It’s been a while since I realised that emotional well-being is quite a big deal and that I have some control over the flow of things when it comes to it. One of the most rewarding lessons I have learnt since then is to not only take every day as it comes, but to also thoroughly enjoy it.
Now, I can see it already how you could think that I am going to regurgitate the whole “seize the day!” cliché, and while you are partially correct, please hear me out.
Disclaimer: I know firsthand how dealing with a mental health condition makes it hard or impossible to give ourselves a hand up when we’re feeling down. This article does not aim to discredit that, and please do try to get professional help if you are struggling. The strategies I discuss here are what helped me during my lowest times before treatment, after seeking treatment, and still help me today. I hope there’s something here that can benefit everybody.
When going through rough or busy patches in our lives, actively seeking joy tends to take a backseat. We think that because we’re so busy problem solving, that joy is only warranted on special occasions — or at the very least when we’ve solved the problem(s) at hand.
It shouldn’t be this way. Our circumstances aren’t always in our hands, but to a significant extent, how we feel is. Delaying all joy isn’t just miserable and boring, but it also makes solving our problems harder and is a great catalyst to feeling burnt out. And really, how can we be our best selves if we aren’t energised by our own lives? We need our pick-me-ups and dangling carrots until we reach the finish line.
That’s why I think we need to celebrate, and as often as we can. We don’t need to throw daily, whole, one-person parties for ourselves (they’re probably a good idea once in a while, though) but we should acknowledge the good in our lives and treat ourselves by enjoying them as much as we can every day, and being thankful for them.
The special occasion is now, and you deserve to celebrate and feel celebrated now. And this can mean different things to different people, and can shift every day depending on what’s practicable. For me, sometimes it can mean taking the time to end my evening snuggled up in bed with hot chocolate and listening to my favourite poems, even if there’s a looming deadline. Other times it can mean dressing up even if I am staying at home the whole evening and not expecting anyone. Sometimes, my way of celebrating the moment can mean accepting an invite out during a weeknight. No deadline, solitude, nor weeknight can stop me from celebrating the moments I have; they are worth celebrating just because they exist.
When we treat every day like it’s a special occasion and embellish it with the things that make us smile, we feel happier and more worthy, and it becomes easier to deal with the hard times. I am so down with that.
What little things do you do to celebrate your life? Share them in the comments!