Written free-form yesterday after a particularly bad day when I went home upset and dejected. Do read it though if you’re feeling that way right now, I flatter myself that it’s a good, uplifting read.
Don’t listen to them when they say that putting yourself first makes you selfish. Putting yourself first to the exclusion of all else, maybe. But finding the time for self-care? Making sure that you’re happy and healthy because you know you can’t pour anything from an empty cup? That’s not selfish. That’s common sense.
Go buy yourself flowers. Google various flower meanings and get a bouquet of your favorite ones. Put them in a vase of water by your bed so the first thing you see when you wake up is a riot of color.
Treat yourself to chocolate. It can be expensive truffle chocolates or discount candy bars, it doesn’t matter. Just get yourself some of that sweet goodness and indulge without worrying about your weight or complexion.
Treat yourself to brunch. Sit outside in the morning sunshine and enjoy a cup of coffee. Watch the people passing by and make up stories for them. Take a photo of your latte art, your tea, or your meal, and post it on Snapchat or Instagram. Hashtag the hell out of it and revel in the number of likes it gets.
Go to a bookstore. Check out newly released books and buy something everyone’s been raving about. Or buy a book just because it has a pretty cover. Head on over to the discount bins and dig through the old almanacs and dictionaries – you never know what treasure for 50% off you may unearth. Or discreetly free a book from its plastic prison, hide behind one of the shelves that no one ever browses, and read. Put the book back when you’re done and innocently walk out.
Eat unhealthy food. Don’t eat it everyday, for every meal – you still gotta take care of yourself, after all. But one order of Chicken McNuggets won’t hurt. Eat every bite and absolutely refuse to feel guilty about it. If anyone tries to give you shit for it, eat them too. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
Drink water. Hydrating is so important! Eight glasses a day isn’t enough, sometimes. Get yourself some really nice cold water, the kind with sliced lemons and a whole bunch of fruit in it. Eat the fruit if you want, the world is your oyster.
Take selfies, or ask people to take photos of you. Go stand next to a magnificent view and take a photo. Realize that your loved ones can Google photos of the scenery if all they wanted to see was the sunset, or the horizon, or the mountains, or the ocean. What makes that photo special for the people in your life is the fact that you’re in it.
Travel. Please, travel. It’s like Mark Twain said: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.” And honestly, you don’t even have to jet off to some exotic locale. Simply go somewhere you’ve never been before, whether that’s just the next town over, or some beach on a faraway island. Seeing things from other people’s point of view always makes for good food for thought.
Forget about looking for romance. When you’re ready, it’ll find you. When the time is right, it’ll happen. Be kind. Be a good friend. Smile at a stranger, because you never know who’s having a bad day. Send love out into the world. Love the people already in your life – your friends, your family. Love is energy, and energy can’t be destroyed. It has to go somewhere, and one day, it will come back to you.
Do good deeds not for the sake of being rewarded, but because it’s the right thing to do. Buy a harassed cab driver breakfast. Spare a few coins for a beggar. If you’re a driver, allow a pedestrian to cross the street. Greet a janitor or security guard good morning. Don’t do good deeds in expectation of karmic rewards; do them because you feel good about yourself, because you know today, in some small way, you contributed to the betterment of the world.
Choice, I think, is the secret to happiness. Everyday when you wake up, you’re presented with a choice: to be happy, or to be sad. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discounting people suffering from illnesses like clinical depression – because obviously, choice is not a factor when you’re suffering from a mental illness.
But barring all that, the secret to being happy is to simply decide that you’re going to be happy. You wake up and you look at your surroundings and decide, no matter what, today you’re going to be happy. Bad shit may happen, but you’ll get through it. You’re going to get through the trials and tribulations of today, tired and battered maybe, but you make the choice to do things that will cheer you up, and after you power through your moments of sadness and upset, you know the sun will rise again.