how to be happier
health, Lifestyle, Motherhood, Self-care

13 Ways To Be Happier In Your Thirties

How To Be Happy In Your Thirties

by Carmela Granada

It Takes A Conscious Effort To Be Happy

Is it just me, or is it harder to be happy when you’re older? Remember when we were in our teens and twenties when life was so much easier? Now that I am in my thirties, I realized that it takes an active effort to be happy. Do you feel the same way?

In your thirties, you may find yourself falling into the comparison trap. You may be taking on a new set of responsibilities. Maybe you have unfulfilled life goals. You may have experienced a terrible loss. Your body is not as healthy as it used to be. Perhaps now, you have higher standards in life, and you are not happy with the things that used to make you feel fulfilled.

My Disclaimer

I want to be a happier thirty-something-year-old. Yes, happiness is fleeting. Yes, happiness is different from joy. But is it wrong to want to be happy? Of course not! So, I did some things that I think made me a happier stay-at-home mom. This is why I made this list, to share some of the things I did to make my life happier. If you are in pain, or in the midst of suffering, please ignore this blog post. It will only make you feel worse and I do not want to trivialize what you are going through. Continue reading if you want to know how I try to be happi(er). Also, I am not a 100% happy person! In reality, I am an angry mama bear. ūüôā I am just someone who wants to seek happiness with intention.

What I Do To “Stay Happy”

1. Identify your source/s of unhappiness.

I don’t know why, but it pisses me off when somebody says, “You SHOULD be grateful that you are____” or “you SHOULD not feel sad because___”. Please don’t tell me what I should or should not feel even if I know that you are just trying to make me feel better.

Are you feeling tired or overwhelmed? Do you have any regrets? Are you feeling insecure? Do you feel the pressure to be successful? Are you stuck with people you don’t want to be with? Do you feel like the energy and love that you give are not reciprocated? Do you feel any resentment towards someone? Are you sick of your current situation? These are all valid reasons to be unhappy. And it is okay to feel sad.

 

2. Learn how to say a powerful “no”.

A fake yes is a great source of stress!¬†My time and energy are so precious and I cannot waste them on things that will only make me sad/ uncomfortable/ resentful, etc. I am still in the process of learning how to do this right. In my culture, many people do not seem to understand that “no means no” and I am not pakipot (saying no when you really mean yes). For some reason, when you say no, you will be the source of “chismis” or gossip. Also, when you say “yes” one time,¬†it is an invitation for more “yeses” in the future. Therefore, I need to say no like I mean it! I make my¬†“no” more powerful by making my eyes look bigger!

3. Declutter.

I threw away or donated things that have no purpose in my life or are taking up too much space. I have two kids under three and I am in charge of most of the household chores. The constant cleaning can drive you crazy!¬†I realized that to clean our space, I need to remove things that are “in the way”!

A question you can ask yourself is “Does it spark joy? (Marie Kondo)” If it does not make you happy, throw it out. I threw out old receipts, junk paper, broken things and donated unwanted gifts, clothes that I don’t wear anymore, and my children’s old baby clothes. Empty, cleaned-out spaces make me so happy! Do you feel the same way or are you happy being surrounded by lots of things? If hoarding makes you happy, then do the opposite!

4. Unfriend/ leave group/ restrict/ unfollow.

I unfriended those fake friends who unfollowed me on Instagram, the tactless titas/ titas who left snarky comments on my photos, the ghost followers who didn’t interact with me on Facebook, the tita who bullied me, etc. I left groups that I don’t care about/ yung hindi ko na feel. Just recently, I archived a group that I started because it did not work out. That’s okay! If you feel like Facebook is making you unhappy, deactivate! Most of the time people don’t even notice!

5. Keep a journal.

I keep a one-sentence-a-day journal to record happy/ positive things about my day. It helps a lot, at least for me. I remember having a really shitty day and writing “I thank God I am still breathing” on that particular date. I also keep another journal to record all my angry/ sad feelings, rants, and complaints. “My Little Bad Book” is like a private Twitter account with 0 followers!

6. Go outside.

Sometimes, a change of environment is what you need to lift your mood. It has come to the point where I truly enjoy taking out the garbage! I treasure those quiet ten minutes of basurera time. If it is possible to incorporate some outdoor time into your day, then take advantage of it! For new mommies with very small babies, it may seem impossible to go outside. But if you can figure out a way to do it, it may help! If you can’t go outside at all, just ignore my suggestion.

