How To Be Happier

How To Be Happier

Over the past few months, I have made taking care of myself and my mental health a priority. In my first year of University, I was doing a lot of things that contributed to me feeling unhappy and unmotivated all the time. I was not sleeping well, my diet consisted of a lot of fast foods, I was not working out or drinking enough water. Once I got back home, I realised just how much my mindset had changed. I was sad and snappy, things that I loved doing did not make me happy anymore.

Here are some of the things I have started doing to make a positive difference for my mental health :

1. Working Out

I’ve always been someone who’s played a lot of sports and who’s been relatively active throughout my teenage years. When I started college, I didn’t dedicate a lot of time to fitness and working out and surely enough, I lost touch with my athletic self. I’m slowly starting to incorporate fitness into my daily life and have started seeing a big positive change in my mental and physical health.

2. Gratitude

Writing down at least three things that I am grateful for every morning has made a huge difference in my life. I always take out 5 minutes out of my day to write about the things and people that I am grateful for and also list down what I can do to make my day better. I highly recommend buying The 5 Minute Journal that I use every single day and night to write down daily affirmations and gratitude lists.

3. Going to Bookstores

If there’s one thing I learnt this year, it’s that I will never order books online again. Why should I if I could simply go to a bookstore and spend an entire afternoon being surrounded by a room full of some of my favourite paperbacks? Just the idea of walking to a nearby bookstore on a cloudy day and being able to spend hours browsing through volumes gives me am insurmountable amount of pleasure. It’s one of my favourite things to do.

4. Spending More Time In Nature

Going out for walks and hikes and getting some fresh air will make you feel so much better and clear headed. Whenever I’m feeling anxious or stressed out, I always make sure to go outside and walk a little and I always end up feeling a little bit better after.

A Healthy Relationship With Food

A Healthy Relationship With Food

I have never known what it’s like to eat like a ‘normal’ person. I have days where I go out to eat with my friends and family and I wonder how they’re so relaxed and unbothered when it comes to ordering an item off the menu. I have spent hours thinking about what I will eat for my next meal(s) and have spent an exceedingly large amount of energy thinking about which diet I should follow next so that I can be skinny and finally be ‘happy’.

My journey to lose weight was in the ninth grade where I created a weight loss plan for myself. I followed a strict diet and exercise schedule religiously and surely enough the weight came off. However, it was only a few months before I started to become obsessed with weight loss and exercise. I denied myself the pleasure of eating my favourite foods, I’d skip dessert outings with my best friends, and I tried my best to avoid dinner parties because I wanted to skip a meal. From the outside, I was getting thinner and thinner by the day, but mentally I was falling apart.

Anorexia is a serious disease that affects so many girls around my age. We starve ourselves, weigh ourselves 5 times a day, spend ridiculous amounts of hours in the gym, and barely eat anything. It’s a serious mental disorder that causes so much pain to not only ourselves but also to our family and friends. I know that I missed out on three years of my life that I could have spent making memories and doing the things that I loved, but instead I wasted it by counting how many calories I’d eaten that day and hating myself because I should’ve spent more time exercising.

BED is something that I still struggle with and I have just recently started recovery from this disorder. I say ‘recently’ because all my previous attempts at recovery were unhelpful since I believed that recovery meant starting a new diet and losing weight. There has been a lot that I have learnt in the previous year about forming a healthy relationship with food and I believe that I am finally understanding the reason why diets don’t work.

In the end, it’s not about the way I look in the mirror and it’s not about whether I fit into a size 0 dress. My appearance and weight will continue to change and that is something I need to accept. What matters is that I am healthy and strong, what matters is that I listen to my body and it’s cues, what matters is that I take care of myself and learnt to love and accept myself for who I am. Any kind of change that I want to make for my body should come from a place of love and care, instead of a place of hate and shame.

Glowing Up During Quarantine

Glowing Up During Quarantine

Glowing up is the act of working on your physical and mental self to show up as an improved and happier person. You essentially dedicate a number of days, weeks, months, or even years to solely focus on yourself and your needs. Whether it be reading more, meditating, working out, eating healthy – glowing up is when you take good care of yourself and prioritize your needs and wants.

