Living through a pandemic has got me feeling extra anxious and sad. This year there was an abundance of bad news that has me rethinking every aspect of my life. Realizing what I have control over and what I don’t have control over has never been more important. All I can do is practise self-awareness and focus on how I can make a difference in the world. I know things can always be worse, but everything’s been overwhelmingly stressful. In an attempt to ease my anxiety each day I’m made an effort to write down what I’m thankful and what makes me happy. After some much-needed soul searching I found out what truly brings me joy. I chose to share it will all of you and hopefully it reminds you of what makes you happy.
1) Saying goodbye to toxic people
If the pandemic has taught me anything it’s that life’s too short to have toxic people in your life. Toxic people include those who treat you with disrespect, people who use you, those who disregard your feelings, or people who refuse to acknowledge their actions. It’s hard to say goodbye to these people because sometimes they’re people we care about. However, in order to improve your life, you need to eliminate those who don’t have a positive impact on your life. I learned this the hard way. I put myself through so much unnecessary pain thinking this person will change. Once they were no longer apart of my life I felt like a weight was lifted from my shoulder. Their negativity was no longer affecting my well being.
2) Spending time with loved ones
Once you’ve eliminated the toxic people from your life you can focus on the people who genuinely care about you. Being surrounded by loved ones whether it’s your friends or family means being yourself without worrying about people judging you. You can be silly and vent about your problems. Having a support system is especially through times like these. Sometimes we neglect our loved ones because we’re too focused on people that were never worth our time. If you’re spending hours venting to your besties about your problems then make sure you’re making time to be there for them as well.
3) Overcoming “change.”
Nobody likes change, especially when you didn’t ask for it, but change is inevitable. It’s important to remember change isn’t always bad. We need to learn how to embrace change. You may not always like it but learning how to overcome change will only make you stronger.
The global outbreak of COVID-19 is the perfect example of something that changed everyone’s lives. Everyone had to quarantine and start wearing masks. Businesses shut down because of the loss of profits and many were left unemployed. Although, it’s been extremely difficult living with the repercussions of the pandemic we now are more informed on what to do if (god forbid) another outbreak ever occurs.
4) Accomplishing something I’ve always wanted
Whether it’s a well-deserved raise or buying your first home, there’s nothing better than when your goals become a reality. Achieving your goals comes with hard work and can be a long-winded process. Sometimes lose sight of our goals when we start self-doubting ourselves. Overcoming our self-doubt only makes reaching our goals more fulfilling. Once you believe in yourself nothing will stop you from making your dreams a reality. It’s important to never lose sight of your goals because no one’s going to want it more than you do.
5) Making time for myself
The older I get the more I’ve realized how important it is to take time out of my busy schedule for myself. Whether it’s taking a bath or eating a pint of ice cream while watching Harry Potter movies, having some alone time always helps me de-stress. Taking time to self reflect always reminds me of what’s important to me. It reminds me of where my priorities lie and what I should be focusing on. There’s always something to do but taking a break is important for our mental health. You should never feel guilty for making time for yourself.
6) Coming across a life-changing book or movie.
Some stories stay with you forever. You know it’s a good story when you can’t stop thinking about it. You start googling fan theories about the characters and see if you can find out more about the story. You immediately call all your besties and tell them they must watch this movie or read the book because you need to talk about it with someone. You’ll force them to watch/read it because they have to experience what you just experienced. Certain stories and characters inspire us and help us get through difficult times. I know I’m grateful to be apart of the Harry Potter Generation. Hermoine Granger will forever be one of my role models.
Travelling is such an enriching experience. The world has so much to offer. Not only is it an amazing way to learn about other cultures but it opens our eyes to different perspectives. It’s nice to be in a different environment. It can help reinvigorate our zest for life and help us re-discover who we want to be. Everyone should have a chance to travel not just because they’re in need of a vacation but because there’s so much to be discovered. I know I’m craving an adventure.
Nothing makes me happier than grabbing a jar of Nutella or the taste of Mcdonald’s fries. I’m always excited to go out for Indian food or for some good quality tacos. If I am ever in need of comfort food I know I can always count on Ben and Jerry’s. There’s no doubt that our mood affects what we eat. It’s always important to eat everything in moderation. Although comfort food brings us pleasure at the moment, in the long run, it doesn’t necessarily make us happy. Healthier foods actually help with serotonin production. There truly is nothing better than a good old home-cooked meal.
Music evokes emotion and nostalgia. I remember Hedley’s Perfect playing at prom while all the couples slow danced. I remember dancing to Ariana Grande’s Break Free at frosh week. There’s always a song that reminds of summer. There’s been lots of speculation of why music makes us feel happy. According to a study conducted by the University of McGill, ” magnetic resonance imaging showed that people listening to pleasurable music had activated brain regions called the limbic and paralimbic areas, which are connected to euphoric reward responses.” Music really does bring us joy.
Only after I graduated university and no longer was learning on a regular basis did I appreciate my university experience. It’s a privilege to attend a school and to have the tools to teach yourself a new skill. There are so many things I wanted to learn and now I had the time to teach myself those things. It’s such a satisfying feeling mastering a skill you taught yourself. Whether it’s teaching yourself a life skill or a skill that you can put on your resumé it feels like a victory every time.