Spoiler alert: I am no expert in how to be happy. I have no expertise or accreditations of any sort in the study of happiness or psychology, and zero qualifications in either mental or physical health (I'm also a bit of a natural Eeyore, truth be told). So why am I suddenly waffling on about feelgood living like some woefully cringe daytime TV wellness guru? Well, short story is, I’ve found myself to be on a bit of an unintentional personal journey to seek out easy ways to live life more positively and boost my wellbeing. And because I'm a massive over-sharer, I'm bringing you along for the ride.
WAIT… YOU’RE ON A PERSONAL WELLBEING JOURNEY?
Yeah, I know, I rolled my own eyes while writing that part... Thing is, I’m not really sure if it’s because I’m a busy, working mum in my 40s with all the hormone changes this special stage brings with it, or if it’s because I am pretty convinced that I have ADHD (like my son - and possibly the rest of my family). Or maybe it’s simply that living in a crazy, chaotic house full of ADHD (my circus) makes life more challenging in itself, or it’s because I’m in what experts call ‘the sandwich years’ (dependent kids, ageing parents, more financial responsibilities and life stressors)… Whatever variable has pushed me into assessing my chaotic, complicated, messy world, I've got to a point where I’m quite simply fed up with feeling overwhelmed and would instead prefer to feel more damn joy. For me, the concept of feelgood living has developed from a passing interest to a bit of a self-care prescription.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR MY OTHER LIFE
At its core, MOL has always been about feelgood fashion - you know the feeling when you put on a favourite top? That. I’ve always been a fan of dopamine dressing, and wanted to make T-shirts and sweatshirts that made women feel good as well as look good. That meant soft, wearable fabrics and uplifting designs with happy, mood-boosting colours. Working with sustainable fabrics and eco-friendly inks, and donating to charity where I can, hopefully further adds to that joyful purchase experience for my customers.
And now MOL is evolving - just as life does - with new designs to mark the fact that I have outsourced the production process to an external printing company. This was a decision I made in order to create more time and space for me to focus on my circus (and more joy-seeking). And it made sense that the feelgood fashion angle now also incorporates feelgood living, as it’s relevant to all of us. Life is pretty crazy, and we owe it to ourselves to live as positively as we can, even if it's just doing one small thing a day that makes us feel better.
So I'm on a mission to discover easy, actionable ways to infuse life with more positivity. This means that, as well as offering feelgood fashion via My Other Life clothing and accessories, I'll be sharing nuggets of wellbeing wisdom, in case you'd like to try any of it on for size. And the new clothing designs will reflect the whole joy-seeking vibe, bringing a nicely satisfying connection between the two.
WELLBEING WINS MADE EASY
But here’s the thing. I don’t know about you, but my overloaded, perpetually distracted monkey brain needs workable, super-accessible and simple fixes I can bring into my life right now. I have no time (or energy) for a radical life overhaul or any major changes I just won't keep up after the shine wears off. And I know from connecting with my customers and social media followers that many of you relate. Easy happy hacks, wellbeing wins and bite-size joy are what I’m here for - and as small habits are easier to implement and maintain, I'm not setting myself up for a fail.
Also, anything that's not remotely realistic to keep up or that feels too Pollyanna or doesn't sit comfortably with me also has to go. My natural Eeyore is also a raging cynic with a whole line in sarcasm, so while I'm willing to open myself to trying new things in the name of social science, if it doesn't feel authentic to me, I'm out.
HERE’S THE SCIENCE BIT
So we all know how MAHOOSIVE the health and wellbeing industry is. The sheer avalanche of information out there on How to Live Life Well makes my brain ache. Which is why I want to break it down into simple positive changes I can bring into my already-busy life without too much fuss - ways that are scientifically proven to make a difference. I’m going to be delving a little bit into positive psychology and the main areas in which The Experts believe we can make ourselves happier and healthier (I’m calling them Joy Zones, because it amuses me. More on these later).
I’m also looking forward to talking to lots of interesting people in the wellbeing field, from nutritionists to yoga teachers to artists, to get some happy hacks I can try out for myself. I’ll be sharing these in a podcast (launching soon!) so that you can easily consume them as you go about your own busy lives (high five to my podcasting-while-making-kids-dinner crew).
I know it’s going to take a bit of a mindset shift, as it can be hard to look for the positives when your default mode might (unintentionally) be set to negative (maybe out of exhaustion, overwhelm, fear, lack of support, etc). But I truly believe we have the capacity to find the joy, every day - even a reluctant old cynic like me. Our minds have the ability to grow and improve just as much as our bodies do, and I am ready to exercise my joy-seeking muscle (stop sniggering at the back), so that looking on the bright side becomes a habit. Physical health has to start with mental health, every time.
So, just to clarify, I will NOT be offering health advice in any way, shape or form and - disclaimer alert - at this point I ought to make it clear once again that I am not a health professional (though after almost 11 years of motherhood, I can tell you to the exact minute how much sleep is required to be able to function as a human being the next day, and I can give you the lowdown on intestinal worms should you be so inclined...). Instead, I just wanted to take a curious delve into easy ways we can crank up the joy levels and, by extension, upgrade our self care a little. So do you fancy joining me on my journey? Fab. Strap yourselves in and let's do this.