Since we’re in lockdown now and have so much free time in our hands, it makes sense that we dedicate our time and energy on doing things that we’ve been wanting to do for the longest time. It’s the best time to focus on taking care of ourselves and work on our physical, mental, and emotional needs.

Working Out

One of the most important things you could do to improve not only your physical but also your mental health is moving your body every day. You’ll feel better about your body, be less stressed, and feel more accomplished at the end of the day. Instead of focusing on the physical benefits of working out, I try to focus on the mental satisfaction that I get at the end of a good workout.

Drinking Water

It’s good for your skin, your organs, your brain, and it also helps improve your mood.

Sleeping Enough

Getting a good night’s sleep is necessary so that you don’t wake up tired and groggy the next day. Sleeping for at least 7-8 hours helps improve concentration and productivity and also helps prevent depression.1

Meditating

It’s important to take care of your mind during this uncertain time. Meditating everyday even for just 5 minutes makes a lot of difference and over time you’ll be able to notice how mentally strong you’ve become.

Reading Books

Reading books is one of the best habits a person can have. It helps stimulate the brain, reduce stress, and also helps improve your memory. Not to mention also the fact that you’re learning new words and new ways of thinking and also gaining more knowledge about the way our world works.

Self Care

Using face masks, hair treatments, and taking supplements is going to make such a big difference in your appearance. When I was in college last year, I had a phase where I wasn’t really taking care of myself. I’d forget to do my daily skin care, take my supplements, and I was just generally not putting in much effort to take care of myself. As a result, my appearance worsened and I was looking dull and tired all the time.

When I got back home I realised just how poorly I was treating myself and decided to never make the same mistake again.

In the end, we should think about how lucky we are to be able to use this time to grow, improve, and better ourselves. It’s all about being kind to our bodies and minds and doing something to live a happy, more fulfilling life everyday.

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25133759/

Social Media Detox

Social Media Detox

In the past, I’ve taken several breaks from social media- during SAT prep and finals, but also during my holidays when I simply want to focus on myself and take time off the internet. In my sophomore year of high school, I took a break from social media for at least 6 months and then in my junior year I took another very long break.

I’ve tried taking month long breaks from instagram and snapchat, however, I’m not as busy as I used to be in high school now. I used to play competitive golf, go to a lot of tutoring classes, swim, and had tons of schoolwork to complete at all times.

Recently, whenever I’ve tried to take breaks from social media they haven’t been very long. They last about a week until I usually end up installing the apps. However, I still try my best to make sure I’m taking time off these platforms because even though social media helps us connect with people from all around the world, there are still many many negative aspects about this form of media. I’ve had days where I’ve spiralled into a daze of self-comparison and spent countless hours scrolling through the Explore page.

source : Pinterest.com

There are times when I feel alone after checking social media and there are times when I feel really horrible about how much time I’ve wasted on Instagram. There’s nothing wrong with spending a few minutes on these platforms everyday, but when you begin to get consumed by the virtual world – you definitely need to take a step back and connect with the real world by actually being present and spending time with the people around you.

Lately, I have been trying to cut down on my daily social media usage, instead of completely going off the platforms. This is mainly because I’ve been using instagram to promote my blog and also because we are in quarantine and social media is one of the biggest ways I’m staying in touch with my friends and family.

Here are a few things I have been doing to reduce the amount of time I spend on social media:

1. Allocate specific times of the day for checking social media:

Instead of constantly picking up the phone when I get a text, I stick to checking all of my social media platforms and texts at one time – this way I’m not constantly checking my phone at all hours of the day. This also helps me create some form of routine and helps me keep my mind off the phone.

2. Unfollow a bunch of people:

When you are following less people, there are less pictures to scroll through and this means you’re not going to be wasting your time looking at posts that are really not helping you in any way or form. I know a bunch of people who have done a purge where they unfollow a good amount of people and let me tell you, this has done wonders for not only their time-management, but also their mental health.

3. Keep yourself busy:

Personally, I’ve been doing a bunch of things to keep my mind off the phone. This includes baking, reading, watching movies and Netflix shows, talking to friends on the phone, and making art. I recently installed Procreate on my iPad and I’ve been having loads of fun experimenting with everything that they offer on the app.