7. Connect with people you genuinely care about.

The best feeling in the world is when you can spend time with the people you truly love! I really enjoy traveling with my husband and kids. Because my true friends live in the Philippines or in the US, I try to carve out some time out of my busy day to send them a PM/ react to their Instastory/ write a nice comment on their post, etc. I have recently found a new group of online mommy friends who can totally relate to my struggles. They are the non-annoying type who don’t give unsolicited advice. I realized that I just needed friends who understand what I am going through! That’s it. Find your tribe/ support group.

8. Find a creative outlet.

I used to be afraid of doing something new because I didn’t want to be judged for it. But now, I have learned to stop caring about what other people think (or at least 85% of the time)! Here’s the fun part: your creative outlet does not have to be connected to your degree/ job! What do you enjoy doing? Is it cooking? Blogging? Crocheting? Shopping? Building Lego architecture? Whatever it is, if you have the resources and that small block of time in your day…just do it.

9. Complete a nagging task.

I got this idea from Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. Tasks that are not accomplished can really make you feel uneasy. What task have you been putting off lately? For me, recording my family’s receipts on Excel is such a boring chore. But the feeling of finally throwing out those crumpled receipts from April an May was so satisfying.

10. Post whatever you want to post on social media.

Post that shameless selfie. Baby spam all you want. Show off whatever you want to show off. Post your opinions! Nobody ain’t got time to think about other people’s feelings. They know how to use the UNFOLLOW button.¬† JUST DON’T POST MOVIE SPOILERS! Ibang usapan na yan!

11. Set your priorities straight.

I got this idea from a good friend Dr. Melvin Sanicas. What are the 5 most important things in your life (in no particular order)? Focus on those things.

12. Find that quiet space/ time to be alone.

This is easier said than done. For me, that quiet time is during my kids’ naptime (there are days when I don’t get this time, tbh). I use this time to read/ pray/ reflect/ listen to God/ write/ do self-care, etc.

13. Make someone else happy.

Last week, I was feeling so overwhelmed and sad. I felt so alone. I literally cried out to God and asked Him to lift me out of this dark pit. Five minutes later, I received a message from a good old family friend! That person validated my feelings and gave me some words of encouragement. My friend was also feeling down at that time but he chose to make someone else happy. I said that I am going to continue the cycle of kindness by reaching out to another person who is feeling down.

Final Thoughts

Now if you are feeling sad and you don’t want to happy now, then why are you still reading this post? Seriously, you shouldn’t be reading “how to be happy” blog posts. It is perfectly fine to be sad. We don’t always have to be happy.

Maybe some of you can relate to this, but it’s my responsibility to be happy. Because of my current situation as a mom of two little boys, my mood inevitably affects everyone else’s. My husband wrote this message on his Mother’s Day card for me:

“You put the joy in this home. You are the emotional leader of our family- when you are happy, we feel it and are happy too!”

So really, the reason why I want to stay happy is because of my husband and kids. I don’t want to be remembered as the sad and angry mom. My goal is for my family to see me as the “light of our home”.

What’s On Your List?

I really want to know. What do you do to be a happier person? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Finally, did you enjoy this post? If you did, will you share it on social media? If you haven’t liked my Facebook Page, please give it a like and follow! You can also follow me on Instagram!¬†

Check out my recommended book list! I make a small commission if you make a purchase through any of these links with no extra cost to you:




Lucy At Home

vaccines are safe
health, Literacy, Little Kids

What Every Parent Needs to Know About Vaccines

Are Vaccines Safe For Your Children?

vaccines are safe

Do you feel unsure about the safety of vaccines?¬† Are you¬†worried that vaccines may cause serious side effects? Maybe you are pro-vaccine but you do not know what to say to “anti-vaxxers”. Then, this article is for you!

Read this article to know:

  1. Why immunization is one of the most important ways to keep your child healthy and
  2. What to say to those who are unsure about the safety of vaccines

Interview With A Vaccines Expert

To help us better understand vaccine safety, I interviewed public health physician and vaccinologist Dr. Melvin Sanicas about this issue.  Dr. Sanicas is a medical doctor and vaccinologist. He finished his medical degree from the Philippines and did further studies in Infectious Diseases in London. He also studied Vaccinology and Clinical Development in Italy.

Dr. Melvin Sanicas

Why are vaccines getting a bad reputation?

