42. Getting Back to Basics & Finding Real Joy

Have you ever had a period in your life where you were truly content?  Not just for an hour or a day, but for a stretch of a few weeks or more?  I got a text from the Husband this morning – he wanted to tell me how good he’d been feeling lately – I immediately wrote bak “Me too”.  And then it hit me – I haven’t felt this deeply contented in a long time.  Like it’s been a year and a half since I’ve felt this good.  Cue the thought train (yes, my little one has been watching Inside Out on repeat since I bought the DVD for her on a rainy day at the cottage in August).

You see, for the past little while, I’ve read a LOT of books in the “self-help” genre, I’ve tried saying “YES!” to things for the sake of trying new things and to add excitement to my life, I’ve changed my eating plan. I’ve changed my workout plan, and I’ve done different things with the kids.  And sure. I did have some fun.  But as a whole, none of it was really coming together to put me in the deep down happy place.

Over the summer, an idea popped up several times in things I read; “What would your 19-year old self do”.    Then yesterday, the Coach and I mused over why people can get into an eating pattern that helps them physically (they lose weight, get stronger, feel better) and mentally, but then just as easily fall out of it and back into their old physical and mental habits.  And finally, I read this post in Instagram from Emily Ley who was talking about how she is trying to care for herself the way she would care for a loved one.

As I look back on the past few weeks of this new school year, I realize that I’ve subconsciously gone back to basics, and back to many of the habits I had not just back when I was so deeply content, but back to when I was a teenager.  And not surprisingly, I find myself in that state of deep contentment and in possession of real joy again.

So . . . what exactly is it that I’m doing differently now??  Well, for starters, I’ve gone back to the workout and diet plan that works best for me.  I’ve experimented with lots of different things, and I know what works best for me and my body.  So that’s what I’m doing.  I’m cooking (with the kids), and having fun finding recipes to make – something I’ve always enjoyed doing – and finding ways to make sure that they fit into the way of eating that works best for me (higher in fat, lower in carbs, lacking in sugar and all processed foods).  I’m reading.  Novels.  Not “self-help” books.  And I’m drinking less caffeine – the by-product of having more energy!  And combined with a low- to no-sugar diet and very little alcohol, I’m sleeping better . . . which means much happier mornings.  Oh . . . and I got back into finding a way to have some “me” time again and a way to express some of my creativity – I’m taking my favourite sewing classes again (more on that later).

If you could go back to doing things the way you did at a time when you were truly happy, what would you have to change in your life to make that happen?

Of course the fact that the weather here has been absolutely stunning lately, that today, on the last day of summer, I could sit out in my backyard (with my curried sweet potato soup), and look out on a garden still fully in bloom while I write this . . . well . . . that does help with the happiness quotient in one’s life . . .

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