Healthy Habits to Lead a More Meaningful Life
What does happiness mean? To me it means living a life of contentment, pleasure, satisfaction, joy, high spirits, light-hearted, euphoria, wellness, peace and positive energy. At the end of my days, I want to be able to look back on my life and know in my heart of hearts that I lived life to the fullest. I accomplished everything I set out to do, I don’t have any regrets and I lived a meaningful, happy life. To quote the great Maya Angelou:
“My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive and do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style”.
Our ultimate goal as parents is we want our kids to be happy. We want them to lead meaningful and happy lives so they can one day be contributing members of society. But in order for us to teach our children how to lead happy, meaningful lives, we need to lead by example.
How to be a happy mom
I have studied the habits of truly happy people. From how they start their day to how they end their day and everything in between. I have learned that happy people live their lives on purpose. They don’t rely on chance or other people to bring them happiness. Happiness is an inside job and only we have the power to find true happiness.
I am not a therapist or even an expert on the matter of life and happiness. I know everyone’s lives and situations are different. We each have our own battles and demons we face. In this post I share with you small steps I started taking in my life that has led and is leading me toward a happy and more meaningful life. I am a lifelong learner and I am growing and evolving every single day but this is what is working for me in my life. If you get even just one take away from this blog post that will change your life for the better, that will be enough for me.
8 Habits of Happy Moms
1. Self care
As moms our wants and sometimes even our needs take a back seat. We are so focused on taking care of everyone else’s needs, we often neglect ourselves. This used to be me.
After getting pregnant with baby number four I came to the harsh realization that I needed to start paying attention to my needs. I was running on fumes and it wasn’t fair to my kids or myself.
One morning I woke up and decided that i needed to fill my own cup so I can successfully fill the cups of those that depend on me.
I started taking small steps here and there and the initial guilt I felt for spending time on my self started subsiding. I was feeling less stressed, more present and overall happier.
Self care for moms should be non negotiable. I’m not saying go spend hours at the spa (although don’t pass up an opportunity if it comes up). I’m talking small, simple, macro steps you can take on a daily basis to nurture your mind, body and soul.
Self Care practices for moms
- Sit in silence for 15 minutes and just be with your thoughts.
- Go on a mindful walk. Using all of your senses, observe your surrounding and be completely present throughout your walk, making a deeper connection to nature.
- Read a book for pleasure. Make your favorite coffee or tea in your favorite mug and sit in a cozy spot and read for 15 minutes.
- Music therapy. Music has a positive effect on your overall health. Put on you favorite playlist and lay for 15 minutes while letting the music invigorate your soul.
- Take a detox spa bath – Add 1 cup of bath salts and 10 drops of your favorite essential oil. Click here to learn how to safely add essential oils to your bath. Sit and soak for 15-25 minutes.
2. Set Social Media limits
As great as social media is in building personal connections and keeping up with your loved ones fast paced lives, it has a lot of negatives that are affecting our mental health:
- It can cause stress, anxiety and even depression
- Sets unrealistic expectations
- Cyber bullying
- Creates unhealthy sleep patterns
- It creates FOMO – Fear of missing out
- It can create a negative body image by constantly comparing ourselves to others
- It can cause disagreements, arguments and even end relationships
Check out an article published by Forbes on how social media affects our mental health.
I made a conscious decision to not spend wasteful time on social media and it has been a true game changer. I am more on purpose about when I’m on social media and what I’m doing while I’m on it.
Facebook on Purpose
Manage the time you spend scrolling and trolling.
How many times have you put your phone down after scrolling on Facebook only to pick it back up a few minutes later to scroll Facebook again seeing the exact same content?
- Give yourself a specified time period when you can Facebook. As a blogger, social media is a big part of what I do but I limit my personal social media time and it has made a big difference. For example, I give myself 5-10 minutes in the morning and then again at night for social media. I’m no longer picking up my phone checking social media randomly throughout the day and this definitely has enhanced my user experience.
- Do not go on any social media first thing in the morning or right before going to sleep. Do NOT scroll social if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep. You can’t control what you’re going to see and how it’s going to make you feel. You set the tone for how you start and end your day.
- Turn off Facebook notifications. Go into the settings menu on your smart phone and turn off Facebook notifications. No Facebook notification is worthy of hijacking you from whatever it was that you were during at that current moment. I recommend turning off (almost) all of the push notifications on your phone. Let’s take back control.
Customize your news feed to align with your values, likes and truths.
You can prioritize who you want to “see first” and “unfollow” people that don’t add value to your life or trigger any kind of negative feelings. You have the power to create a news feed that is filled with only content that sparks joy in your life. It’s like Marie Kondo’ing your Facebook Feed.
