What brings you joy? Lately, it’s been fairly warm here in Chicago but regardless, I feel like my body is just clocked to get some winter blues this time of year. No matter the weather. Nothing serious but just that little bit of sadness you get when the sky isn’t so bright and the sun isn’t so warm.
There is something about the warm air and the sun on your skin that just makes you happier. It doesn’t help that I was born in the summer so I must have a natural appreciation or shall I say love affair with it. Ugh, I miss it!
But because of that I have to make extra strides in bringing more joy to my life. Bring myself out of the winter funk, if you will…
So, in the spirit of being more joyful, here are some things that have helped me smile just a little more!
Eat less meat and dairy
Now, stay with me on this one. Last summer, July 5th to be exact, I made some major changes to the way that I eat. I reduced meat significantly (actually eliminating it for about 5 months) and decreasing my intake of dairy (eliminating milk all together). I have taken on a mainly plant-based lifestyle, incorporating more fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and nuts into my daily diet. And guys, it literally helped to bring my anxiety down and helped me sleep better. I’ve seen a difference in my skin and my energy levels, it’s been amazing. When your body is more aligned dietary wise you feel good in so many other ways. That definitely will bring more joy to your life.
We hear this all the time right? Well, because it’s true. When you move your body and raise that heart rate even for just as little as 15-20 minutes a day, you will definitely see a change in how you function throughout the day. Including your mood. I’m a mom so sometimes this can be a struggle for me I’m not gonna lie. I have two kids under 5 and they keep me on my toes. But even if I can get a small strength or endurance workout in I am so much more patient and in tune with them. The struggle is real folks but those endorphin’s are worth every bit.
Take time to be quiet and breathe
Some do breathing exercises, some meditate. Essentially all the same but do what feels right. When I take a moment, usually in the morning when everyone is asleep and close my eyes and just focus on my breathing it truly helps me get centered for the day. When mom’s calm and ready to start the day everyone is good for it, right? This is something that can be done whenever the mood strikes. If you feel stressed or anxious this works wonders, 5 minutes, 10 minutes. Whatever it takes to get yourself to a place of calm will take you to some extra joy in no time.
Take time to do something that you love
I find so much joy in writing and this blog makes me happy. Even if no one reads it, it still makes me smile and gives me a place to express some creativity. I had backed away from blogging for a bit as I am still fairly new to this whole thing and maybe just lost my focus. I forgot why I was doing it. I missed it because of the joy it gave me. So, here I am. What do you love? Is it something that used to bring you joy but you stopped for some reason? Well, do it. Find that part of yourself again. Whether its writing, painting, running, singing, playing an instrument or cooking. Stir the pot, excite yourself a bit and you will never look back.
Be grateful and give
This is the most important thing you can do to stay joyful. Not all days are great days. Nor, are all circumstances great ones. But being grateful for what is good will always bring positivity into your life. HANDS DOWN. For your family, the roof over your head, your ability to use your body, food on the table. Whatever you have in your life that helps you thrive is a reason to be grateful. Have a giving heart. Take it with you wherever you go. Where your gratitude as a badge and joy will find you. I promise.
Everyday is another chance to get up with a positive heart and mind. When you align your thoughts with your body there is no other way to be than joyful. There is so much beauty in just the everyday to be seen. So much mindfulness to encompass. Take some time in the moments, take care of your body and your mind.
You will be a happier person for it.