Despite being one of the most successful public health measures (in fact, second only to safe drinking water), there are those who perceive vaccines as unsafe or unnecessary or both by different groups. Vaccines are victims of their own success.

Why are vaccines “victims of their own success”?

They have been so effective in fighting diseases. Most parents today have never seen or heard of a case of smallpox, polio, measles, rubella. These diseases have become so rare that people are not aware of them. Out of sight, out of mind. We rarely see people infected with these diseases. We think they no longer exist. That is why we judge vaccines differently.

Why do some people view vaccines negatively?

Past experiences with health services, family histories, and feelings of control.  There are people who do not the government to tell them to do things like getting vaccinated.

Why do vaccines deserve better press?

People focus more on the adverse events (like pain, swelling, fever). We think we do not need our kids to experience these adverse events because the diseases are not there.¬†Also, the media likes to talk about the ‚Äúnegative side‚ÄĚ of vaccination. We do not hear about the millions of children protected from polio in the news, but we hear about 1 child who was ‚Äúallegedly‚ÄĚ harmed by the vaccine. Media likes to sensationalize only one side.¬†This is doing more harm than good and devalues vaccines.

 

vaccinologist

What does science actually tell us about vaccines?

The science is clear- vaccines are safe and effective. Vaccines routinely recommended today provide high levels of protection against targeted diseases. Please look at this table. It clearly shows the impact of vaccines (in the US). This is in terms of numbers of reported cases and deaths associated with the disease before and after the vaccination is introduced.

In all the other countries with good surveillance, the same is true ‚Äď once the vaccine is introduced and properly used, the disease incidence goes down.¬†As with any other medicine, there are some adverse events. But the benefits of vaccines greatly outweigh their risks.

What’s the real deal behind the concerns on the dengue vaccine?¬†¬†

The vaccine is approved in many countries in Asia and Latin America. Philippines and Brazil are the only 2 countries where the vaccine is in the national immunization program. The Philippines made headlines with public outrage and a suspension of the vaccine programme, as well as threats to sue the manufacturer. Brazil has stood by scientific evidence and, recognizing that the vaccine still has benefits stressing the high effectiveness and safety of the vaccine for those who already had Dengue.

More Information about the Dengue Vaccine

I can share with you this article from an external vaccine and public health expert Professor Heidi Larson from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, my alma mater.

To those who want to know more, they may read this Q&A from the WHO. It is lengthy but to summarize, the WHO acknowledges that in high seroprevalence settings (places where a high number of people have had dengue), the vaccine can have significant benefits.

However, until a full review is conducted, WHO recommends vaccination only in people who were infected with dengue in the past (by a diagnostic test or by a documented medical history).

vaccines

How can doctors convince parents that vaccines are safe?

Firstly, to effectively communicate with parents, doctors must first understand the concerns.  Have an open, non-confrontational dialogue to provide clear and easily comprehensible answers about known vaccine adverse events. Provide accurate information about vaccination.

Second, it is important to highlight the long track record of safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. Stress the number of lives saved by immunization, as a positive approach, rather than focusing on the number of deaths from not immunizing.

Parents should be made aware that unvaccinated children are at increased risk of acquiring disease and transmitting these diseases to other children. For example, parts of Europe and some states in the US have seen outbreaks of measles as some parents are refusing measles vaccines for their children.

What is the best way to communicate these facts to all parents?

There are different kinds of parents:

    1. The uninformed but want to be informed
    2. The misinformed but correctable
    3. The well-read and open-minded
    4. The convinced and content, or
    5. The pure anti-vaccine / anti-science / anti-government.

Regardless of the kind of parent, ALL parents want to do what is best for their child, even those who are vaccine-hesitant.

Everyone has a different style of communication. I believe that it is best to be straightforward, honest, and simple. Tell the parents what we know and what we do not know.

Why do we need to correct anti-vaccine myths?

Science is a very interesting field because we do not know everything but we constantly learn something new. Doctors need to be patient, as correcting anti-vaccine myths and changing parent attitudes do not happen overnight.

Why do we always need to check the facts?

I have previously written about fake news and the need for everyone to speak up for scientific facts. We all agree that there is so much misinformation on the internet. With anything we read, check the facts! There are free, fact-checking organizations like FactCheck.org or Snopes.com. Trust only verified and credible websites.

Thank you, Dr. Melvin Sanicas!

Read Dr. Sanicas’s recent article: Vaccines Don’t Overload Children’s Immune Systems

Continue reading “What Every Parent Needs to Know About Vaccines”