When i first started doing this I felt really guilty about it. If I unfollowed a friend or family member I felt like I was betraying them. But I quickly learned that it actually strengthened my relationships with people. When your not seeing someone’s negative content that triggered negative feelings on a daily basis, you no longer have suppressed negativity toward them.
3. Practice Gratitude
When you purposely start focusing on the positive things in your life you shift your mindset to start noticing more positives and less negatives. I have always been a pretty positive person. The glass is always half full and if you give me lemons, I’ll make a Margherita. So I never felt that practicing gratitude was something I necessarily needed in my life.
It was around the time that I got my first bullet journal that i was continuously coming across content having to do with practicing gratitude. The universe was sending me a message and I couldn’t ignore it. When the universe comes knocking, you listen. From then on I have consistently been writing in my gratitude/bullet journal.
What to write in a gratitude journal
I started writing very broad things i was grateful for like my kids, my husband, our house, our neighborhood, our friends, my kids teachers, my mini van, my cat, my mailman, etc. But eventually this list gets repetitive.
Then I got more specific and started writing things I was grateful for that happened every day. I zoomed in on a small moment, a small success that happened during the day that filled my heart with joy.
For example, one of my entries was that I was grateful that on a cloudy, rainy day, the sun started shining so bright through my kitchen window at the exact same time one of my favorite songs started playing on my Alexa speaker. (BTW the song was Don’t leave me this way by Thelma Houston). This wasn’t a life altering moment in my life. It was a small moment that brought me happiness and it filled my heart that i was mindful of it.
Consistently being mindful of small moments of joy shifts your mindset and you start focusing more energy on the positive things that occur on a daily basis and less energy on the negative.
Each night before going to sleep, write down 3 things that you are grateful for that happened throughout the day. If you feel compelled to write more, go for it, but I find that 3 is easy enough to do so you’ll be more inclined to do it.
Yoga has been proven to decrease stress, improve energy, reduce anxiety, promote better sleep and increase muscle strength and tone. Since I started doing yoga I have become more in touch with my emotions, I feel more grounded, more present and better able to handle everyday stressors.
When I first started yoga, i didn’t really love it. It felt awkward to me and I was self-conscious about not being able to do all the poses like some of the more advanced yogi’s in the class. But as time went on I started feeling more comfortable with my yoga practice. I started taking the same yoga classes, with the same instructor and most of the same people. It became familiar.
The turning point for me was when my views about yoga shifted. It’s not like a HIIT or spin class where you have to try to keep up. It is your practice and you do what feels comfortable to you. One yoga instructor that I really like a lot, constantly reminds the class that this is our practice and we should do what we need to get the most out of it.
Now when I don’t do yoga, I crave it. I need it in my life. I love what it does for my body as well as my mind. I leave yoga feeling grounded and grateful for life and everything and everyone I have around me. Yoga tugs at a spiritual side I never knew existed and has opened so many new doors for me. I started meditating and practicing gratitude since starting yoga. All of these practices have been a game changer for me. My mindset, how I view things and how I respond to things have all changed for the better.
We cannot control the behavior and actions of others but we can control how we respond. Yoga has helped me respond more positively.
As mom’s we are always on the go and our minds are always running on overdrive. Meditation is a practice that helps calm and quiet the mind. Meditation reduces stress and anxiety and helps you better manage your emotions. It helps you connect with your inner self, be completely focused in the moment and not think about what’s next.
The practice of being mindful, completely present and deep breathing are all practices that will help you be a more present, happy and calm mother.
I started my meditation journey one year ago and it has been a game changer. I am now more present when i’m around my kids, my energy is more positive, I’m calmer and i’m overall just happier. I’m able to let go of all the mind clutter that so often dominated my thoughts leaving me feeling stressed out and overwhelmed.
How do you get started meditating?
You want to start with a guided meditation. A guided meditation does exactly what it says. It offers guidance to help you meditate effectively to get the full benefits of meditation.
There are a lot of good apps you can download to your smart phone. Many of these have a free version or a free trial that you can take advantage of. I use and love the app Calm. I have a paid subscription so I can enjoy its full benefits. It offers a variety of meditation topics to choose from ~ calming anxiety, deep sleep, mindful eating, gratitude, forgiveness and more. It offers sleep stories, nature sounds and images. There’s also a calm kids section of meditation that help kids learn calming techniques.
How do you incorporate meditation into your life?
You can add meditation to your morning routine. It’s a great way to start your day on a positive note.
