My Happy Habits

It's been a few months since the beginning of stay-at-home orders and Chicago is extended until the beginning of June, but there is still not much promise for what's to come this summer. To the amount of areas already opening up, I can feel that people are beginning to become more complacent with the order, but might not realize the severity of returning to our "normal habits" quite yet. However, I think a lot of people are still doing things to cope with the uncertainty and are trying to distract themselves with things they necessarily didn't have time for. We've started gardening, trying new bread recipes, or playing Animal Crossing from dawn to dusk and I have realized that we've lost a fundamental piece of what life should be about—happiness. 

Over the past couple of months, I've really come to terms with what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. Maybe it's because I'm a bit existential, although I'm sure a lot more people are feeling the same way. I've been reflecting on the reasons I chose the path I chose: emotionally, in school, in my social life, or for my career goals. It seems as if everything has paused, but at the same time, going at lightening speed. To avoid feeling this weight of overwhelm and a bit of confusion, I've been monitoring my happy habits and all of the things that make me feel good. I think the one thing that we can do is take everyday with upmost positivity, even if it seems so hard to roll out of bed each morning. 
Give Yourself Time...
There are high hopes that everything might even itself out and we might eventually go back to "normal," but with the time being, there's nothing promised, every day seems like the same, and I understand that the whole wake up, eat breakfast, get to work, exercise, and do it all over again is not the normal for everybody. 

Setting an alarm has been my saving grace, even if it's one to three alarms that I need to actually get me going. Find a way to make yourself get out of bed because you and I both know that we would sleep in every day if we could. I have fallen in the routine of waking up, checking my phone, scrolling through unimportant articles and emails, and being later than I expected with no time to get the day started. So, whether that be making a cup of coffee, making your bed, or brushing your teeth, get up and get your day started! You will feel more motivated to get things done.

Do One Thing for Yourself Everyday...
My focus lately has been set mainly on electronics: getting work done, answering emails, making to-do lists, watching lectures, or hosting Zoom calls. I live a pretty busy, but mundane life throughout the week and I'm always trying to tackle assignments and to-do lists ahead of time, but that leaves me drained and unmotivated to keep going. Sometimes uninspired, I find that retreating to a playlist, my Reese Witherspoon Hello Sunshine book, a little puppy play time, or doing my nails allows me to reset and recharge. When I feel the most overwhelmed, I find that escaping for a bit does the trick. 

Stay on Top of Things...
I am all about getting on top of my work ahead of time as a little "thank you to my future self". I know that working one thing at a time is usually the best way to put full focus into things. If I can set myself up for success and not create a pile of things to get done during the week, I'll focus on big assignments over the weekend and feel better set knowing that I got a start on it ahead of time. Forward planning has been one of my most well-known traits because I like structure and planning out manageable tasks.
Get Some Fresh Air...
Working from home can feel stifling, a bit claustrophobic, and one thing is for sure, I always keep my windows open. Air filtration is key and even better being outside and staying active has helped me balance daily tasks. Daily dog walking, reading outside, or backyard tanning has given me a sufficient amount of vitamin D, but sometimes I wish we lived near nature preserves and more scenic areas. Finding a time to get a breath of fresh air and some sunlight make me feel less like a hermit crab.

Mind Your Thoughts...
Sometimes I wake up with a really bad mood. I mean we all have moods, and lately I've been kicking myself for feeling bad mentally because there are so many other things I could be putting my energy towards than negative thought bubbles. Even if I just manipulate my thoughts in a way that makes things more positive, for example, telling myself I got enough sleep, or saying one thing I love about myself, or simply shutting off my phone puts it in perspective. Making daily tasks more like fun opportunities or looking forward to that night's online yoga session has changed the way I think for the better. 

Stay in Touch...
I've read this before, but this time is crucial for checking in with loved ones and those you have not talked to in awhile. There's no excuse not to meet for coffee or go on that brunch you previously planned. My best friends and I have made time to chat and catch up, which has been the most refreshing and socially exciting. Even rekindling friendships with motivational messages goes a long way and it makes my heart warm to know that I have someone else to confide in. Even if it means finding a mentor or meeting up with someone from an online class over Zoom, having some human interaction other than your family can keep you from feeling isolated. 

I came to realize that all of these habits have just become daily parts of my routine now and I think they are all pretty manageable. Finding one happy habit a day and sticking to it will help you with your daily goals and relieve some of the stress that come with them. What are some things you like to stay on top of? 

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