My 7 Steps to Happiness…

There was always something about my appearance and weight that I needed to perfect, the numbers on the scale and my dress size forever governed me. Before children, I spent my life attempting fad diets, slogging away at the gym and forever beautifying myself with regular trips to the salon. There is no such time nowadays and this is something that has seriously hit home. There is no time for myself anymore. Any time I do get, I spend cleaning, washing, ironing, sweeping the only ‘ing’ I’m not doing is ‘REST’. As bitter as this may sound, I wouldn’t have it any other way. BUT…. and that’s a big but (pun fully intended)…I would dearly love to get back into those jeans.

Like a teenager finding herself, at the age of 32, I feel the memories of many insecurities rushing back. This time however, I’m much better at dealing with those feelings. I live by a few simple rules and I hope to keep it up as it is proving to be quite effective. Hold tight, they are deep… here goes:

  1. Gratitude

    Every morning, I give thanks. I’m thankful to be waking up, to be seeing my children, to be in love. I am thankful for my loving parents. I am even thankful for the fat around my belly because it reminds me that I only just gave birth to my princess 6 months ago. It is simply being thankful and grateful for everything that surrounds me. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when it is incredibly hard to see the positive but lone behold, there is one. Even if it is small – It still exists.

    Off on a tangent now… I beat myself up over the topic of religion. Whilst being born into a Hindu family, the term ‘god’ is regularly used. Whether it is our parents going to the temple or prayers celebrating holy days at home – Hinduism is very much a way of life. However, I can’t say that I accept all teachings of the religion. As a child, I simply followed my elders who kept telling me to be always thankful to god.

    I guess growing up, philosophical thinkers like Descartes and his famous proposition “I think therefore I am” have become more prominent in my way of life. The existential father himself – Kierkegaard’s main teachings explain that the meaning of life solely depends on the individual and not society or religion. He also highlights that one should live life with passion and sincerity – A man after my own heart. What I’m trying to say is that my learning will never stop, I will never have enough knowledge. ‘I think, therefore I exist’. I have the power to change my reality. Gratitude and sincerity is my way forward. I will never ask, I will always be thankful, to those around me, thankful for my thoughts and  more importantly for my being.

  2. No Regrets

    I was quite the wild child as a teenager. I have a daughter now and it sends shivers down my spine knowing that one day she too will be under the spell of these volatile hormones. Hopefully she deals with it better than I did. Whether it is the inevitable learning curves of ‘teenagehood’ or the blunders of early adulthood, I have not one iota of regret in life. There have been ‘earth swallow me up’ moments but I will relive and accept them. For it is what makes me the person I am today. I will happily teach my children this, whether they choose to accept it or not.

  3. Live for the day

    Even the term ‘Control freak’ doesn’t quite do it justice. ‘Living for the day’ was something that I could never understand. I was never spontaneous. Everything had to be planned. Until that is, I met my Royboy. He taught me to take every day as it comes and to relax. He is definitely the yin to my yang. We are polar opposites, chalk and cheese but there is thankfully a balance.

    One thing for sure, I now have no choice whatsoever but to live life for the day. With two little critters, there is no possibility in planning the day or the weekend for that matter, as anything – be it tonsillitis or poop on the car seat can totally change the course of the day. Apart from the obvious body changes and the scarce matter of time, I think this concept has to be the most testing as a new parent. I admit…I still have a problem with spontaneity, but I’m working on that.

    Carpe Diem all …..

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Me and my yin
  1. Keep moving

    I love to exercise, I loved PE as a child and I adored getting out on my bike. Thanks to my ever so loving dad, I learnt to ride my bike at 4 years old. One of the first things I did after getting my first part time job was to join the gym and I haven’t left it since. Any difference in the weighing scale, I would exert myself silly on the treadmill. I realise now that problems with my weight was all in my head, maybe even edging on obsessive.

    Boy did my attitude change after the kids. It is no way about the weight gain or loss any more but how much I’m moving. I am very lucky to have my parents round the corner so at least twice a week I am able to get my gym fix. This usually involves circuit training or when I feel like totally de-stressing – a long run on the treadmill. When I’m not going to the gym I’m not overly concerned as I’m constantly on the move with the two demanding, mini, squealing personal fitness trainers I have at home.