Or you can add meditation to your night routine before going to sleep when you are less pressed for time.
You can meditate in the middle of the day on your lunch break, or when your baby is napping.
It doesn’t matter when you meditate, as long as you do it.
6. Get rid of clutter
A cluttered home equals a cluttered mind. I can not be the best version of myself in a cluttered environment. I have a strong need for things to be clean, neat and organized for me to perform as my best self. Positive energy flows better in a clutter free environment. Your home should be a reflection of you and should align with what fills your heart with joy. I love Konmari method that we should surround ourselves with only the things that spark joy in our lives. Click here for my twist on the Kon Mari Method.
We are in the process of redoing our living room. We lived in our home for a little over 2 years and now we know what we want out of this room and how to maximize the space. I had a large breakfront cabinet that was filled with all of my china and crystal that I received as gifts for my bridal shower when we got married many moons ago. . This cabinet accumulated so much dust and it was a thorn in my side every time I had to clean it. The glasses inside of the cabinet clinked when the kids danced or jumped around and it drove me crazy. It really didn’t serve a purpose to us anymore at this point in our lives, but getting rid of it didn’t seem like an option for me. I felt inclined to keep it to store and display all of our beautiful things that people spent their valuable money on and good intentions behind giving us as the hubby and I were starting our lives together.
After moving the cabinet three times and not loving where we decided the only place where it can go, I decided to Konmari everything in it. So i took every piece out of the cabinet, held it in my hands and asked myself if this object gave me joy. It turned out that about 70% of what was in the cabinet didn’t spark joy in my life. I was able to relocate a lot of my fine china and stemware that’s not often used, and I gave away or donated some of the other items.
I got rid of the cabinet and I’m so happy that i did. I feel lighter. The objects that I did keep are ones that I love and truly spark joy in my life. Imagine living in a tranquil environment where you’re surrounded by only things that you love. It feels good.
Click here for more on Konmari’ing your home.
7. Don’t be defined by what others think of you
I once read that what other people think of you is none of your business. This has always stuck with me. Often times we are perceived a certain way but that shouldn’t change who we truly are. People’s perceptions of us usually don’t have anything to do with us but mostly to do with how they perceive themselves. When we stop getting caught up in the trap of worrying about what other people think of us, is when we are truly free to be our true self. That is when you start attracting the right people into your inner circle. People that you want to surround yourself with. The ones who add value to your life, who accept you for who you really are and support you.
It took me almost 40 years to truly feel free. I had an opportunity to start all over again and meet new people and build new relationships. We moved our family to a new neighborhood where we didn’t know many people. My hubby and I would joke that we can be anybody we want to be because nobody knew us. We would come up with all sorts of crazy characters who we can be. We still laugh about it.
So I decided that I was going to be me, the non-edited version…
“I’m a mom of 4 kids, I cook whole, organic food, I make or buy my own non toxic products, I feed my family milk that comes from a goat and I do not own a microwave.”
Knowing who you are and being open and honest about it from the beginning opens the door for genuine relationships. The people whom I surround myself with know the real me, the un-edited version and they accept me for who I am. Some share similar views and beliefs as me while others think I’m a little off the wall but accept me anyway. It’s not fake and it’ not forced.
Be true to yourself and only surround yourself with people who accept and appreciate you.
8. Live in the present
How many times have you gotten in an argument and brought up issues from the past? We are all guilty of this. I am here to tell you to STOP! It’s not healthy, it causes resentment and it doesn’t solve the problem at hand.
I tease my husband all the time that he’s lucky that I get over things quickly. I’m not one to harp on a situation or hold a grudge. I’ll get mad, we’ll have it out and then I’m done with it. I don’t have time in my life, or patience to harp on negativity, especially when I’m on a mission toward living my best mom life.
On the other hand I forgive quickly but I don’t forget easily. I have been known to file things away deep in my soul to either sit there untouched or to be pulled out at a later time. These negative emotions can veer their ugly heads at random times because I never fully let it go from the beginning.
I am still a work in progress but i have noticed that I am a lot happier since letting things go.
When a problem arises, work through it and then let it go. Because if you don’t, it will constantly hang over your head and weigh you down. Un-resolved issues will extend your suffering and will hold you back from leading a truly happy and meaningful life.
Let it go!
Hi there! I'm Danielle, mom blogger, visionary and dreamer.
I'm on a mission to help moms create a Simply Pure life of Joy + Balance + Optimal Health & Wellness for ourselves and our families.
My goal is to un-complicate life and provide moms with the tools and strategies to make informed decisions so you can live your best mom life. .
Read more about the girl behind the blog here
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