Finding things that bring you joy and keep you sane is like finding a four leaf clover. It’s so magical and precious. You have to hold on to it for dear life.
Have you ever stopped to think about what makes you tick? What makes you bust out laughing or just have a constant smile on your face? Maybe those moments are getting further and further apart, but that doesn’t have to be the trend. We can change that! And if you already have yourself figured out, way to go. You are living your best life and enjoying it. Even through tough times you hold onto the things that can get you through. I’m not talking about negative coping habits – hey we all have them. Even if we think we are above some bad habit, give it time friend, you may find yourself in a stressful situation and just try that thing you have prided yourself on not doing. So if you see someone else doing that, don’t look down on them. Be encouraging to them. I don’t think anyone would ever turn down a genuine compliment or encouragement. Why you ask? Well they are just an unexpected golden nugget. And no one turns down golden nuggets. 😉
Oh man, I digress. Like this guy in the woods…
Back to knowing ourselves and how we tick. Do you have a list of things either written down (go you!) or somewhere in your head (that’s me) of things that bring you joy. Is there a pattern or are they totally random? Either is fine. These things can fall under the category of affirmations, activities or interests, social gatherings or avenues on the individual track. Try thinking back to the last thing that you really enjoyed or lifted you up when you were having a bad day. If you are having a hard time, think back to your last vacation and what you enjoyed most on that trip. Then keep going. Think about if you had free time and no chores or work to do, how would you spend your time? It’s important to think about the things that can help you feel more you. So many times we just go about our day doing what has to be done and we get dragged down by the drudgery of it. Let’s dream even if it’s a tiny dream. Tiny is a good place to start.
Now let’s get to it. Start jotting them down. When you are waiting for your coffee to finish brewing or waiting on your spouse to get in the car to go somewhere or needing to settle your brain down to go to bed, take a piece of paper or the notes app in your phone and jot down things that you enjoy or as I like to call it, your Keep Me Sane List. Because let’s be honest, sometimes we just need to go to our happy places or we are going to be a wreck and no good to anyone around us. Our people are counting on us for support. Either to work on a project, to help with dinner, to make money for the family or just be there for a friend when they are having a rough day. So we gotta be our best selves and the only way to be that is go to our sanity list and pick something out that sparks joy. It’s along the same lines as Marie Kondo’s decluttering method. Anyone out there read/listen to the book or watched the Netflix series??? In my Kentucky twang, “If it don’t spark joy, throw it out!”. Well in life we can’t throw out things we don’t enjoy doing, but we can reap benefits from doing things that give back to us and fuel our hearts and minds. I would love to be done taking out the trash or cleaning toilets because that doesn’t bring me joy, but those things need to be done and on the flip side I get joy from NOT smelling the dirty ole trash can and seeing a beautiful white toilet bowl!
Get out of this mindset of “I don’t have time to do things I enjoy, I need to be more productive.” Wait just a second here… there is a chance that right now in your season of life that you are just holding on and doing what needs to be done and that’s all you can handle mentally. If this is you, just keep trucking my friend! You just do what needs to be done and then get to bed to do it all over again tomorrow. But if you are not in that boat and you can see the importance of doing something for you that will pay dividends in the rest of your of life, I say jump on board and just take whatever time you think is right for you and do something.
For those of you that need a jumping board to start from, scroll down to the bottom and you will see my list. Now, if you want to judge, go right ahead, but I warn you, your list might sound silly written down too and THAT’S OKAY. It’s okay to have silly things on the list because guess what, we can’t be serious 100% of the time. That’s a) no fun and b) a depressing way to live. So add some silly to your life and you will see your life improve a little at a time. And get this, you might think twice about yelling at someone for something stupid or you might give people more grace for not doing something completely right. How awesome is that? Coming from a more whole person, we can have more meaningful interactions that lift everyone up higher.
Dang, I better get off my soap box, I’m preaching too much.
Alright, so do you feel inspired to make that list yet? Have somethings floating in your head? (I mean ideas, not the voices in your head! Stay focused 😀 )
Okay, I challenge you to start that list. Start with the first thing that pops into your head. Just jot it down, even if you take it off later, just start that list. Okay I’ll do it too…
(5 minutes later)
Here is a list of my things that keep me sane:
- Dancing to my favorite music like no one is watching
- Doing a yoga video online or stretching
- Doing a bible study (self-led, from a study guide or app like “First 5”)
- Taking a walk outside
- Working on my granny square afghan that’d I’ve been working on for years
- Learning how to spell afghan (ha – who knew there was a “g” in that word???)
- Turning up music in my car and singing at the top of my lungs
- Watching Harry Potter movies
- Looking up corny jokes and using them on people
- Calling up family and friends just to say hi
- Having family and friends over for dinner
- Getting a nice workout in – sweating out stress
- Saying affirmations that lift me up
- Trying a new recipe on my family
Okay, so those are the ones I came up with so far. What about you? What are you waiting for?
Go for it friend and start doing things that keep you sane! All of your friends and family with thank you.