Finding Simple Joy
Every day we have the unique opportunity to shine. In this last installment of Circus or Symphony: Stop Juggling Your Life, it’s important to realize the power you have at your disposal to find joy and happy vibes throughout your day. The good news, it’s all in the “small stuff,” yet interestingly enough the most important.
As I scroll through the daily Instagram feed or flip through Facebook, it appears my days look so mundane compared to everyone else’s posts. The beautiful photos taken from the latest vacation or triumphs from Pinterest leave me itching for more in my life.
When I get caught up in what appears to be their joy, I lose sight of what I can do to create my own.
My first step to reviving my shine came in the form of a list of things that make me happy. While I understand being happy is a temporary state of being and having joy is a state of mind, I often intertwine the two to create an experience. Take these ideas and see what kind of twist you can add.
A Few of My Happy Tips
- Daily Bible Reading and Inspirational Material
- Read, Listen, and Learn
- A great cup of coffee or tea
- Indulge in your best things frequently
- Sing out loud to the radio while you’re driving
- Dance when no one is around
- Schedule a “Me” Day
Daily Bible Reading and Inspirational Material
I fill my mind with quality information.
There is joy in reading the Bible and searching for a verse of the day to hold in my heart. My family has a flip calendar with a devotional for each day. I read that as I’m getting ready for work and it sets the tone for the day. It helps me set an intention based on inspirational thoughts.
Every morning I pray that I will have a positive impact on those I encounter. From my husband to my children, to a client or a checkout clerk at the local grocery store, every human deserves my kindness.
My daily mantra is, “Please help me say the right thing to the right people.” That sets me up with my filter, because Friend, I have to watch my tone and my words. It is not natural to keep Suzie Sunshine on my lips; I want to crab as much as the next person!
Read, Listen, and Learn
If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Personal development books are a great way to set your mind on being productive. I love to read, but on days where time is scarce, I use Audible or a leadership podcast on my phone for in-car entertainment. It’s very inspiring to learn a new skill or dive deeper into a topic I’ve wanted to explore further. My car is my university!
A great cup of coffee or tea
The ritual of grinding my beans (my hubby does this), the aroma of fresh coffee brewing and wafting through the kitchen, down the hall, and into my bedroom signals my semi-conscious brain, “Wakie-wakie, it’s time to get up, but Girl you get to drink some coffee!” The reality of a new day seems to balance out with that first hit of caffeine.
I also have a love affair with Dirty Chai. While most weeks I abstain from sugar and only consume that first cup-o-joe in the morning, I occasionally treat myself to this new found favorite. You witnessed my obsession on Instagram while sampling this spicy indulgence across the great state of Colorado. I’m a little slow to the party, but I just discovered Ohio knows what this drink is too…
Indulge in your best things frequently
You don’t need an excuse to use your best. Gucci perfume was all the rage when I was in high school, and I saved my birthday and Christmas money to get the perfume that was like liquid gold back in the 80’s. My extravagant scent was too precious to wear except for special occasions. If I stop to think about it, how many special events did a 17-year-old have? I didn’t stop to think about it.
That beautiful expensive bottle sat and sat on my dresser. Remember, it was too precious to use. What happens to perfume as it sits over time? To my horror I found out the hard way, it turns to rancid alcohol; It’s not like a fine wine. It crushed me, and I never replaced that bottle.
I learned a fundamental lesson though: every day is a great day to use your precious perfume. My experience applies to anything you have deemed too “special” for daily use. What good does your grandmother’s China serve if it sits in the hutch all year? Will moths eat your yummy cashmere coat if it’s hidden away for “special” occasions?
Sing out loud to the radio while you’re driving
No, I don’t subject anyone else in my car to witness this, but with all of the traffic and construction zones around town, driving has become less than peaceful. Music can lift your spirit. It raises your hormone levels of Serotonin, the happy hormone. Challenge yourself to create a state of joy while you drive. I am a nut. If the driver in the next lane were to catch my eye, I put on a big smile and wave enthusiastically.
The same holds when I’m trying to pull out into traffic. A huge smile and crazy wave. How about while you’re at a five mile per hour crawl? Do a car seat boogie; You need to try this. It is beautiful how we can put our mind and our body in a state of happiness. Often, Audible or podcasts are enough to power through the highway sludge, but sometimes you need music!
Dance when no one is around
Private dancing is more fun than car dancing. I have a handful of songs that when I hear them, I stop what I’m doing, and cardio dance. I’m all Beyoncé up in here! More like Elaine Benes from Seinfeld, but it gets your heart rate up, and works your glutes and thighs. Come to think of it; maybe I resemble Bev Goldberg…Nah!
If you have little kids around, teach them to enjoy music and motion at the same time. I am a marching band geek through and through. I cannot listen to a drum line cadence without falling into step. I hear YMCA, and I’m signaling a plane for landing.
Use your music and motion for a full-on kinesthetic experience to release endorphins. God created us to move and stay active. Why do we turn it into a chore? Use this as your method of exercise and fun all at the same time. Music is part of the joy of being human!
Schedule a “Me” Day
Last week I told you I would help you find time to put you into your schedule. In my blog The Art of Saying “No” I stressed the importance of giving your time to things that held value with your priorities. Have you taken the time to put on your oxygen mask? When I started scheduling time for me, I magically became a more helpful person. I treated my husband better, my boys saw me more relaxed, my shoulders weren’t hunching around my neck, it was awesome!
Create your monthly calendar with appointments for self-care practices. Can you schedule a massage or hair appointment? How about lunch with a close friend or your husband? If you have little ones around 24/7, can you ask a girlfriend to swap for shared babysitting? You watch her kids while she goes on a “me day,” and then she watches yours?
Tip #1 Don’t allow other people’s emergencies to become your own
As a solopreneur, it is challenging for me to turn off my business brain. I make excuses to why this has to be done immediately or burden my energy with continually reinforcing my mind with how busy I am. Transitioning from professional to personal boundaries is a wash some days; I covered this in the series as well.
Oh, I have a tough love lesson on this point: It’s my fault. It’s not my business that has me running scattered through my day. It’s not my child’s fault that I am running out to Barnes and Noble for a literature book that I positively must purchase by tomorrow or they will serve detention. It’s not my client that texts me at 10:00 at night with a question about the latest revision to our project.
These stressors are an imposition, but how I receive and execute them are on me. Ultimately, I am the one in control of my schedule. It’s up to me to create a flow and process of how I handle life’s demands. I can structure a process they need to follow, or I can collapse to the emergencies of my three-ring circus.
Tip #2 Focus on harmony instead of balance
Let me repeat, there is no such thing as balance, only harmony. When you juggle your life like a three-ring circus, you are trying to balance work, and personal which is why you feel so pulled in every direction. In rehearsing your life as a symphony, you are the conductor. You pull in the components of your moving parts.
Joy comes in the simple treasures. Start looking for moments that bring a smile to your face. Look for new experiences with family in the coming holiday season. Calm the monkeys in your head with creating healthy boundaries. Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes if you have your eyes open to the little things.
Shine Bright and Shine Often!