Get yourself a happiness jar
Cheer yourself up with a happiness jar
There are times when you feel down. Totally down – exhausted, ratty, depressed. As a new parent you might wonder when you will ever feel like you’ve had enough sleep, got enough energy, or be able to raise enthusiasm for anything out of the ordinary. There will naturally be bouts of everyday life that sometimes seem to feel like a hard slog with little sign of anything hopeful or enjoyable on the horizon. You love your baby, you love your partner, but neither seem able to raise a smile let alone a laugh in you. So, what can you do? How about reaching for the Happiness Jar?
What is it? Your Happiness Jar is a way of preserving and reminding you of the good things that have happened in your life and that will happen again. It’s easy to make one – and making one in itself will bring some joy back into your life.
Take any container. An old jam jar, a box you might have kept because it was decorated prettily, even a flower vase. If it’s not decorated, dress it up. Ribbons, stickers, glitter – whatever does it for you and your partner. It’s not going to go into any competition – it’s between the two of you, so don’t fear anyone else’s judgement on how it looks.
Collect a variety of pens and pencils and bits of paper. You can use a post-it pad or just cut up waste but blank paper, and leave next to your jar.
Start off by settling down together and scribbling out (no penalties for bad handwriting or misspelling!) a handful of happy memories you’ve shared – ‘Before Baby’ (BB) and in life ‘After Baby’ (AB) start with 3-5 for each. Do it together and you’ll find you encourage each other in things you might have forgotten. Put them in your jar. Drop into your Happiness Jar any receipts for events, meals out, any bits and pieces you’ve kept that remind you of a joyful time. And go on adding ideas each day, each at least one a week.
To be sure it happens, you could choose a set day of the week when you each add to the jar a thought/memory that made you feel grateful that particular week. However, glum you feel there’s always something that gives you a lift and writing it down not only fixes it in your mind, but leaves it there to cheer you up another time.
So what do you do with your Happiness Jar?
- Anytime you feel blue, reach for it and take out one or two reminders of happier times. Do it on your own, read them to your baby, share them with your partner.
- Save all your notes and plan to have a binge on New Year’s Eve, to remember all the good times in the year, or on New Year’s Day, to set the celebrate the year ahead.
- Keep your notes for when your baby is older. We often recall and verbally revisit the funny, lovely things they do but equally we can forget some moments. Your Jar will keep them safe and give you baby some keepsakes from their earlier life.
- If you have more children, keep a jar for each of them and eventually make an old-fashioned scrapbook for them to return to later in life.
- Instead of a Valentine’s Day card, or even as one of their birthday or festival presents, give your partner your favourite memories of them over the previous year.
Bounty “Sex & Relationship” articles are written by expert Suzie Hayman. Suzie is agony aunt for Woman magazine, a Relate trained counsellor, and an accredited TripleP (Positive Parenting Programme) parenting educator. She makes frequent appearances on TV and radio and as well as writing 31 books, Suzie writes features on parenting, relationships, sex and couples counselling, for a wide range of national magazines and newspapers