I’m sitting here with my computer…staring at the blinking cursor. What to say? I know I can’t write a post about nut-free lunchbox ideas and pretend our lives haven’t been irrevocably changed… but I also know that we’re all deeply traumatized by the last year and fatigued by the non-stop news cycle. So instead of looking back, I want to look forward. I want joy in my life again.
Joy. Carefree laughter. FUN. Remember those things? Well, I’m here to tell you that although they may have been pushed aside for a while, we never truly lost them. And today, we’re going to talk about ways to bring joy back to your life in a big way. Or at least a little. We’re out of practice so maybe we need to start small and baby step it forward.
First, a Little Homework
The very first thing we need to do is acknowledge that different things bring each of us joy. I may love death metal music and you may love Beethovan. You may love cooking, and I may love, well, eating. At this point in our lives it feels important to take a moment and ponder what truly brings us joy. Not what we think should make us happy, or what we’re told will make us happy. What lights you up and warms your belly from the inside out?
On that same note, it’s important to also identify the things that suck your joy. For me, it was social media. Perhaps you’re the type of person who can scroll past negative comments and not go down the rabbit hole, but I’m not. So I eliminated Facebook and Instagram and have never looked back. (I kept Pinterest, let’s not get TOO crazy here.) You don’t have to get rid of social media, maybe for you it’s watching the news, but spend a little time thinking about the things that affect you negatively and work towards limiting or eliminating them.
Done! What’s Next?
Now that you’ve spent a little time getting to know yourself, (and since we’re all a little rusty with finding joy in our lives) here are some suggestions to get you started. Let’s dive in!
- Companionship- My husband’s stepfather is in the extremely-high-risk category for Covid, so he has been in strict isolation for the last year. He got his vaccines a few weeks ago and came for a visit with his new dog. You know what he said? “This dog has brought me a lot of joy in the last year.” Did you catch that? JOY! Maybe it’s time to expand your family with a pet. It doesn’t have to be a dog necessarily, my family somehow acquired a stray cat during this time. But maybe a hamster or even a fish would put a smile on your face.
- On the other (human) side of companionship, while I may want to sit in my closet and drink wine by myself, that ultimately doesn’t bring me joy. But sitting with my husband on our porch, listening to music and sipping a glass of wine together, now we’re talking! I would love to throw open my doors and have a huge oyster roast with all my friends and family, (and I will do that again in the not so distant future!) but for now I’m finding joy in the smaller moments of togetherness.
- Speaking of music, there is nothing in the world that touches me like music. If you ever come to my house, chances are there will be music playing. When I cook (Lord, help us all) I listen to the ‘French Cooking Music’ Pandora channel. It makes me feel very fancy and French and confident (delusional?) in the kitchen. In the mornings, a little praise and worship music or classical eases me into the day. Once my coffee kicks in, it’s high energy music, and in the afternoons when I’m hanging in the yard or on the porch with the kids it’s reggae, Jimmy Buffet, Nico Moon, Eric Church… It brings me so much joy!
- Bucket List Items- We have all had a little more free time than normal lately, so why not check something off your bucket list? I am entirely convinced that I am destined to be a bilingual farmer, so right now I have planted raised beds with okra, squash, lima beans, cucumbers, zinnias and cosmos. And yo quiero aprender espanol (I want to learn Spanish) so I am practicing every day! I have been having so much fun! I have no idea what I’m doing with any of it, but every time a little green sprig comes out of the ground, I smile. What’s on your list?
- Go outside! We are all so busy in our daily lives that we miss out on the wonder of nature. I have been making a point to do little nature walks with my girls almost every day. We simply take a lap around the house and see what we can find. Weird mushrooms, raccoon tracks, buttercups, these are all novel to them! (And to me!) We have made whistles with blades of grass, tried to catch antlions, and the other day we watched an osprey eat a fish, right in our yard! I’m so happy to have these moments with the girls.
- Lastly, there is nothing that brings more joy than helping others. Sorry, it’s a fact, scientifically proven. (Somewhere, I’m sure…) Let’s remember to have grace with each other. Let’s try to be patient. Let’s be kind with our words. Let’s respectfully agree to disagree. We all need it now more than ever. If you see someone in need and you can help, then help. If you have enough of something and someone doesn’t have enough, then share. It will come back to you someday, but it will warm your heart this very moment too.
Congratulations if you made it all the way to the bottom of this list, whew! Apparently I had a lot to say after a few months of hiatus! But seriously though, how are YOU going to bring joy back to your life? I want to hear your ideas. Pop over to our social media channels and tell us all about it. (You won’t see me personally there, but ya know, other people will be!) 😉
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