Fever And Nostalgia

I don’t have the coronavirus, but I have a fever – great! I was so scared about the whole deal, so I read up all the symptoms and I was thankful to find out that I don’t fit into the category. Anyway, yesterday I was thinking about how being sick makes me overthink about all the other times I was unwell. The last time I was sick, I was in Mumbai and I was exactly as miserable as I am now. I was in bed, watching YouTube videos, talking to my friends, and doing all sorts of things, (drinking hot lemon water, sleeping for 16 hours a day, taking medication), to make myself feel better.

For some very odd reason, I feel weirdly happy about feeling so under the weather. The thing is that, it reminds me of being back home in Mumbai – where I lived 5 minutes away from my best friends, where I was so close to my family, where I grew up and learnt everything about myself and the world. I realised that I feel this way, simply, because I miss Mumbai and I miss my friends and I miss being home. It might be very strange, and trust me, I’m still unsure about uploading this draft on the internet, but this is how I feel and I guess it’s okay to feel this way sometimes (it also just might be my sick brain thinking all sorts of bizarre things).

Recently, I’ve also been reminiscing about my high school days. I used to hate waking up at 6am 5 days a week and I absolutely detested high school drama, but in the end, the last two years of high school were really one of the best and most enjoyable years of my life. I feel so grateful to have such a wonderful support system, friends who’ve always been there for me and always cared for me. I’ve made some of my most favourite memories with these guys and they’re the biggest reason why I miss being back home. I’ve learnt to really cherish my friendships and be appreciative for all the people who care about me. I’ve learnt to be patient and selfless, because I know that my closest friends have done the same for me.

Moving to a new country has been difficult for me. At first, I really enjoyed being in a completely new place, where there’s loads of new places to see and new friends to make – but it still doesn’t feel like home to me…yet. However, I’m so thankful for all the things I learnt since I’ve moved here. I’ve discovered a lot of things about myself and the world, I’ve met all kinds of people, and I’ve travelled a lot.

I remember my first month of college – I was so homesick, so depressed, and just very unhappy, but a few weeks down the line, I met some of my closest friends, made amazing memories, learnt so much, and truly had a lot of fun. I guess in the end it just takes time to adjust and fit into a new place.

How I’m Spending My Time

How I’m Spending My Time

When the lockdown began I was very sure that I would spend my days lounging around the house, being bored at all times of the day, but surprisingly enough I haven’t been nearly as bored as I imagined I would be. I’ve been doing a lot of things to keep myself busy and also use this time as a self-improvement period. Here are some of the things I’ve been doing to stay happy, be busy, and not get bored.

School Work

Yup, that’s right. In the beginning of quarantine the last thing I wanted to do was open my book and do math, but eventually I made a schedule and included schoolwork into my daily routine. Getting work done makes me feel much better about my day and helps keep the stress at bay.

Face masks, bath bombs, and moisturisers

I ordered a bunch of bath bombs and face-masks and you best believe I’ve been making great use of them by pampering myself on the weekends and really doing my best to treat myself with tons of kindness and love. I also cut my hair off really short recently and one of the reasons why I did it is because I wanted to get rid of my damaged hair and, this time, really nourish my hair with oils and supplements to make my hair grow back thicker, stronger, and healthier.

Engaging in my favourite pastimes

I’m so grateful to be able to spend my free time by reading, drawing, cooking, and baking. I’ve also discovered a lot of ‘booktubers’ and bookclubs online and just being part of a community has made me feel great. Luckily, my university has also been organising a ton of Zoom workshops such as the Weekly Bullet Journalling Workshop and it’s great that I’m able to use this time to learn new skills and improve old ones.

Journalling

I’ve never been big on journalling but recently I decided to give the The Five Minute Journal a go. I’ve had all sorts of journals in the past – from bullet journals to The Happiness Planner – but when I found out that Emma Watson uses the The Five Minute Journal I knew I just had to try it out.

Overall, I’ve been making sure I keep in touch with my friends and family by Face-timing them, texting them every so often and also engaging in activities together such as watching movies through Netflix Party. I’ve also been watching a lot of shows on Netflix (I Am Not Okay With This and Ozark are my favourites) and movies (currently rewatching all the Marvel movies).