I have been wanting to do a month long series for quite awhile. I would read them on other sites and think “what a great idea” and “wow, it takes dedication to write about ONE topic for an entire month” and “I totally need to do that”. I never climbed aboard that train, though, because it always came down to one simple problem–I had no idea what to write about.
Writing about one topic for an entire month is hard. Deciding what to write about it even harder. I knew it needed to be something that would be meaningful for you, my beloved readers, but it had to be something that I cared enough about to keep going and not quit mid-month. I also didn’t want it to be a boring, recycled topic that’s been beaten to death. So my choices were limited.
And then. Then I had idea. Why not talk about ways to be or at least feel happier? There’s all this advice out there that says “choose happiness”. I’m not knocking the advice entirely but when you suffer from depression or a number of other mental illnesses, it’s not that easy to just choose it (believe me, we would if we could). You need small, specific, actionable steps that, when taken separately or in their entirety, can help you feel happier (at least temporarily). They’re not necessarily a cure, long-term, for depression but these steps can alleviate some of it for a day or an afternoon or even an hour.
Which is something. Because when we start feeling good about one aspect of our lives or working on improving one area of self-esteem for even a small amount of time, we can then roll that into working on another and another until we feel good enough to get out of bed or leave the house or start to feel “normal” again. I know that it’s hard to feel productive or ambitious enough to even pick up a pen when you’re in the throes of depression but please believe me that it’s worth it to try. And if all you do is try, then you’re halfway there and you should be proud of yourself. Just try again tomorrow.
I’ll be here for you whenever you’re ready.
Now, a quick disclaimer: this series is not at all intended to be a substitute for a certified mental health professional. It is intended to simply provide things you can do, at home, as a supplement. If you are seeking professional help, please continue to do so.
Another quick note: I really struggled with what to call this series. While it’s coming from a place of battling depression, it’s not intended for only people like me. It’s intended for anyone who’s working on improving themselves, their self-esteem or just wants to a few extra ways to feel good. All of the action steps can do that, too. So please stick with me.
And finally, I’ll be working on all the steps along with you. I have a long way to go in my happiness and self-esteem journey and these steps will provide me with a playbook as well. So be prepared to read all about what I’m doing this month.
By now you’re probably thinking that you want to know what today’s task is. Well, it’s a simple one. Today, for day 1, the only step you need to take is committing to working through the challenge the best that you can. That’s it. Just commit to working on as many of the steps as you can. If your only step is to bookmark this post or the main series page with a promise to yourself that you’ll work on it later, then that’s fine. This is your progress. I’m not going anywhere.
If you’re participating in the series and blog about it, please share the link (I’ll have a link widget at the bottom of each post). If you are participating and don’t feel comfortable blogging about it or you don’t have a blog, you can join the conversation on Facebook. Or just do it privately. No pressure.
Oh, last thing. I’m not calling it 31 Days to Feel Happier because that’s total bullshit. That’s making a promise that I’m not sure I can keep. But 31 actionable, clear steps that can be worked on your own time frame that will make you feel happier at some point? That’s a promise I can keep.