On the toughest of days I make the biggest effort to tell each other 3 happy things from that day, and it is always amazing how it changes a mood and helps put things into perspective. During the start of lockdown and isolation I felt the need for a little more of these type of prompts and motivation to help slightly adjust moods. I put together a list of 56 positive phrases and prompts in a HappyJar and kept it handy for whenever we needed it.
If you already follow this blog, you will know a little about our story and what we have endured over these years with medical health issues. The things we were faced with handed me one of the most challenging choices of my life: to dwell in the darkness and negativity of it all or to try to find grains of positivity. And I will tell you now, that s**t is hard- I cannot count the days I was miserable, the days I wanted to disappear or run away from it all. It’s not something I am proud of but it is there.
-It is not easy to find positivity in days your child is lying in a hospital bed.
-It is not easy to find positivity when after months of your sons regular hospital appointments you find a lump in your breast.
-It is not easy to find positivity when you end up in the ER with a possible stroke.
-It is not easy to find positivity when the doctors tell you they don’t know if they can find a solution for your child’s health problems.
I am faced with these challenges very often but I learned that even the smallest thing can make a large positive impact.
Where we are now
COVID-19 – probably the most dreaded 5 letter word of the 21st century. The outbreak of Coronavirus sent the world into a tizzy, a life altering, historic, worldwide frenzy. The questions and uncertainties may have subsided slightly and the state of emergency may have been lifted but the repercussions and fear are still clear and present. Months of social distancing, isolation, lockdown and the need for instant home schooling pole vaulted entire nations into a state of panic we would have never fathomed we’d need to live through in a million years. But here we are, living through a pandemic.
In my personal opinion, the virus affected each and every one of us in one way or other- in good ways and bad ways. The only difference that is evident to me is the level and intensity of the disruption to individuals, families, relationships and communities – the variations are vast, but affected nonetheless. For some it was a matter of a few changes and life continued and for others it shook the core of their livelihood and wellbeing.
What struck me profoundly was the effect of the coronavirus on children. Having my own little one to help through the days made me realise how tough it was going to be for little ones to process this time in our lives. The closing of schools not only robbed children of a class to attend but took away a sense of structure, stimulation the school environment provided, the opportunity to be social and so much more.
As adults, many of us have an inbuilt mental capacity to take stock of what is happening, make assessments and act accordingly and even that was challenging – no one expected the extensive changes that were required. Those of us with children questioned the way we portrayed this anxiety and fear in front of them. With very little concrete information it was so hard to give accurate replies without feeling uneasy about the amount of truth and reality we allowed or didn’t allow them to be exposed to. Whether we liked it or not anxiety and fear encompassed our lives and so many things about how we live our lives has changed.
Now things are more of a new normal and people are slowly trying to get a grip on this new reality – continued social distancing, the mask wearing, the possibility of schools never being the way we knew them before and all the changes that we need to incorporate into our lives. The constant, however, through all this has been trying to manage mental health and stability – that of ourselves as well as our childrens.
It took me a very long time, but I have learned that a slight change of mindset can make a whole world of difference. This way of thinking doesn’t happen overnight and just like we train our bodies at the gym, we need to train ourselves with ways to activate these happy thoughts.
The HappyJar allowed us to actively access positivity – it was tactile and something that we could reach to every day, as many times as we needed. There are days we don’t go to it but then there are days when we look for it more than once. For a child, the act of reaching to something they can actually feel makes the whole concept easier to grasp. They can actually feel the jar and see the note and knowing they are going to pull out something to help make them smile is incredibly effective.
Even when things look and feel terrible, we still have something we can access to help us find that little bit of happiness we so very much need.
All you need to do to make your own HappyJar:
-download and print the set of 56 HappyJar prompts
-cut them out so that you have 56 individual little notes
-place them into a jar
-pick out a HappyNote whenever you need
Things don’t need to be perfect to be amazing. It’s true that things are very different to what they usually are, but not everything is bad.