The festive period is over and if you are like me, today is probably the first day of getting back into your normal routine. When I say normal routine, I mean waking up around the same time each day to go to work and repeating the same actions day in and day out.
The Christmas holidays manage to break every routine that we have ever created and with that comes a whirlwind of excitement, because freedom becomes the new normal. We no longer have to set an alarm to go to work and we have the time to jump on the motorway and travel miles to see family members for just a few short hours. And let's not forget about the evenings that we spend sharing bottles of wine with our childhood friends.
But now it's the first Monday of the New Year and Christmas feels like a distant memory because we have rejoined the rat race.
It's so easy to get caught up in the rat race. We're all trying to be the best that we can be so that we can buy nice things, travel more and feel like we have done something with our lives. But the rat race can often leave you feeling soulless, like your tirelessly heading towards a goal that doesn't want to be reached.
I am really fortunate that I can say with every ounce of honesty "I love my job". I have recently gone from working as a freelancer to a permanent employee and although I enjoyed working my own hours, I craved the structure and security that full time employment gives me. And now that I've got that structure and security, it's important for me to maintain a happy work-life balance.
But can we ever achieve a balance? I think so. I really do. But it requires work. Hard work.
There aren't many things in this world that we have control of. We don't have control over whether our train is going to be late on Monday or if our Lottery numbers are going to come up on Saturday. But what we do have control of is our happiness, and being happy should be our only normal.
Before you slot back into your lane and join the never ending rat race, here are a few tips to help make happiness your new normal in 2016, regardless of your job, financial situation or relationship status.
The word 'hobby' always makes me laugh because it feels so dated. It's the kind of thing that your teacher would make you discuss with your peers on the first day of primary school, "What are you hobbies?". But jokes aside, I think hobbies often give people light in time of darkness and hope in situations where the odds are no longer in their favour. My hobbies have allowed me to sculpt my life, and live the life that I want to live. My interest in fitness and writing is what led me to creating this blog and my blog is one of my proudest achievements.
Find a hobby and take it seriously. Invest both your money and time in it and see where it takes you. Your new found love may lead you on a path towards a career that your heart has always desired, but your mind had never considered because it just seemed... impossible.
I haven't set many goals this year, but one of them is to meditate everyday. I used to frown upon meditating. I didn't understand how or why I would ever need it in my life. But after my first session, I vowed to make it a necessity. I won't spoil it for you, but meditation is really special and you will have to do it for yourself to truly understand what I mean. I meditate to focus on my goals. I ask myself "What do you want to achieve? How am you going to achieve it? How will you feel when you achieve it?"
I'm new to meditating so I only meditate for five minutes a day...any longer and my mind begins to wonder! I can go from planning my goals to planning my weddings in less than a heart beat! Try starting with five minutes of meditation a day and build it up to 10 minutes, or longer if you can.
Happiness Jars are a growing trend and I think they are a wonderful idea. I first came across them a few years ago, but I hadn't actually created one until this year. At the end of 2015, I was recalling my achievements and I thought to myself "I wish I wrote down all of the things that made me smile this year".
We always think that things like money and having a good job equate to happiness, but I bet if you kept a happiness jar for a year, you will be able to count on your hand the amount of times that money made you happy.
Create a happiness jar and everyday add something to it that made you smile, no matter how big or small... a smile is a smile.
Before we go our separate ways, you browse another web page and me write another blog post, I just want to leave you with a few thoughts to help you make 2016 your best year yet.
Relax and take each day as it comes.
Live in the present and make it beautiful.
Take time out for yourself, but make time for loved ones. The person who you miss and want to see more of, pick up the phone and give them a call. Better still, go round to their house and greet them with your warm embrace.
Laugh a lot.
Work Hard. Really, really Hard. But play even harder.
Life can be beautiful, but it starts with you. It's never too late to make it beautiful.
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