I was recently tagged by my friend, Hannah, over at Obliviously Awesome (she writes a great, no-nonsense blog about first-time parenting so you should definitely check that out too!) to write my 'Happiness Non-Negiotable List'.
The idea is that there are little things in our day-to-day lives which make us happy and help us get on with what we need to do (in Hannah's case being a kick-ass mum and in my case completing a PhD).
As Hannah has done, I've left out friends and family; they are obviously the most important factors contributing to my ability to be a fully-functioning human being but this list is more about the little daily things.
So, in no particular order, here are my 'happiness non-negiotables'...
The Happiness Planner
This is a relatively new acquisition. I stumbled across this planner online and promptly ordered one for myself and was definitely tempted to order one for everyone I know at the same time! It's basically just a diary but it's beautifully organised to cover all aspects of a well-rounded life with daily pages devoted to 'to-do lists', exercise, meal plans, gratitude and lessons. There's also a big section at the front designed to help you set and complete goals. I'll probably write a more in-depth post about this soon, I absolutely love it! You can buy it here.
I'm actually a bit sad to admit this but coffee is quickly becoming a non-negiotable for me. I try not to drink too much as it doesn't really agree with me and tends to make me more anxious and crankier than I'm naturally inclined to be, but a morning coffee (and increasingly slightly overpriced coffee at a local indie place where I can also work and generally pretend to be cooler than I am) definitely helps me to be more productive and feel like I'm really getting stuff done. And it definitely fits into the cliche vision of what I thought doing a PhD would be like...
This is (thankfully) not quite a daily necessity but it definitely does feature. There's a really amazing independent wine bar close to our home which is great for meeting and catching up with friends, listening to records and, if the writer's block really isn't shifting, for writing hefty chunks of a difficult chapter.
I'm increasingly coming to terms with the fact that daily exercise isn't just necessary to keep me fitting into my skinny jeans but is also absolutely necessary for my mental health. For days when I'm particularly busy, I really have to force myself to get out and do something active. At the moment I'm focusing on getting 10,000 steps in a day and committing to a weekly yoga class. My ambitious goal of running a marathon this year has fallen by the wayside since the PhD has picked up and with all the other things I've decided to commit to this year (learning to drive, Gaelic, Chinese, getting married...) but I hope that I can get a bit more running or hill-walking in at the weekends soon.
Mollie is my puppy (is she still a puppy? How long can we carry on calling her that?). Some days she drives me completely insane but most of the time her unconditional love, zest for life and her need for twice-daily walks keeps me happy and keeps the PhD in perspective.
I think there's something about not being in a work place that makes me really want to recreate the buzz and atmosphere of an office. I often achieve this by having background music on the go. A good playlist definitely makes me more inclined to keep visiting the same coffee shop/wine bar over and over and my current obsession with a certain 'Folk Pop' Spotify playlist is fast becoming a bit of a joke in our household as it has become the soundtrack to our lives.