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5 life coach-approved ways to feel happier - without spending a penny

Life coach Hattie MacAndrews shares her foolproof ways to feel happier this winter, no budget required

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28 October 2023
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Despite an initial reluctance to part ways with the long lazy summer days as they come to rather an abrupt end, I am happy to note that there is a silver lining. Tis the season of self-care.

A chance to be still, cosy and refill your cup after a (presumably) busy summer. As a self-proclaimed winter girl, I’m all for this change in season, and ready to fully embrace the joys of slowing down.

Not everyone shares my joy for the winter months, though. For many, the darker nights and shorter days bring a heaviness as our immune systems struggle, energy decreases and an overall flatness descends.

Hattie MacAndrews smiling on a sofa
Hattie MacAndrews takes autumn as a chance to take care of herself

It's no secret that I like to fully indulge in self-care at any given opportunity. I thrive in taking every opportune moment to look after myself, prioritise my health and find small ways to increase my daily happiness.

My (many) forays into the world of wellness have been well documented, as I’ve explored everything from iridology to EFT, including acupuncture, Chi Nei Tsang and hypnotherapy along the way! One of the greatest lessons I have learned through this process is that self-care can also be a mindset (without a hefty price tag!). Let me explain how.

Why self-care is a mindset

As a confidence and mindset coach, it’s my job to not only help people find happiness, but to feel equipped to handle (and excel in) all that our modern busy day might throw at us.

In my most recent coaching sessions, clients report feeling stressed, overwhelmed and burnt out. They feel stuck in the mindset that winter will be miserable.

 READ: Burnout: How 5 days disconnected from the world changed my life 

It’s no secret that the wellness industry can at times feel highly exclusive and elite, with treatments coming with a high price or unrealistic expectations. It’s a market saturated with promise, leaving so many of us feeling confused about where to start or unsure whether we really *really* yet another step to in our wellness routine.

The good news is – I’m here to break it down for you. Below is my fool-proof list of self-care, each step tried and tested by busy, working woman – all searching for better balance in their daily lives.

Smiling woman in the sun© Shutterstock
Self care can be slotted into a busy schedule

We all know we should be sticking to the basics – but often these, for example, eight hours of solid sleep, can feel out of reach – just ask any new parent or night shift worker.

For me, self-care is a mindset. It’s wrapped up in your approach to balance, deciding what your version of happiness looks and feels like, putting better boundaries in place and learning how to say no.

DISCOVER: Is this the reason we're all so exhausted right now?

So, for those of you looking to enhance your mental well-being without breaking the bank, this list is for you!

5 simple ways to feel happier

1 Embrace the power of saying ‘No’.

Our energy is often like an old battery – easy to drain and difficult to charge. Learning how to protect your energy through setting boundaries, prioritising your own needs and removing yourself from relationships/friendships/situations that feel draining is a great place to start.

You can't and don’t have to be everything to everyone. While this may not be the easiest mindset shift to adopt, it’s by far the most powerful. When was the last time you felt truly confident to say no?

No to a plan you didn’t want to commit to, no to over-stretching yourself or no to accommodating someone else when it didn’t suit you.

As a society, we are terrified of rejection and therefore have become accustomed to people-pleasing. The more you say no to the things you don’t want to do, the more time you have to say yes to all those things you might like to do instead. Say 'hello' to a delicious evening of self-care.

 RELATED: 5 ways to make every day special – and feel instantly happier 

2. Nourish your body.

This one might seem painfully obvious, but if you’re really honest – do you nourish your body to your best ability? This doesn’t mean endless supplements, expensive health foods or faddy diets. It means eating nutritious, delicious food that feeds your soul as well as your body.

The link between our gut health and mental happiness is remarkable and it’s so true that we get what we put in.

If you’re feeding yourself with sUgary snacks, over consuming alcohol regularly or not prioritising your sleep – you have very little chance of success when it comes to feeling happy and healthy!

Happy woman smiling in cosy jumper© Shutterstock
Happiness doesn't have to cost money

Start with the basics – drink more water, eat your greens and consume as much fresh produce as possible. It might also look like movement you enjoy, dry brushing before a hot bath or lathering up in your favourite body oil.

3. Write a happy list

When clients come to me searching for more happiness in their everyday lives, I respond by asking what makes them happy. More often than not, I’m met with a blank. We tend to become so consumed by our busy daily lives that it’s easy to lose track of what makes us feel really truly happy.

I ask them to write a list of all the things that make them feel good – from the very little things to the big. Finishing work in time to read the kids a bedtime story, enjoying a hot bath or cooking dinner for friends. Whatever brings you joy – write it down.

Woman looking content while writing a list© Shutterstock
Writing a happy list is a great way to boost your mood

It can be helpful to have a list of smaller things that take up to 15 minutes, and bigger things for when you have more time.

My entire mood can shift after 15 minutes on a yoga mat or checking in with a friend. There’s no right or wrong way to feel happy – for some, it looks like training for a marathon, while others prefer tucking into their favourite Netflix series. You do you!

4. Put your phone away

We all know that increased screen time can leave us feeling frazzled, overwhelmed, sad or burnt out. Exposure to a phone/laptop/TV before you climb into bed or as soon as you wake up will disrupt your circadian rhythm, leading to poor quality sleep and energy slumps.

The constant pinging and addictive interface keeps our brains on high alert, which for 16 hours a day is no good! I practiced what I preach and ditched my phone for a week, and saw an enormous change in my sleeping patterns when I eliminated screens from anywhere near my bedroom.

I’m a huge advocate for turning your phone off (or on airplane) mode, as often as possible. Even just an hour will allow your mind to switch off and find some stillness. Take control of your phone consumption, don’t let it consume you.

 PHONE-FREE: How a 10-day digital detox totally changed my life 

5. Shed the guilt

We live in a society that glamourises being busy, so taking the time for yourself can often make us feel guilty or like there’s something more productive we could be doing.

It’s so terribly cliché but oh-so-true to say you can’t pour from an empty cup. Feeling guilty about taking care of yourself will add zero joy to your life. Just let it go. It’s a wasted emotion, and your energy could be better spent adding to your happy list or indulging in your favourite series.

Follow Hattie on Instagram for more life-coach approved wisdom.

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