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  2. Love Food

    Throughout my crazy diet fads which include fasting on odd days, meat free days and  not forgetting the gluten free craze, I’ve realised I can’t avoid the inevitable. I love food. Unfortunately as a migraine sufferer there are some foods that I have to avoid – particularly processed foods. However, cooking isn’t my forte and it never has been. I have come to terms that it never will be either. I cook for the sake of eating sometimes, awful thing to admit, but it’s a fact. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like food! I adore it! I was brought up in a household with amazing cooks. Mum makes traditional indo-Mauritian cuisine all very yummy. Dishes include all types of daals, biriyanis, roughais, seafood, traditional greens and bread. The yummiest of dishes, is the simplest. It is something that my mum had as a child during the post-cyclonic times in Mauritius – bouillon cresson (watercress broth), sachini coco (coconut chutney) and pomme de terre frite (lightly fried potatoes) all served with boiled rice- yes double carbs! Dad has always cooked the best chicken curry, the perfect dish to have on a cold winter’s day or even a hot summer one – there’s always time for chicken curry! My parents have taught me a few things about eating. Firstly, always keep a fully stocked kitchen (which is usually over stocked), secondly, eat fresh with loads of greens and finally, indulge wherever possible with thorough enjoyment.

    Bon appétit!

  3. Drink Water (and champagne)

    I would’ve much rather reached for a cup of tea or coffee than good old H2O. Ridiculous, I know. We are 80% water and I never drank nearly as much as I should. Even with eating and exercising well, I wasn’t thirsty. I got myself into a terrible habit of satisfying whatever thirst I had with caffeine, squash or yes…coke. I was feeling tired, my body ached and until only recently, I needed to make that change.

    At least 2 litres of water a day, is what I get through now. Partly why I didn’t drink enough water was because if it wasn’t a hot summers day (which is hardly ever), I hated cold water. Odd I know. It took me years to work out what I needed to do.

    Amazon is the best, it’s like a sweet shop for adults and whatever idea I have in mind, I see if it’s available on Amazon. I found a BPA-free bottle (Bisphenol A – a chemical used to make certain platics) big enough to fill my daily intake of water. A 2-litre bottle, it looks like a mini water cooler and it does the trick. I am guaranteed to finish it by the evening. I’m used to the toilet trips now (it’s just like being pregnant again!) And I’m feeling full of energy.

    My dearest friends and family can vouch, as there are plenty of memorable nights out, picnics in the park, barbecues in the summer and Christmas parties to reminisce on – I love a good get together with plenty of food and more importantly – drink!

    Champagne has always been my vice, it has gotten me into enough trouble in the last 10 years, yet I believe there’s no party without it. It’s one of those drinks that makes me feel beautiful whilst drinking it…crazy?! It’s the long, slender flutes, bubbles and the crisp taste on my lips with every sip. Even writing about it, makes me want to grab a glass. No, I don’t have a drink problem; I’m just very passionate about the bubbly. So much so, for my first baby shower – Möet was served on tap – even though I couldn’t sip one bit of it. I’ve even managed to convert my whiskey- drinking husband to join me on the bubbly bandwagon.

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The last is the most important to me, it sums up everything and everyone who is part of my life. To me, it makes my world go round:

  1. Put yourself in other’s shoes

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Psychologists and philosophers call this the ‘theory of mind’ and we start to display knowledge of this from the age of four years old. It is the ability to put oneself into the thought processes of others, specifically determining their intent, beliefs and desires. I want to highlight that four year olds can do it. Unfortunately as we age, our innocence lessens and our empathic intelligence also tends to fade. This is of no surprise as we are constantly bombarded with the duties of work and home. Time is of essence. By putting oneself in other’s shoes, there is immediate acknowledgment of ways to help. Even if it’s simply opening an ear, nothing is more fulfilling than being the charitable neighbour or I quite like the term ‘shoe-shifter’.

To summarise my way to happiness: Live for the moment, eating and drinking to your ‘well exercised’ heart’s content. Be conscious of others and never forget to be grateful for all that you have.

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