September Happiness Challenge: 30 Days to Find Your Happy!

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It’s that time of year again! Summer is coming to an end and many people find themselves with the end of summer blues this time of year. The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting cooler, schools are starting back up again, and the summer slow down that many experienced in the workplace over the last couple of months is starting to pick back up again. Feeling down this time of year is very common as this is a time of transition and many struggle with transitions, even if the transitions are positive. There is a quote that I love as I believe it sums up the end of summer/beginning of fall quite well, highlighting this transitional period and opportunity for new beginnings..

 “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall”– F. Scott Fitzgerald

So, in the spirit of the fall season fast approaching, I thought it would be a fun idea to start a “September Happiness Challenge!” What’s this you ask? Each day for the month of September, I am challenging you to try one of these tips to improve your mood and promote overall happiness. Many people wait until the New Year to start making changes to better themselves, but why wait? This seems to be a common theme as people are always “waiting” to find their happiness. “I can’t wait for Friday”, “I can’t wait for break”, “I can’t wait for the holidays”. Do those things bring happiness? Of course! But, we shouldn’t negate the everyday things which can bring us happiness too. We get so caught up in waiting for future events that we forget about the NOW. So, this September, I am challenging you to be mindful, present, and in the moment. I am also hopeful that you’ll find happiness is more attainable than you may think.

Are you ready for the challenge? Great, here we go!

Day 1: Write down one thing you are grateful for in a gratitude journal. If you have more than one thing that you’re grateful for, awesome! Jot those down too! But try to write down at least one thing. (BONUS! If you happen to continue to do this little activity more than one day out of the month because you find it to be super awesome, I won’t stand in your way!)

Day 2: Make a list of all the things that make you happy.

Day 3: Try and implement one of those things which makes you happy.

Day 4: Move your body. This can be your normal workout or something different. It can be for 5 minutes or one hour. It doesn’t matter, just move! (BONUS! This may be a good opportunity to try a new workout or exercise you’ve been thinking about! You know, the ones sitting on your “health and fitness” board on Pinterest!)

Day 5: Look in the mirror and smile. Yes, that’s it. Just look in the mirror and smile.

Day 6: Social media detox! No social media for one full day. Social media increases feelings of anxiety and depression. It is easy to compare yourself with others, which then leads to feelings of unhappiness and dissatisfaction within your own life.

Day 7: Ask for help. We tend to try to do everything on our own and this can be exhausting, stressful, and can lead to unhappiness. Today, ask someone for help with something you could use a hand with and do not feel badly about asking.

Day 8: Get some fresh air! Go for a walk, sit on a bench, or just step outside of your house/office and take in the fresh air for a few minutes. It’s September and you will soon feel a crispness in the air that will give your senses a little treat!

Day 9: Breathe deeply. Inhale through the nose, hold, exhale through the mouth. And repeat.

Day 10: Make your bed in the morning after you wake up. (BONUS! Wash your sheets, too! Fresh sheets = pure bliss!)

Day 11: Listen to your favorite song. Better yet, blast that song and sing along! And if the urge to replay the song strikes, don’t fight it! (BONUS! You can even dance too! It never hurts to get some extra movement in there!)

Day 12: Practice kindness today, no matter how big or small. Give someone a smile, hold the door open for a stranger, offer someone words of encouragement, or buy someone a cup of coffee at the coffee shop. Random acts of kindness not only make others feel good but also make us feel good, too.

Day 13: Give something away. Go through your closet and donate old shoes or clothes.

“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go”. 

Day 14: Laugh! You’ve heard it before, “Laughter is the best medicine”.

Day 15: Pray. Unhappiness is often felt due to a void of some kind. Connecting to a higher power often helps to fill that void.

Day 16: Say “no” to something that is not a priority to you. You can do anything but you can’t do everything and this will help you practice setting limits and boundaries in your life.

Day 17: No complaints today! This one may be difficult for some, especially those who tend to feel unhappy as unhappiness often cultivates from negativity. (Life hack: If you slip up and do complain, it’s ok, just try to be mindful of this. Then, try to reframe that complaint into something positive.)

Day 18: Get your beauty rest! Get 6-8 hours of sleep tonight! Your body, under-eyes, and mind will thank you.

Day 19: Meditate. If you have never tried this before and don’t know where to start, click here to learn more.

Day 20: Read something you enjoy. It can be a blog post, a book, a magazine article, or a newspaper article. (BONUS! When you go to read today, try to find a quiet space and enjoy a nice cup of tea or coffee while you read!)

Day 21: Re-evaluate your “to-do” list today. What can you leave off this list for today?

Day 22: Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while to say hello.

Day 23: Delete your email inbox and unsubscribe to emails you no longer have use for.

Day 24: Cook or bake one of the recipes you have pinned on your “food” board on Pinterest, but haven’t tried yet.

Day 25: Give a loved one a 10 second hug. (Fun fact! One of my dear friends and her hubby swear by this and even incorporated it into their wedding ceremony!)

Day 26: Spend some time looking through old photo albums and reminisce about happy memories with loves ones.

Day 27: Ask yourself what you need today. Listen to yourself, be in tune to your needs. Then, implement whatever that need may be.

Day 28: Accept a compliment without trying to negate it. Just say, “Thank you!”

Day 29: Self-care day! Lucky for you, I wrote a guest blog post on the importance of self-care, which includes a number of ideas on how to implement self-care into your daily routine! You can check it out here.

Day 30: Pat yourself on the back! Whether you did all 30 of these or just 1, you still made the effort to work towards finding your happy and you should be super proud of yourself!

BONUS TIP! Book a therapy appointment! (Says the therapist…)

Some of you may be reading this post and thinking to yourself, “is she serious?” as these tips may not be enough for you right now. And you know what? That is ok. Sometimes unhappiness goes deeper than just getting caught up in the everyday grind and losing sight of the here and now. Sometimes unhappiness is so deeply rooted and hard to shake. If that is the case for you, there are still ways you can work towards finding your happy and therapy is a great start. Trained mental health professionals work with individuals to identify symptoms, triggers, and come up with an appropriate and individualized treatment plan to start combating the depressive symptoms which may be present. If you are unsure where to start, psychologytoday.com is a wonderful website where individuals can search for local providers. Additionally, calling your insurance company and asking for a list of providers is a great starting point as well!

For those of you who are reading this and thinking, “Ok, this challenge seems doable!”, give it a try! I always recommend before any challenge writing down how you feel before you start and then writing down how you feel after you’ve completed it, so you can see the differences. This challenge is meant to cultivate positive change. There are no rules. If you find something which works better for you than something else, awesome! Stick with that! If you get creative and come up with your own idea, even better! I would love to hear how you felt at the end of this challenge! Feel free to reach out and share your experience with me!

I would LOVE to know what spoke to you today and encourage you to comment below and share with me!

If you are interested in learning more about my therapy services, check out my website HERE. Seeking mental health services can be daunting and if you are finding my posts resonate with you, it is likely you are feeling ready to take that next step to work on leading a happier, healthier life! I would LOVE to support you in starting this journey and welcome you to send me an email at counselingservices@smsteeves.com.

ALSO! Check out my FREE “How Do I know If Therapy Is Right For Me” printable to start the process of deciding whether or not taking this next step is right for YOU! Just add your name + email address below and you will receive an email with a link to your FREEBIE!

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Be well,

Sarah

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