As we step into another quarter for 2019, it seems like a good time to pause and take stock of how the year has been. Ok, let me rephrase – it seems like a good time to take stock of how we’ve fared so far. Passive voice not only brings in an element of ambiguity but also conveniently absolves us from any responsibility. Now you know why all style guides insist on using active voice.

But I digress.

When people talk about goals, they usually talk about developing habits related to sharpening the mind. I’ve wondered why there isn’t enough emphasis on developing habits to make ourselves happy.

A few years into my 20s, I learned from some amazing women around me that it is absolutely fine to put yourself above everyone else without feeling guilty. It makes so much sense. If I don’t spend the time to make myself happy, how can I expect the world to! I realized the importance of taking care of myself and investing in my happiness and I’ve been focusing on doing things that would make me happy.

Here are a few habits I’ve been working on:

Well, I live to eat!

I’m a big-time foodie. I can talk about food for hours. I’m on the constant lookout for new recipes and dishes to eat/cook. I make a list of dishes to try and restaurants to try (sorted by suburbs, and cuisine). I daydream about eating. You get the drift. Everything about food makes me happy. I decided to get into the habit of cooking a new dish every Saturday. I do my share of cooking chores at home but those are things I *have* to do. I prep my meals during the weekend, so I don’t spend more than an hour to cook during the weekday. This leaves me with hardly any room to experiment. So, I thought this habit would give me a chance to spend time doing two activities I love the most – cooking and eating. It feels magical to whip up something from bare ingredients. The experience is rewarding. What more could I ask for!

But first, Skincare.

I had a decent skincare routine even before I joined the K-Beauty bandwagon, but I wasn’t as disciplined as how I am now. I think I’m obsessed with my skincare. Every night, my husband would ask in awe how I remembered which products to use and the order in which I should use them. This is something I do purely for myself and it makes me happy. I read extensively about the ingredients, products, the reviews, routines and watch out for sale, see which products work and what not. It is immensely satisfying to do all the hard work for my benefit. This 5-minute night-time ritual is a good way to end my day. It’s my way of saying, ‘You’ve had a long day, pamper yourself for a while before you sleep.’ I’ve been following this routine for almost 14 months now.

Write away!

Of course, writing had to secure a spot. You see, I’ve been writing in my blog for 12 years now and I have a career in tech writing and content writing. For quite some time, I felt that the excitement with which I used to write was has been replaced with deadline-based anxiety. I used to feel exhausted to even think about writing outside of work. But deep down, I wanted to write more. So, I started a journal. I wrote about my day, how I felt and then used this space to vent my thoughts. This was a private journal so the freedom of not publishing meant I could pour my heart out and write about anything. I never really ran out of ideas. There was always something to write about. It served two purposes – I got to write more and it cleared up my mind. Win-win. I spend a few minutes writing after lunch every day. I still write on my blog and continue to write for my work, but the journal is my happy. I’ve been following this for 15 months now (though I must add, I have missed a few days) and I’ve never been better.

All these activities hardly take a few minutes of our time. I do a lot more activities on and off to boost my mood. Trust me, there are many simple tasks like these which can make us happy. I’ve learned to do more of what makes me happy, along with doing things I absolutely have to do (irrespective of whether they spark joy!). I also understand that we need to be at peace with ourselves before working towards improving some aspect of our lives.

As much as we tend to the mind, it is high time we tend to our soul as well and enjoy the satisfaction of taking care of ourselves. Because, if you try to make your mind happy, you will be happy. But if you try to make your soul happy, you will be ecstatic!

So, what do you do to make yourself happy?

Image Courtesy: Pixabay