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I began sharing my journey of self-acceptance last year as I navigated divorce during a pandemic and I think I am finally ready to share with you how to start living a happier life and how I got to where I am now.
What it is Like Finally Choosing Happiness and Yourself
This time last year, I was in one of the lowest points of my life. I masked it pretty well with makeup and fake smiles, but no one aside from my three closest friends knew I was crying myself to sleep almost every night.
I was exhausted and honestly just tired of life.
That was until I finally shared my feelings with a therapist who could see where I was at and helped me make a plan to save myself and my life.
That plan involved separating (and eventually divorcing) my kids father and starting life on my own. It was terrifying.
It was a very long road that honestly I am still trying to navigate, but I am in a much better place now and I know in my heart that if I can push myself out of that pit by showing up and investing in myself, you can too.
How I Started Trying to Enjoy Life & Find Happiness
I won’t dive too deep into the divorce and reasons for finally choosing myself inside of this post, but that story will be coming in a few weeks.
Instead, I want to focus on how to start living a happier life by sharing exactly how I got started.
For me, it all started with therapy.
Now, I know therapy is not for everyone. That is totally OK!
But for myself, therapy is honestly what truly started to open my eyes and provided me the tools to begin standing up for myself and the life I wanted to create.
If you want to take a look at my mental health story & therapy suggestion, click here.
Aside from therapy, however, I started showing up for myself at first by making the decision to really figure out what made me feel like, well, me.
That involved trying new hobbies, new foods, new routines, and even making some new friends.
I discovered how much I truly love driving for hours, even without a set destination, with music up loud while screaming my heart out. I also found that I love journaling and baking new recipes. Reading. Wearing vans and hoodies. Dancing around the living room with my babies. Rainy days.
The kicker to all of this?
These are the exact same things I loved ten to fifteen years ago.
Coming back to who I was at my happiest, helped me find true happiness again as an adult and a mother of two.
I think a lot of that has to do with the way society tries to morph you into the version of who you are “supposed” to be.
I spent so long trying to do things that the media portrays as the “right” things. Like dressing super feminine with cute shoes, trendy outfits, and hairstyles. Or listening to age appropriate music (whatever the hell that is). Or marrying your first love and having kids while trying to live the “happily every after”.
The book Untamed by Glennon Doyle was a huge driving force for choosing to find myself and taught me how to start living a happier life.
We’re put in these boxes by society and for some reason, a lot of us just assume we are supposed to squish ourselves inside of them.
I find that to be completely untrue. At least now I do.
Allowing myself to be who I truly am without a care in the world what other people think about me is so freeing.
One of my favorite sayings now is “you won’t be for everyone, but you’ll be for the right ones”. I don’t know if I heard that quote somewhere, or if it’s something I put together in my mind, but it keeps me grounded.
I have a few posts coming that discuss how to find self-confidence, self-worth, as well as working through your mental battles to find yourself, but for now- let’s talk about ideas on how to start living a happier life.
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How to Start Living a Happier Life
I have quite a few ideas for you, but please keep in mind, you are the only one that can decide what truly makes you feel happy. While these are ideas that I have found work for myself and others I know, you might find that mixes of this or that help you feel whole.
What matters is YOU being true to yourself. Whatever makes you feel whole is exactly what you need to do.
Create Your Own Goals/Dreams/Manifestation Board
A great place to start when trying to figure out what would make you happiest in life is to brain dump your thoughts into goals, dreams, and even a manifestation board.
What do you truly want out of life?
Honestly, right now that might just be to be okay with living. To be happy sometimes. Or even just content.
That was my first goal. I wanted peace. That is all I wanted in this whole world. I wanted to find what it is that would make me feel weightless and comfortable with life.
With that in mind, I dumped out everything on my mind that I thought might just get me there.
This could look like brain dumping.
This could look like goal setting.
This could look like creating a dream board.
Or even a manifestation board.
There are so many ways to start on this part of your journey to living a life you’re happy with, and I think any of these would be a great idea.
I have a manifestation board I created inside of Canva that I use as my desktop wallpaper. I love that it is the first thing I see at the start of my day and something I can easily flip back to during the day.
Get Over Your Fears and Let Yourself Dream
I know, I know.
Easier said than done.
But I am not kidding when I say you have GOT to let yourself get out of your head and let yourself finally dream.
This time last year I had no dreams. I didn’t really look beyond a few months. I always assumed shit would hit the fan and dreaming about whatever would be pointless so why bother.
Deciding to open myself up to dreaming about what could possibly go right in life has allowed me to make up a five year plan full of big goals for myself that I truly want to achieve.
Like writing my first book. That is probably the biggest goal on the list and the one I am most nervous about. BUT! I’ve begun collecting notes for it and believing that I do have a future where I can make my dreams happen is helping me do so.
Invest in Yourself with Hobbies
Like I said at the beginning of my post, I started to find myself and enjoy life once I figured out what actually made life enjoyable. Like hobbies.
I have tried so many things so far, but a few that I have really enjoyed include drawing on my iPad in Procreate, journaling, and trying new-to-me recipes that I used to think I couldn’t put together.
I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t allow myself to TRY!
I know it is scary. I know it seems pointless. I also know that you don’t really want to.
But just give it that try. Pick something. The first thing that comes to mind. And go!
Read Up on Confidence and Self-Esteem Tips
These are so freaking helpful for building your self-esteem in order to actually make the decision to start working toward living a happier life. I have a few Pinterest boards that I have ideas saved to and I browse for a lot of this stuff on there. Sorting through pretty quotes and text until something feels right is all it takes.
Soon enough, you’ll find that someones words truly stick with you.
As much as I hope my words are the ones- they might not be. And that is okay. But someone’s will and scrolling Pinterest comfy in bed waiting for something to pop out is one of those ways.
Here are a few books I have read and loved or are on my reading list if reading is your thing!
Take a Trip & Go Someplace NEW
I used to think I had to wait for special occasions to go places. That I had to wait for other people. Wait for my kids dad to agree to go with me somewhere.
That is never, ever the case. Not in the slightest.
Where have you always wanted to go, but never allowed yourself because of the many reasons that pop into your head not to?
It is a dreamy city that gets even dreamier in the winter. It is literally known as Christmas town.
And in the last year, I have gone three times! You don’t need anyone else permission to do the things you want to do.
Either scoop up the kids and head out, or find a a sitter of some sort, and GO!!
Become the Person You Want to Be
Slowly, but surely, putting these kinds of tips in place will help you finally learn to love yourself and start living a happier life.
I know you can do this. You deserve a happy, full, and vibrant life.
It’s time to love yourself from the ground up, and I hope these tips help you on your journey.