After what’s been going on over the last 2 years, it’s easy to feel as though the joy has been sucked out of our lives a little bit. Plans have been cancelled, travel hasn’t been the same, events are on again / off again, and we’ve missed a lot of vital human connection. It’s certainly been a time where everyone has faced some sort of challenge.
That doesn’t mean however that it’s all been doom and gloom. I have heard about and experienced some wonderful things through this time. It’s just easy to forget about the good stuff, our personal wins and the joyful moments, when there’s so much emphasis on what’s bad, scary, not working, or what we can’t do. The question is, what CAN you do?
You are entirely responsible for yourself and your choices, no one else. If your life is lacking joy, then find what lights you up and actually make the time for it.
There isn’t some fairy godmother about to wave her magic wand to suddenly make things all better (although Disney would certainly have you believe that). You are writing your story, own it and let that empower you to create the most joyful life possible.
To help you out I’ve thought about some of the things that I do to inject more joy into my life, and I have also done a bit of research to find some really cool ideas. After laying them all out and having a bit of a brainstorming sesh, I’ve decided on what I feel are the best suggestions.
5 Ways To Inject More Joy Into Your Life
Write a Joy List
This is the most simple place to start. Grab a pen and paper and write a list of all the things you’d like to do this year. These could be activities you’ve already done before and loved, but haven’t made the time for recently, or perhaps there’s a bunch of new things you’d like to try. They also don’t all need to have a price tag, there’s many joyful things you can do for free.
Once you’ve written your list, ask friends to join or go solo and start scheduling some of the activities in. If you don’t do this next step there’s no accountability and the list just remains a pretty piece of paper with some nice ideas on it.
Here’s a bunch of activities from my joy list to give you inspiration: picnic at the beach, paint and wine night, pottery workshop, horse riding in Muriwai, indoor rock climbing, sunset swim, dance class, choose a hike from All Trails, get a massage, go to a quiz night.
Energy Givers vs Energy Takers
This one is an exercise I do with my clients. Identifying what gives you energy in life and what takes your energy away helps you become more self-aware and enables you to make better choices for your overall mental health and wellbeing.
Again this is a list, or you can just think about it, but the list is helpful to act as a reminder. The idea is to do more of what lifts you up and makes you feel really good, and less of what brings you down and makes you feel drained.
Energy Giver examples: exercise, inspiring conversations, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, nature walks, being creative, listening to music.
Energy Taker examples: junk food, negative media, too much screen time, gossiping, alcohol, binge watching Netflix, complaining.
Make Self-care a priority
This seems so obvious yet so many of us don’t make the time for self-care or perhaps don’t feel worthy of it. I’ve also heard many people say, including myself, “I’ve worked really hard this week, now I deserve a break.”
Let me just get one thing crystal clear, you do not need to earn self-care. It doesn’t matter if you’ve worked 6hrs or 60hrs, you are still allowed to take care of yourself. It is in fact a necessity if you want to be more productive and put your best foot forward.
So, my suggestion here is that you carve out non-negotiable time AT LEAST once a week for your self-care. Everyday would be even better, but I am aware we don’t all have that luxury. So start small and aim high.
Block out that time in your calendar, and if you live with friends, a partner, have kids etc, make them all aware of this time so that it is uninterrupted.
It is called ‘non-negotiable’ for a reason, because this is your time which is not open for discussion or modification. Another thing to take into consideration is that self-care isn’t just physical, it is also mental, so you could draw upon your Energy Giver list for some ideas.
Self-care examples: read a book in the sunshine, take a bath with essential oils and bath salts (add candles for extra relaxation and ambiance), guided meditation or simply lye down and listen to binaural music, 20 minutes of journaling every morning or night, go for a mindful walk in nature, cook a nourishing meal, get your hair done, book in a manicure or pedicure.
Release your inner child
As we get older a lot of us begin to lose that free, playful, silly side. We become ‘too serious’ and bogged down by responsibilities, we worry about what others might think of us, or we don’t spend a lot of time using our imagination. This can all start to deplete us of joy.
Children are fully present when they play. They’re not thinking about the past or worried about the future, they’re simply just being. This fact alone is the number one reason why we should all try to tap into our inner child more often. We are so easily distracted in our fast paced world that we are becoming desensitised and forgetting how to feel and enjoy the moment.
To start releasing your inner child, ask yourself the following questions: What did you love as a kid? What could you learn from the children in your life about how to play as an adult? How could you slow down and be a tourist in the world you walk every day? What could you do to create and play without self-censorship?
Create a morning or evening ritual
Finally another really great way to inject more joy into your life is to create rituals. This isn’t some weird cult-like thing, I am not suggesting you drink the kool-aid, I am merely offering you a way to reflect, honour your body, and connect with your mind.
Creating your own ritual first of all needs to consist of actions you actually truly want to take. There’s no point in making an agreement with yourself that you’ll start your day with 10 minutes of yoga stretches if you absolutely hate yoga.
You’ll do it for 2 or 3 times then you’ll stop because you never really wanted to do it to begin with. Then you’ll feel guilty, then you’ll start hating anyone who says they love their morning/evening rituals. So my biggest piece of advice here, especially if you’re new to this, is to choose things you actually like and that are really straight forward.
Example morning ritual:
- Write down your intention for the day
- Say 3 affirmations out loud to yourself such as “I am getting better and better everyday”
- Drink a tall glass of water with lemon
- Move your body in some way
- Create a nice environment with sounds, scents and lighting
Example evening ritual:
- Do 15 minutes of meditation
- Write down what you’re proud of achieving that day
- Write down 3 things you’re grateful for
- Pur your phone on ‘do not disturb’ from 9pm
- Read for 30 minutes before bed
I hope all of these suggestions have inspired you to inject more joy into your life. If you would like some tailored support and guidance, I’d be more than happy to work with you one on one.
Take a look at my Life & Creativity Coaching offerings and book yourself in for a free 30 minute Discovery Call so we can chat about the right option for you.