiz here and let me know how you get on.
The eat better, feel better website also offers some fantastic tips for dealing with fussy eaters and there are some super recipes. For me, I feel so much happier when I am in control of my week. If I cut up carrots or even grab a bag of chopped carrots, our family are more likely to snack better. If I remember to pick up rice cakes or oatcakes to have with hummus or peanut butter (sprinkled with a little cinnamon makes the kids and I happy – Daddy not so much) then I feel happier. Stuffing crisps and biscuits down my face makes me feel frustrated and I don’t like the sugar spikes, it’s about finding the right balance though. Of course, there is always a time and a place for a dark chocolate hobnob or a sticky toffee pudding with extra sauce. There is nothing worse than a dry sponge.
I love the healthy, tasty swap section on the Eat better, Feel better website. Again, for me it is about being prepared when I go shopping. I try not to go round the supermarket in a frazzled, hungry state. I try and write a list with healthy substitutes like baked potatoes or sweet potatoes instead of frozen oven chips. Or Greek yogurt and a bag of frozen raspberries instead of flavoured yogurts with added sugar. Or popcorn instead of crisps – just not the toffee kind. Save that for the weekend!
Of course, there are a whole bunch of other things that make me happy. Like taking time to keep active, practising mindfulness – especially when I am very busy. Or remembering to stay authentically me, even when I am tempted to blend in to please other people. Also my top tip would be to live more and judge less. Try it for a month – it’s hard at first but is so liberating.
As I said this morning across social media –
I used to be ashamed of being the happy, positive, smiley one. Some called me too intense or annoyingly positive. Some found my happiness just weird – what could I be after ? So I toned it down. I used to moan and nag to blend in. But it wasn’t me. I’m not larger than life but I’m as large as life because life is indeed very large if we want it to be. I’m also fragile, I battle with anxiety and I have my own issues. But the difference now is I have learnt to shut all those voices up. And soon I’ll share those voices with you in my first book. You are doing a great job, remember that.
Sometimes there are small daily steps we can take to get us closer to happiness. Like eating the right fuel,taking a detox from the phone, moving our bodies and practising mindfulness and self care. Just don’t blend in to please others. Don’t make assumptions about people. Be you and never take your mental health or a smile for granted.
Happy international day of happiness. Now, i’m off to play some tunes and enjoy some tasty food, that always makes me happy. Go and do what makes you smile and your eyes sparkle. Mojo x