1. Keep your family close.
Keep them in your mind and keep them in your heart. But most importantly, keep them in your contacts list so you can call them at 2.30am sobbing uncontrollably because your favourite character died in that TV show you’ve been obsessing over for the past few months (sorry, Mum).
2. Do nice things for other people.
Hold a door open for a stranger. Buy a sandwich for a homeless person. Surprise your colleagues with Monday morning coffee from that little place down the street. Doing things that make other people happy makes you happy.
3. See the funny side.
When something humiliating happens, it’s a lot easier to deal with if you can just get on board and laugh at yourself. For example:
- I failed my cycling proficiency test in Primary 7 because I was concentrating too hard on riding in a straight line and I ended up running the examiner over.
- While formatting a document with my new manager looking over my shoulder, I was leaning my elbow on my desk and resting my chin on my knuckles. My elbow/hand/entire arm slipped from underneath me and my face ended up having a very unfortunate and unexpected meeting with my laptop.
- One lovely May morning, I was woken by the doorbell ringing. I peeked through the curtains to see who it was. It was the postman and he had a box in his hands which, I realised, was probably the birthday present I had ordered for my friend a few days earlier. I scrambled to put my dressing gown on, holding it closed with my crossed arms as I rushed to get to the door before he left. I got there on time and all was going well until I stupidly reached out to take the clipboard from him to sign for the parcel and my dressing gown fell open. It is at this point I should inform you that I had been sleeping naked.
Though embarrassing at the time, moments like these are insignificant drops in the wonderfully strange ocean of life. You’ll tell people about them and they will laugh, and you will laugh too – eventually. (Or you will smile proudly, feeling content in the knowledge that you have made an elderly postman’s day.)
4. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
It’s easy to be overly critical of your work, your choices or your body.
Everyone has woken up after a night out and thought, “I wish I hadn’t done/said/drunk that.” Everyone has left an important task until the last minute then scrambled through it, knowing that it could have been so much better if they had started it earlier instead of wasting time swiping through stories and updates senselessly. Everyone has looked in the mirror and wished that part of them was smaller or bigger or thinner or taller.
People are imperfect and prone to mistakes by nature. Our quirks, habits and eccentricities make us who we are; embrace yours and those of the people around you.
5. Stop letting the little things trip you up and drag you down.
Bad day at work? Move on. Silly fight with a friend? Forget about it. Don’t carry the weight of problems passed with you; they will bruise your heart and cloud your head.
Tomorrow is a new day and with it will come new opportunities to be better, to be kinder – to be happy.