Lately I’ve made some small changes that have had a big impact on my happiness.
I figured out the future of this blog. And it’s a weight off my shoulders.
Amazingly, I am still decluttering and instead of hustling to sell everything, I just donate it. Although I made over $1,000 purging things in preparation to move to my small house, it burnt me out. Now it’s more simple just to donate.
I do still sell books to Half Price Books because I just love going there, but lately I’ve also been mailing books to readers and friends that have commented that they want to read a particular book. It’s more rewarding than the cash.
I buy books now. A lot of books. Mostly used. I started out the year planning to only read my own books and not buy any, but that changed in April when a coworker passed away. I’ve come to accept that I really love owning physical books over digital books or library books. It may not be the most frugal way, but it brings me a lot of joy to browse my shelves and decide what to read next. So I’ve cut myself slack and if a book catches my eye, I buy it.
I keep my phone on silent more often when I’m at home, not just at work. It allows me to disconnect better and not feel compelled to respond to everything immediately.
I started going to therapy for my anxiety. I’ve always been an anxious person, but last fall out of the blue, I really started to struggle. It affected me physically, with my breathing and mini-panic attacks. I spent 6 months chatting with a therapist and added some tools to my toolbox and got it under control.Pay attention, dig deeper, create a life you love. Click To Tweet
I’ve started doing yoga again now that my ankle is healed. I do it twice a week at work and do a short relaxation practice before bed most nights. This has helped so much with the anxiety and breathing and my neck and back problems. And it just feels good. Even when it doesn’t!
I started using essential oils. I sleep better, breathe better, take less medication, and generally just feel better. (Never thought I’d become an oils person…but alas…)
I spend more for non-toxic, sustainable, and fair-trade products. I shared about my conversion to non-toxic products and now I’m slowly working on changing my wardrobe and other textiles and items in my home as I need to replace things. I’ve discovered Prana for clothes and find the clearance items to be reasonably priced. These things do cost more, but it’s evolved from my philosophy of buying “less but better.”
I have paid for projects and services at my new home instead of doing everything myself. I did a lot of DIY at my last home and learned a lot. I like knowing that I can handle some home renovation projects. But this summer was about simplifying, so I paid for some projects instead of doing it myself. The investment was worth it to me when I consider my time and stress levels.
I buy spontaneous gifts. Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved doing random acts of kindness, but I stopped because I received some misguided advice and was told people would think I was weird or a lesbian. In my mid-twenties I got back to it a bit in the form of paying for the person behind me in the drive thru. I would do it when I was having a bad day and it would make me feel better, but I was too shy to do anything less anonymous. But lately I’ve cut myself so much more slack, and become a lot more comfortable in my own skin, and more often think, “To hell with it, if I want to do a nice gesture, I don’t care what people think.” So when I see something that makes me think of someone or someone inspires me, I tell them that and send a little gift. It’s not the most frugal thing, but I feel like it means more than the obligatory birthday and Christmas gifts. (And I LOVE getting mail, so it’s fun for me to send it too!)
I let go of “should” and got a lot better at not caring what people think. I’m still human and still have feelings, but I no longer do things because I “should” or I worry what people will think. The big red flag for me with this blog was the day I started feeling like I “should” do a post or interact on social media. I “should” use my money for a garage to increase the resale value of my house, but instead I’m going to put the money towards my mortgage and maybe get a garage in a few years. People may have all sorts of opinions about me being 30 and spending a lot of my time at home with my pets, reading books. And buying a giant cat tree so my cats can hang out with me in the reading room, probably won’t help my dating game, but indulging in who I am makes me happy. And I’ve got to think (and hope) that a confident, happy woman, (albeit cat lady) is sexy in her own way.
I deleted a bunch of social media apps from my phone and favorites. I deleted hundreds of Facebook friends. My friends list now contains family and people I actually see and talk to on a regular basis. I’ve cut way back on social media in general and so I’ve found that I no longer subconsciously compare myself to other people and I judge far less. (If you didn’t make the cut, I swear it’s nothing personal.)
It’s not that I was unhappy before…it’s just about continuing to make little tweaks to create a life you love. Often what we think will make us happy, or what the world tells us will make us happy, isn’t really the case. We have to pay attention and dig deeper to figure out what really brings us joy. It’s worth it.