Hygge, Health and Happiness

This week I have been plagued by migraines.

There is very little room for hygge and happiness when your brain is trying to squish out of your ears and your vision is strobing. As much as I wanted to crawl into a dark hole, life had to go on. So I pushed through with the responsibilities that come with being an adult.

On day three of Camp Migraine I did what all responsible adults do in times of crisis, I phoned my mom.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, when the going gets tough the moms get called and they do their mom thing. Within minutes I was driven to a Chinese massage therapist who worked her magic on my aching body and head. Mom then took me back to her house and made me lunch, all whilst keeping up a running commentary of how much better I was looking and didn’t I need another cup of tea, glass of water or sandwich? Then I was instructed to book an appointment with an optometrist and to seriously look at my stress levels because I’m a mom too and if I’m unwell, then how can I do my mom thing? And while I’m at it, go and buy some new pillows with better neck support.

Why is it so hard to ask for help? Why do we hurt ourselves and make ourselves sick to keep up the facade of being superhuman? When did asking for help become a sign of weakness? I believe this is something we all need to consider because human beings need to be helped.

Whether you need a sympathetic ear, a hug or a vent session we should all be able to have someone to do that with. Celebrating successes on our own makes no sense. We throw parties for new jobs, promotions, birthdays, new babies, retirements, achievements and new loves. Why, then, do we suffer in silence through anxiety, sadness, pain or anger? Why are we hiding these feelings?

This week I had dinner with three accomplished, smart and funny women. The food was delicious, the wine plentiful and the company was marvellous. It took us three months to get around to seeing each other and have vowed to do it more often because everyone needs a break. Everyone needs a different perspective and everyone needs to feel safe and appreciated. Our Happy Club is brimming with wit, acceptance and love. There are four of us but there is always room for more.

Happy is as happy does.

Look after yourself, and each other.

Go ahead and cry. I’m here to be with you – Fred Rogers

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Getting Hygge With It

There is no more hygge feeling than curling up with your sleeping son on a rainy afternoon and falling asleep listening to his breathing. My hygge levels reached new heights. I have been carrying that feeling for days, drawing on it as my stress levels have soared and my health came under siege.

As the seasons are changing, my body has issued out an all access pass to every germ out there and they all thoughtfully brought a plus one and stayed for the after party. I have become that irritating sick person with my tissues and throat lozenges.

However, I have persevered because I have something that a lot of people need and I was not going to let flu get in the way of that.

The South African National Blood Service requires 4 500 units of blood a day to keep up with demand, one unit can save up to three lives. It costs nothing and if you meet the donor requirements you can donate a unit every 56 days. All in all it takes around 20 minutes. Not content to donate just my own blood, I threw the challenge out to my incredible colleagues and we all donated blood on Friday. We each left with a pint less of blood and a heart full of knowing that combined, forty five people could live another day.

I have also adopted two cots at http://www.tlc.org.za, an organisation that looks after abandoned babies. For a minimal amount each month, my contribution will provide nappies, food, clothing and anything else that these two little people may require.

What I have come to with doing these two very small things is that if I have a choice and the means then there is no reason to not act. By being healthy and having some disposable income I have had a positive impact on five people.

My heart is full of hygge, my life is full of hygge, I’m a hygge ball.

Still blowing my nose though.

And if you’re homesick, give me your hand and I’ll hold it – Birdy

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Healthy = Happy

We all know that no one is more miserable than when they are sick. Take the common cold for example: aching joints, watering eyes, blocked nostrils, fever and a crushing weight in your head. You groan and sigh whilst you shuffle around the house trailing used tissues and the smell of Vicks. Sometimes you feel so sorry for yourself that you cry a little, nothing is any comfort and the people around you find you annoying. It’s no surprise then that when you experience ill health, you experience unhappiness. But did you know that when you have a positive outlook on life and are generally happy you will recover from these setbacks much faster?

As someone who has sky rocketing stress levels, I know that exercise will help me handle stress better and create a healthier body and mind. But I am also aware of my limitations and have come to the conclusion that I am not designed for exercise. Hibernation, yes. Exercise, not so much. A brief foray into my attempts at fitness:

I tried yoga. I fell asleep in the classes and developed migraines after each session. I can stand on my head though [if there’s a handy wall to lean against].

I joined a gym and got myself a trainer. He fleeced me of a lot of money and the gym smelled of sweaty socks. Also, I fell off the treadmill and pulled my quads so badly I couldn’t walk up the stairs without assistance.

I [very briefly] tried hip hop dancing. They called me J-No.

I tried kickboxing and rediscovered that I have no coordination. I got tangled up in the skipping rope and grazed my chin. Also, the instructor said I talked too much. And I don’t know my left jab from a right uppercut.

I tried running, on my first ‘fun run’ I got lapped by a lovely woman in a wheelchair. She laughed, I laughed, then I gasped at the intensity of the stitch that made me go blind in one eye for several minutes.

So exercise is not for me. Instead I chase a toddler around the house during the day and carry his not insubstantial weight around all night. I have done over 7 000 steps in one day at a shopping mall whilst carrying several heavy bags. I run up and down the 17 stairs in my house a lot because I have the memory of a goldfish. If you have long hair and a hair dryer then you will get a bicep work out at least twice a week.

It’s important to be active but find the way that works for you. Health isn’t only physical, its mental and social too. Do things in moderation. Enjoy and appreciate the life that you have, the body that enables you to live and love and the mind that is your biggest asset to a fulfilled existence.

You do your body good, your body will do you good – Floyd Mayweather, Jnr

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