7 Days of Happiness

Entry 8 Eight 7 Seven Days of Happiness Week Happy Learning Warwick Castle Challenge Trebuchet German Vitamin D Try Something New Sweet Treat Charity Charitable Adventure

I’ve been trying out different ways to consciously introduce more happiness into my life for a while now. It’s been a lot of fun but pretty sporadic and unstructured which is good, because happiness itself is a little erratic and does as it pleases.

However, to kick things up a notch, I decided to take the ideas from my first 7 blog posts and consolidate them into one intensive week of hard-core happiness. 7 ideas, 7 days, any order I liked but I had to fit them around my day-to-day life and make sure nothing was missed out! I’m going to set myself this challenge after every 7 posts so if you want to follow along at home, this is Week One:

One | Do Something Charitable
Two | Practice Learning a Language
Three | Get Some Vitamin D
Four | Try Something New
Five | Be Childish
Six | Give Someone an Adventure
Seven | Give Someone a Sweet Treat

The night before I started I planned out which activity would fit into which day. It was already a busy week so it was important to be prepared!

Entry 8 Eight 7 Seven Days of Happiness Week Happy Learning Warwick Castle Challenge Trebuchet German Vitamin D Try Something New Sweet Treat Charity Charitable Adventure

Wednesday | Get Some Vitamin D

I concluded it doesn’t matter when you start as long as you can plan 7 consecutive days of happy tasks. I began on a Wednesday.

Getting Vitamin D was the hardest task to plan into the week as it is entirely weather dependent but I was lucky today. The sun was shining and I work just down the road from a park so I spent 50 minutes of bliss, tucked up on a wall with “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend” by Katarina Bivald. I managed to do this for several lunchtimes this week but as we reach autumn it’ll be harder to get good sunlight so Vitamin D supplements are a must to keep me healthy!

Thursday | Practice Learning a Language

I’ve been learning German with Duolingo and you only have to practice for a few minutes each day to keep the cogs whirring! Thursdays are often a busy day for me so I chose this task and managed to practice for ten minutes as I was getting ready for bed.

Friday | Be Childish

When I was in school I’d spend all my time in the art room so the recent trend for adult colouring books ticks a lot of my boxes. After we’d been out for the evening my boyfriend and I sat down for a couple of minutes at the end of the day and relaxed with our colouring books and a film. I am much better at staying within the lines than I used to be.

Entry 8 Eight 7 Seven Days of Happiness Week Happy Learning Warwick Castle Challenge Trebuchet German Vitamin D Try Something New Sweet Treat Charity Charitable Adventure

Saturday | Give Someone a Sweet Treat

Saturday was a very busy day, packed with happy activities! I had plans to see a friend in the evening and we are both big fans of superheroes, Harry Potter, Disney and junk food so I made us some teeny fairy cakes and decorated them. I have affectionately named them “messy little nerd cakes”. Fortunately she was able to identify the symbols without too much embarrassment on my part! If anyone has any icing tips, I’m all ears!

Entry 8 Eight 7 Seven Days of Happiness Week Happy Learning Warwick Castle Challenge Trebuchet German Vitamin D Try Something New Sweet Treat Charity Charitable Adventure

Sunday | Give Someone an Adventure

My partner and I already had plans to visit Warwick Castle on Sunday as we’d bought a combo-ticket for that and the aquarium several weeks ago. When we arrived I also bought us tickets to see the Castle Dungeons as part of our adventuring. We left, happy but horrified, after a gruesome journey into the dark history of the castle. I want to go back towards Christmas and see how they decorate for the festivities!

Monday | Try Something New

I play hockey fairly regularly and also visit the gym and swim but I decided to join my Mum at her Pilates class and try it out for the first time. I had no idea what to expect and it turned out to be a gruelling hour of arm exercises that would leave me incapable of reaching high shelves for days! I definitely felt the burn and enjoyed it, despite struggling through! I have since discovered that the instructor assumed I was 6 years younger than I am (presumably because my mum looks too young to have a 23-year-old 😉 ) and was taking it easy on me! Yikes!

Tuesday | Be Charitable

Tuesday. Last day! It’s been a lot of fun. I couldn’t manage anything quite as drastic as in my original blog post as I’m still waiting for my hair to grow back but there are plenty of other ways to make a difference. In the last couple of weeks I have had a sort out and given loads of my books, clothes and DVDs to the British Heart Foundation to sell. Some of my stuff wasn’t suitable for selling but would be useful to a local homelessness centre so I popped onto their website today and checked out the section that says what they need and took that list with me to the supermarket. It cost very little to get loads of the items they needed and add them to the pile I was donating.

7 Days of Happiness | Week One

This intensive week of happiness is over but I’ll keep using the ideas from it wherever I can. If you’re interested in giving it a go then just follow the list I’ve made and plan it around your weekly schedule. The best thing about this is that it’s designed to make you happy so if you’re not feeling like doing something or can’t make it fit into just seven days then there’s no pressure and no guilt. It’s all about doing the things that work for you. Let me know if you try it out!

Entry 8 Eight 7 Seven Days of Happiness Week Happy Learning Warwick Castle Challenge Trebuchet German Vitamin D Try Something New Sweet Treat Charity Charitable Adventure

My Neck Is Cold

Long Hair Donation My Neck Is Cold Brain Tumour Research Little Princess Trust Blonde

My first entry into this journal is not quite about happiness but of a growing optimism. Inevitably, in striving for greater life fulfilment, there will be times when I make decisions that don’t immediately fill me with joy. Some of the things we do for happiness, such as exercising towards a fitness goal or working long hours to ultimately land a dream job, can be unpleasantly challenging in the meantime. Other things will simply feel like the wrong decisions.

Today I completed a challenge I’d been considering for several years: I cut off most of my hair. I didn’t expect it to be so emotionally affecting – so painful. I’d grown my hair for nearly five years with the intention to one day cut it off and donate the length of it to charity so that children going through chemotherapy have better access to free, real hair wigs. In order to make the haircut even more worthwhile I asked friends and family to sponsor me on JustGiving and raise funds for Brain Tumour Research and we have so far collected nearly £400 and that number is still rising! I am so grateful for the support and enthusiasm that has come my way and for the messages of encouragement this morning as I was on my way to the hairdresser.

The end result, however, is bittersweet. It will take some time to get used to this new look and to find ways of styling it that don’t make me look like Justin Beiber, Peter Pan, or Hillary Clinton. The next few times I wash my hair I will use far too much shampoo and conditioner. I will keep putting my emergency hairband on my wrist, forgetting that it is now entirely useless. I will continue to run my hands over the back of my head and realise in panic that my ponytail is missing. I will reach to un-tuck my hair from my bag strap every time I put it over my shoulder. And, in time, I will grow to love my hair again.

I will remember the people who supported me with their kind words and donations every time I look in the mirror. I will think of the little boy or girl receiving a free wig made of my hair from the Little Princess Trust to help them cope through chemotherapy. These children who are so young and so brave and so resilient in the face of cancer. I will think of all the money raised to aid research into brain tumours and fight to save lives so that people like my Aunt have a greater chance of surviving. I will remember Auntie Ann, who was taken too soon and who also rocked short hair. I will listen to every person telling me they’re pleased I did it or they like the haircut. I will quickly begin to believe them.

Above all I will acknowledge that it’s only hair, it will mean much more to someone else, and it will grow back.

Visit my JustGiving page to read more or donate.