Aggressive Happiness: The Sequel

Three years ago when I was sinking quickly – what seemed at the time to be irrevocably – into the abyss of post partum depression and anxiety, I got serious about happiness. I read books on happiness. I watched videos on happiness. I got really depressed because I could not force myself to be happy.

If I hadn’t had a small person dependent on me for food and shelter and diaper changes, I don’t know if I’d have been able to pull myself up by my bootstraps (my boots do not actually have straps) and take care of myself.

But I did, and a sweet wee creature was he (today’s memory from three years ago):

I had to stay strong for that little face.

I had to stay strong for that little face.

When looking at pics from this time three years ago, I notice that there is a distinct dearth of Amy pics. Yeah. ANY WAY.

At that time, I also devised a brilliant plan to stay sane. I called it Aggressive Happiness (TM).

I made rules.

Amy’s Aggressive HappinessTM Rules

  1. Be Amy
  2. Relax
  3. OTC = AOK (seriously take an Advil)
  4. A little is better than none
  5. Sleep more
  6. Read daily
  7. Spend less
  8. Kiss the architect & Alvie Bean every day
  9. Lay off the internet already
  10. Move every day
  11. Let yourself off the hook
  12. Only say yes if you really want to
  13. Be comfortable!
  14. Assume positive intent

And – just to finish – things that make me happy for days I need a pick-up.

  1. Trashy paranormal romances
  2. Early morning coffee
  3. A clean house
  4. Lush garden
  5. Feeding people
  6. Watching the Bean giggle
  7. Trail running
  8. Swimming
  9. Camping
  10. Watching the sun rise

Those rules are not bad.

I’ve tried other things – I did a #100happydays instagram project last year and I’m currently well into my 2015 #365happydays project. (I’ve missed less than a handful of days, and looking back it seems that what primarily makes me happy is Bean, coffee, booze, gardens, and writing. I’ll take it.)

I’ve done star charts for self-care. I’ve tried a lot of things that are complicated and require spreadsheets with automatically updating formulas.

This September, I am keeping it simple.

I took off the fitbit.

Seriously.  I put away my elaborate (and automatically updating) fitness spreadsheet. No peeking until October. I’ll still write down my activities, but I won’t obsess over daily step counts and activity and how many flights I’ve climbed.

I put away the scale for the month.

I added a medication reminder to my phone so that I’ll actually take my anti-cray(fish) drugs.

I’m back off the sauce (until New Orleans, when I will empty that fair city of its supply of hurricanes, unless hurricanes are tequila or whiskey based, and then I will drink some other natural disaster).

My only goals are to not have goals and to take care of me.

And maybe get a unicorn.

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What do you do for self-care when everything seems to be moving faster than you can handle?

3 responses to “Aggressive Happiness: The Sequel

  1. Excellent list – did a little of this last week – a mental health day to a misty, overcast Oregon beach. Walk, breathe deep, and look for teeny crabbers in the rock cracks – my happy place. Yesterday I picked up The Shepherd’s Crown and today I shall read it with a big mug of tea.

  2. It seems like Feeding people, trail running, swimming, and camping fit together nicely. Good luck, I sincerely hope you have an amazing, fun filled september this year!

  3. I love your Aggressive Happiness rules! I think several of them would be useful for me when things get a bit out-of-hand, brain-wise.

    I usually turn to running, cookie-baking and journaling when I need to turn up the self care. Though I run 5 days a week anyway, there are those runs that are approached with therapeutic intention, and what I take away from them is totally different that other runs. And then I earn calories to eat the cookies – it’s a delicate balance, you know…

    Here’s to a healthy September:-)