Updated: Nov 8, 2021
My friend travelled recently and brought me a journal which stated ‘I Choose to be happy’. She laughed as she said, as soon as I saw it, I said that is definitely Roxanne! It felt good to know my words and actions align.
I shared in a recent blog post a health scare I experienced with elevated blood pressure a few months ago. I Knew it stemmed from lack of boundaries with work, poor sleeping patterns and overall neglect of self-care. I had to check my pressure weekly then monthly as it lowered slightly. I changed my diet, went for evening walks, increased my potassium intake and ate oatmeal daily. What I still struggled with was enforcing the boundaries I knew I needed to put in place.
Five months later, I am 100% in the clear. My blood pressure has been consistently 120/80 or below for the last month! No medications or medical intervention. Elated would be an understatement, my doctor simply said, keep doing whatever it is you are doing. True to character, I thought about this all afternoon. What is it that I am doing differently today than 5 months ago?
Here is the honest proven truth. Consistency.
I was determined to understand what brought me joy, what really made me blissful and happy. Once I figured it out, I consistently carved out time to indulge. I never rushed the experience, I allow the moments to linger and fill me, to breathe slower and deeply, to relish in the now.
Carving out time required me to set boundaries with my time. We read all the articles and the memes on social media from self-care experts. No, is a complete sentence, how to set boundaries etc. What the memes don’t tell you is how difficult it is to say no, or how much will power and discipline it takes to enforce boundaries when we have been conditioned to do the opposite our entire lives.
My idea of being successful at work is that I had too always be on. If my phone rang at 8pm I had to answer it, If I saw an email notification pop up labelled high importance on a Saturday, I had to respond and if my boss asked me to call on Sunday to discuss a report, I must say yes regardless of what I had planned. My thought process meant in order to do your job well meant you had to overcommit yourself and be always consumed with work- and work-related things. How much further from the truth could I have been.
It wasn’t until I called a co-worker after 6pm one weekday evening, twice, with no response, the following day she informed me, I do not answer calls after 5:30. The workday ends at 4:30, I need my personal time especially during this global crisis. Her ability to be firm with her boundaries allowed me permission to do the same. It was so hard! I had to do it incrementally. But mostly, I had to give myself grace that if I don’t answer my phone at 7pm, that does not make me a bad person or employee, it shows self-respect and self-preservation. Every week, I set a timeline that I would stop working, and a timeline I would stop answering my phone. Though I did not always stick to it based on what was going on in the office, I kept to it about 80% of the time.
With my newfound time, I cooked dinner daily, and my family and I sat around the table and broke bread, I read, I danced, I went for evening walks without the rush. I planned family and solo activities for the weekends and vacations, I day dream about the things I’m planning and prepare my mind and body for great experiences.
I often say, you don’t get a happy life, you create it. That quote holds endless truth. We have to make choices daily to create space for happiness. No one is handed a happy life- no one. We all have equally opportunities daily to decide what a happy life looks like for each one of us. For me, it’s dancing daily, loud deep belly laughter, stillness and deep breathes, outdoor dining, evening walks, water, adventures. To you it will be different.
It is also important to Create luxury in your everyday life. Stop saving things for special occasions. I used to be guilty of that. Only using my cloth napkins for Christmas and Easter. Saving lingerie for occasions and only using certain perfumes for special events. Nope, I use whatever I own whenever I want. We will use the best dinnerware in our house on a Wednesday evening because I feel like it. There are so many small tweaks we can make to our daily routine to experience luxury. For my evening showers, I spray essential oils in the bath, light my candles and turn on some music. Be honest how bougie is that! Ha!
Find time to be still and understand where your joy stems from. Be bold enough to carve out time and create the life you so deserve, be unapologetic about it! If anything let my desire to consistently enforce my boundaries to carve out a happy life inspire you to do just the same.
My top Three small indulgencies: