Happiness Project month one: have I got more energy?

Have I boosted my energy?

I’m ending the Energise month of my Happiness Project recovering from flu. So, current energy levels aren’t great. I like to think it’s the new Aquarius moon that just came in yesterday, and the Chinese New Year. I am getting rid of all the stuff I’ve been holding onto and no longer need, and that’s leaving my body in the form of flu. Whether or not you believe in this stuff, it’s helping me to identify a positive reason for the illness!

I have, though, been asking myself:

“Has working on my January resolutions taken more energy out of me than it has given me?”

In some ways I do think the answer is yes. It’s really hard to try to change your habits. It takes a lot of energy. In other ways I’ve noticed an improvement.

I’ve changed my mindset if nothing else

In her book ‘The Happiness Project’ Gretchen Rubin writes how one of her commandments is to “act the way I want to feel”. I would add another element to this, which is to think the way I want to feel. I’ve had a few knocks to my energy levels this month, current illness included, but I’ve found myself more able to feel energetic regardless. Or to not let my lack of energy due to a bad night’s sleep drag down the way I’m thinking about things and myself. This isn’t to say I’m an advocate for ploughing on regardless. Today, for example, I’ve done nothing but lie on the sofa watching Gilmore Girls.

The difficulties with habit changing

Not only have I realised how hard it is to work on changing your habits, I’ve also noticed how difficult it is to keep them up when you’re in unusual circumstances. For example, when I was away for that weekend in Bath I found it hard to keep up with any kind of evening routine. Also now with having this flu I’m finding sticking to some of my new rules related to energising my space very difficult. I guess this is okay, because when we’re ill especially we need to learn to rest. But I wonder if there’s anything I could put in place that would mean my habits didn’t get totally skipped, but it was easier to do them?

Challenges and successes

Spending time in nature and exercise right are the two resolutions I’ve had the most difficulty with. Spending time in nature is my favourite resolution, and yet I’ve found even though I love it, it can still be hard to build it into my day. The same goes with scheduling time to build new exercises into my week, aside from my daily yoga.

I’ve found preparing in advance to be extremely beneficial, and was pleased to hear a listener recommend a similar approach in episode 101 of the Happier podcast. Meal planning has been going quite well, but I would like to think more about planning my lunches as well as the dinners boyfriend and I share. As for nutrition, that’s been a slow burner. I’m really enjoying George Cooper’s Be Your Own Nutritionist and am going to start experimenting slowly with implementing a few things to see how it goes. The whole idea that food can influence our mood and energy levels (beyond providing the energy we need to live) is quite new to me.

I’m also taking a slow burn approach with the Energise My Environment resolution, but am really pleased I’ve started to think about this more deeply.  Also, I’m now much more aware of how the energy of different spaces I’m in outside my home alters my mood.

Make Your Dreams a Reality
I was inspired by this message I got from a fortune cookie this weekend. Sums up exactly what I’m trying to do.

What have I learnt this month?

There are two things I’ve been thinking a lot about this month and these are listening to ourselves and connecting with the natural world. As I read Be Your Own Nutritionist I realise how out of touch I am with the cycle of nature. I suppose these two things are interconnected as well, because we are animals and so part of the natural world. We’ve just distanced ourselves from it so much, and from our own bodies as well. The more I learn to listen to myself and my body, the more I feel I can have some control over my energy levels. And, as I’ve already talked about, simply being in nature has a huge impact on the way we feel.

What do you think?

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  • I love that you have “changed your mindset if nothing else”. Because that is exactly how I feel. Somehow just thinking about the happiness aspect has made me somewhat more relaxed, less angry and generally more welcoming of the future. I’m not saying it’s all smooth sailing a 100% of the time, but if I read my Facebook updates from a year or two ago I can honestly say, I don’t really recognize that angry person anymore! (I was in a habit of complaining a lot, judging by my past updates).

    • Thanks for sharing Jenni. It’s so true it isn’t 100% smooth sailing, but I suppose the point of doing a happiness project is (in some ways) to be able to cope when stuff isn’t as easy as it could be, or as we’d like it to be. Glad you’ve noticed a difference in yourself!