21 April 2017

Feature: Looking after you!

Happy girls are the prettiest

There are women you see that ooze happiness. Do you know what I mean? They just have something. A bit of zing. A glow about them. Normally they are accessorised by a massive smile. Even if there isn't a smile, you often look closer and take a second look, there's something different. A positive aura? A sunny disposition? These ladies often have a relaxed posture and a face to match. Their eyes have a glint of excitement and a twinkle of life in them. They seem alive. They seem satisfied. They seem at peace with themselves.
Audrey Hepburn's famous quote, "happy girls are the prettiest", has always struck a chord with me. I remember a good few years ago I was having a coffee with a friend.  She looked at me over the table and tilted her head to the side slightly and said "happy girls really are the prettiest". I was quite taken back by this. It hadn't really occurred to me if I was happy or not. I was getting on with things. Doing what I loved. I looked at my friend and it struck me that she wanted a piece of happiness too. She saw something she needed. But can happiness be defined? 

Happiness is "like a butterfly, the more you chase it the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things it will come and sit softly on your shoulder". One saying I have tried to embrace since my teenage years. Happiness is "a feeling or showing pleasure or contentment". 

What does your idea of happiness look like? This is what I've been asking myself as I try to reconnect with myself and my dreams.  For me happiness is to live in the present. This doesn't come easily but gets easier with every lifestyle change I make. I want to stay in the present to appreciate the wonderful things at my fingertips right this minute. To love and appreciate what I have. Happiness is not allowing my past and previous experiences to define me. 

Happiness is embracing and letting go of difficult times in order to move on.  However, it is because of these times that I know what happiness feels like. I am able to be compassionate, be satisfied with what I have, be pragmatic, embrace change, feel blessed and try and add a little sunshine to people's lives. 

Happiness at the minute is self care to me. Without realising what I was doing had a name I started to practise more self care at the beginning of the year. After feeling a little lost with becoming a mum I wanted to feel more like myself again. Self care is providing care for you, by you. The idea is to identify your own needs and to meet them. More importantly perhaps, it’s about making time to do things that nurture you. Do you treat people kindly and with respect? Well why would you not do this for yourself? Self care is important to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself.

I often feel that I have far too much going on to be able to do things for me. However, my chief win has been journaling and writing in my diary times of self care acts so not to miss any. These can be to read a book, eat more fruit and veg,o for a run, have a relaxing bath, drink more water, mindfulness, do some planting or paint my nails. Anything that is for me! I also sneak in little snippets of self care where I can.  Starting to practise more things that are for you builds self confidence. Self care  is checking in with yourself regularly, seeing how you are doing, building strength in yourself. Assessing and developing your needs.

Apparently, happy people look after themselves. They love themselves just as they are. They accept themselves warts and all.  Very difficult to do but true. Could contentment be the key to happiness? I think to feel grounded and positive is a great beginning. Wouldn't it be great if we could bottle some up and sell it. What could you add to your day to begin to look after you more?


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