Monday, December 19, 2016

Doing things that are proven to make you happier!

There is quite a bit of stress around in the lead up to Christmas. Often we women feel this the most -as 'everybody's happiness' is dependent upon OUR efforts at gift buying, card writing, food preparation and home decorating. I can remember when DH and I had both our parents still with us and there was a LOT of Christmas partying to get through, just at the time when our young adult children were also busy too. In Australia the Christmas season coincides with the end of the school year and the end of most other community activities so there are lots of  parties and graduations and things added to the season.

Times have changed. It would be wonderful now to be able to fuss over our parents, but they went to God many years ago. We left school years behind some time ago now.  One of our young people now has a home and family of his own, but my DD is still here and a willing ally in all things Christmas.

Whilst people marvel at the way we decorate for Christmas - it is not at all 'minimalist" to have 5 Christmas trees- it does make us happier to do it. Christmas decorating seems to awaken our childhood memories. We enjoy the whole ritual of getting down the boxes, opening them up and being reminded of our favourite things.

One of our trees is the main tree, decorated in a very strict theme of gold decorations and musical items -drums, trumpets, etc -and NO TINSEL.  I hate tinsel!

We also have a kitschy jokey tree in the family room -where all the decorations the kids made when they were young reside -including a dinasaur hatching out of an egg (?) and the First Dog on the Moon christmas decorations. (A satirical cartoonist in Australia with the whole family enjoying it).

In the next few days we will go about getting a simple meal ready for Christmas day -with the things we enjoy to eat. I don't quite know what that will be but with the weather at the moment looking like a fairly mild 32 degrees C (about 90 F) I imagine we will eat on the patio. We might have grilled salmon and salad, with a special desert afterwards. We don't like turkey so we won't eat any.

Our son and daughter in law and grandchildren in Victoria have presents from us under their tree.

We have bought each other presents -and as two of us have birthdays as well, there is quite a pile of them! We have to make sure December birthdays get their own attention.

Each year we enjoy making donations to our favourite charities at this time.

I read this article and thought it would be interesting to see if I could do all ten things:

1. Exercise More
I have been a little sporadic in my exercise of late, so I am making more of an effort.  We had a lovely bracing walk down at the beach yesterday, and a walk around the park last weekend. DH walks with me on the weekends.

2. Sleep more

This is hard for me: I am often awake for several hours at night. This article suggests I shouldn't be concerned about it- I know I will get a few long sleeps per week and the rest of the time I am OK.

3. Move closer to work

When I was driving for over 80 minutes each way to work, it was a struggle. Now I can get the bus and train, and then have a 20 minute walk to work, I am much happier.Not that I need to worry for the next few weeks as I am on leave!

4. Spend time with family and friends-this is a great time of the year to do that.

5. Go outside-this always makes me happier. As I am on leave until late January I can walk on the beach nearly every morning, and spend time in my garden.

6. Help others- our charity and volunteering continues

7. Smile. I read somewhere that if we smile, our brain is tricked into thinking we are happy and therefore releases endorphins to make us happier!

8. Plan a trip -we have an overnight stay planned in early January.

9. Meditate- we do this every morning for 10 minutes

10. Practice gratitude. This is a great idea -we regularly do this as we walk on the beach. There is so much to be grateful for.

Thanks for stopping by to read this blog. I wish you a happy holiday season and a Merry Christmas.

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