I hope you’ve all had a positive week.
When we are under pressure, even when we think we have a handle on it, that pressure can manifest itself in lots of different ways. Recently, I’ve felt it myself physically and emotionally. Luckily for me, when I feel like I’m running on empty, I can recognise it and resolve it pretty well. If we’re tired, we react differently. When we’re angry, or even ‘hangry’, we might respond a little bit emotionally to things that we’re generally OK with the rest of the time!
It’s up to us to manage our feelings and responses to things.
Let’s be realistic, life is never going to be happy all of the time. It’s how we bounce back from those times that’s important in our happiness. See Liggy Webb’s guest blog on resilience about this.
While we’re on the subject of happiness, here are my best happiness tips and ways to care for ourselves, because happiness rules:
Take responsibility- I know, I know. Takes a lot to back down and own our side of the behaviour, but doing this helps you move on from, or even avoid conflict altogether.
Keep building your relationships- making connections is what us humans need to live a long and happy life. Not money, not success but people. Get the people around you that have your back and you can’t go wrong.
Be present with your loved ones- listen to what they’re saying with no distractions. Limit the tech and enjoy yourselves.
Find a sense of purpose- we can be everything to anyone else but ourselves. Finding something we love doing for us is a wonderful feeling.
Be around positive people (boomerangs!) and phase out the negatives (doomerangs!)- I learnt this from the wonderful Liggy Webb.
Be positive yourself- We can focus on every single negative in our lives or figure out what’s good about it.
Be grateful- think about everything good in your life, every day.
Say what you need to say- holding back what you need to say builds resentment. Remember when you give feedback to someone, take the emotion out of it, say it positively, see things from their point of view and make sure it’s a good time for both of you.
Keep a routine- children thrive from routine and predictability, and so do we. It prevents stress, anxiety and overwhelm. I have routines and plans which I stick to and it means I know when I have free time, when I’m doing too much and when I can let my hair down!
Say no and stick to boundaries- saying no is one of the hardest things we have to do in life because we feel responsible and feel guilty. If we can’t master this, we are pleasing everyone else but ourselves and it is stressful. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Say ‘no thank you. I can’t make it.’ No excuses, no drawn-out reason. There are only so many hours in the day! Do what you love. Say no to spending time with your loved one when they’re drinking
Say yes! Ok. It may seem like I’m contradicting myself a bit, but I’m not. Say yes to new experiences or things you haven’t tried. Say yes to your children when they ask you to play with them. Say yes to your partner to try something they love doing- within reason-ha! Say yes to your friends for a day out with no guilt. Go dancing. Sing your heart out (my favourites).
Stretch yourself. As above, get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Whether it’s a course, a job, a hobby. Give it a go but don’t push yourself too far into the pressure zone.
Got it? Let me know how you get on in the comments.
*please seek medical advice if you are frequently feeling unhappy or low as you may need some support or extra help*
I can help
My service, The Vesta Approach, supports families affected by a loved one’s substance use. You can access confidential support from me wherever you are in the world. I will help you to get your loved one into treatment and lead a better life. I offer face to face sessions in the Manchester (UK) area or via Skype worldwide.
I also have an online therapeutic programme. Take a look at my services here
I have a closed Facebook Group called Vesta Confidential. If you are affected by a loved one’s substance use, come and join me.
Sign up to my mailing list here to keep up to date with Vesta news and get my free Ten Steps to Family Recovery download.