Carve out some time to reflect on where your happiness lies, with these practical tasks
Whether it’s to celebrate a milestone, or if you just want to take some time to reflect, there are lots of creative activities we can do to revisit our memories.
The following are great ways to explore the things that we have experienced so far – they can help us plot our lives and assess where our happiness lies, and think about what we would like to take with us as we look ahead.
Start a scrapbook or create a collage
Do you have drawers full of yellowing ticket stubs from gigs you’ve enjoyed, or postcards collected over the years? A scrapbook is a wonderful way of making the most of these mementoes. Spend some time organising them into themes – maybe those that relate to a holiday, or which you associate with friendships – and then have fun pasting them onto the pages.
There are great resources online on how to get started with scrapbooking if you need some inspiration, such as everything-about-scrapbooking.com. Alternatively, you could make a collage that captures a time in your life, perhaps incorporating other items such as newspaper cuttings that resonate with you. As you put together your scrapbook or collage, think about why these items matter to you, perhaps writing reflections about the things you’re including. Keep what you make safe so you can look back at it whenever you want a reminder of the people and places you care about.
Craft a creative family tree
Most of us are familiar with the idea of a family tree that traces our relatives, but how about crafting a creative family tree? This is a fun activity to do with a child, and can be a way of thinking about what the people in our lives mean to us, and treasuring those relationships.
To start, sketch out a tree on a large sheet of paper, with branches that represent your relationship to each family member, writing their names in the appropriate place. Next, draw or write things that you associate with each person by their name. Maybe a delicious apple crumble comes to mind when you think of your aunt, or relaxing on the beach with your cousin.
Of course, not all family relationships are easy, and not all associations positive. If that’s the case, you may decide to focus your tree on those who you feel positively towards, reminding yourself of all the good in your life. Or how about making a tree that celebrates your close friendships instead?
"Think about what you would like to leave in the past, and what you would like to take forward"
One of the most well-established ways of preserving memories is with photo albums. But in our time of smartphones and social media, many of us have forgotten the simple joy of carefully positioning printed photos into an album, or flicking through old ones and smiling at the memories and our questionable fashion choices of yesteryear.
There are lots of services that let you upload your digital photos to be turned into physical prints. Once they arrived, give yourself an afternoon to fill a photo album. Try taking a mindful approach, focusing on the feelings that come with each photo, the associations held within each image, and the memories they bring.
Get nostalgic with music
Music has an amazing power to remind us of people and places. Perhaps there’s a song that always makes you smile because you danced to it at a friend’s wedding or a family party (‘Mr Brightside’, anyone?).
Try putting together a playlist to revisit old favourites. Or find out what music matters to your loved ones – this is a great chance to bond over a surprise shared song, and to learn something new about those we’re close to.
Write a letter to your younger self
Writing a letter to your younger self is a chance to think about the ways you’ve developed in the years since, the achievements you’ve celebrated, the lessons you’ve learnt, and advice you’d give.
Think back five or 10 years, or longer if you like, and consider how your life is different now. Some things may be harder, and that’s OK – but some things may have changed for the better. What do you wish you had known back then? What advice do you have? Be compassionate to the younger you as you write. You could also write a letter to your future self, capturing your current hopes and ambitions.
Use this letter writing as a chance to think about what you would like to leave in the past, and what you would like to take forward with you.
To connect with a life coach and reflect on your ambitions for the future, visit lifecoach-directory.org.uk