• Hilary McMeeking

10 steps to happiness!

Tomorrow is 29th of February, a day we only get every 4 years. Oddly, this year, I feel quite excited about getting an extra day! Perhaps it is because life is busy, and although, in reality, it is just a normal day on the calendar, it feels like I have won a whole 24 hours.


So what to do with an extra day? Wouldn't it be nice to just be able to gain some extra time somewhere in our year every month? Imagine not having to stress about all the things you have to do because you can magically get some extra time.


Trying to fit too much in to your working day or your week as a whole can mean that there is stress and tension present in your body. We are not made to be on 'high alert' all the time and the feelings of stress and anxiety can really take their toll on our mental and physical health. And, yes, I know, we can wish as much as we like but we can't really stop time or gain some extra!


So what to do? How can we get out of our anxious mind and stop the ruminating thoughts that send us into overwhelm when positive thinking feels very difficult to do. What would help us towards self care? Below are some ideas, they are based on some research from a while ago about adding things to your life to give some joy or happiness. When I read it I realised it was a fantastic list to use for the extra day I'd gained! But also a good tool to have stashed somewhere as a reminder of what can change our mindset if we feel we'd like to try a little self care and stop punishing ourselves for not being 'good enough'.


Self care is an antidote to anxiety and stress. Recognising that you need a break is essential as is recognising that you are doing everything for everyone else but yourself. Don't give away your time! You deserve a break, less stress in your life and you are worthy of being cared for, even if it is you that has to care for yourself.


If you struggle to feel good enough or know that you are pushing yourself too far but don't really know why, give me a call or book in for a free initial assessment. However if you're ready to challenge yourself to make some changes that will really help you feel happier then read on...


Try these regularly for 2 months and feel the difference.


  • Take half an hour of exercise three times a week.


  • Count your blessings. At the end of each day reflect on at least 3 things that you are grateful for, you could use a journal to note them down or a gratitude app on your phone which comes with prompts and reminders. Be specific about what you are grateful for with each thing.



  • Have an hour long, uninterrupted conversation with a good friend or partner each week.


  • Plant something: even if it's a window box or a pot. Keep it alive. We all need something to care for and nurture.


  • Cut your TV and screen time by half. Use the spare time to do things on this list!


  • Smile and say 'hello' to a stranger at least once a day.


  • Make contact with at least one safe friend or relation you have not been in contact with for a while and arrange to meet. This can be hard if you struggle with rejection but challenge yourself and give it a go. If you can't think of anyone then try taking up volunteering to find like minded people to meet and have contact with.


  • Have a good laugh at least once a day. This may include some screen time!


  • Give yourself a treat every day. This doesn't have to be expensive. it can be giving yourself permission to have a few more minutes lie in, a longer shower, an early night, a bath, some nice food to eat or some precious 'down time'. Whatever you do, take time to really enjoy it.


  • Do an extra good turn for someone; as long as you are not giving up some of your precious space to do it.


Right, I'm looking forward to my extra day tomorrow and my treat of seeing a friend for lunch. We rarely meet and when we do we often spend a couple of hours and then realise we have only had starter! What would you do with your 'extra day'?