When I started thinking about my own Happiness Project, I decided quite quickly that August would be my first month. The inventor of the Happiness Project started in January but I decided against that for several reasons. Starting in January would mean that 1. I would have to wait for half a year, and 2. I would have to plan a project for an entire year. Of course, there is something to be said for careful planning and having every month figured out. I was not that patient, so I was going to start and I was going to start soon. The benefit of starting now and planning until December is that there are only 5 months to fill in, and for me that means a reduced chance of me giving up. I find that when my goals are too big, I lack enthusiasm and motivation to continue. And if in December I decide it was not enough, I can start planning the next block.
The main reason to make August my “me”-month was because I felt like I could use some relaxation and pampering, but it was also a choice based on the fact that this month, I still have time off from university. On the 31st, all the work and chaos will start again. I figured that going into September with a calm mind and a well-rested body would be a good start of the new year. At the moment my body does not exactly feel rested (oh, the day after leg-day), but I do feel good. Although working out is physically exhausting, the satisfaction it brings makes it well worth it. My level of fitness has decreased dramatically over the past few weeks, with all the bad foods I consumed and the lack of exercise, but at least I am working on it again – and it can only get better, right? As for my mind – I feel clearer, somehow. I feel calm and try to look at things from the bright side, my thoughts do not race through my head anymore and I finally have some time to think. Of course this is partly because I do not have anything to worry about at the moment, but it is a welcome change. I even feel excited for the next semester and I am positive that with a few adjustments here and there (changing some not-so-good habits), I will be able to handle the workload and possible stress moments. For my study program, I have to choose some extra courses to meet the requirements of the program, and originally I decided that I was only going to do a single extra course this semester because I felt that more would be too stressful. As it turns out, there are two courses I would like to take this semester – and I chose both. With some planning, less procrastination and by using my time wisely, I should be able to do it without too much stress.
On that note: for optimal relaxation, I treated myself to good-quality, comfy trousers yesterday. They were not inexpensive but I followed Gretchen Rubin’s lead and “invested in a modest splurge”. This time, I was not only inspired by Rubin, but also by a book that I read recently. A book about de-cluttering and tidying. Normally I would never pick up such a book, but after hearing many good things about it, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. I had been thinking about doing a serious spring/summer tidy-session anyway, and this book could only help: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I have to say, there were parts that were a bit too spiritual and peculiar for my liking but I just skimmed through them and focused on the parts that could be of help to me personally. I found her view on what she calls “loungewear” very interesting: when cleaning out a wardrobe, people often hang on to items they do not particularly like or wear outside, and keep them as loungewear. Then she explains: “To me, it doesn’t seem right to keep clothes we don’t enjoy for relaxing around the house. This time at home is still a precious part of living. Its value should not change just because nobody sees us.” I started thinking and realised that the clothes I wear in my house are, although comfortable, not clothes that make me feel good. Actually, they make me feel unattractive and sloppy. They are old and faded and worn down. Therefore, it was high time for a change. Buying a new piece of clothing is not life-changing or a drastic change, but in this case, it made me happy and every little bit of happiness counts.