We are living in an unsettling time. As much as we desire predictability, the unfulfilled plans in the past months struck home how little control we have.
We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We don’t know if we can eventually go on that vacation, attend that gathering, or get that new job. We have learned the wisdom to hold our plans loosely and focus on just one day at a time.
Today is all we have. The choices we make during the day will affect our soul and body and our closest relationships. Each choice in each day will add up, form our habit, enhance our belief, and shape our lives.
A day may look like an insignificant box on a yearly calendar, but just like a painter facing a blank canvas, we can make the day beautiful, meaningful, impactful, and joyful if we choose to.
If you have followed my blog for a while, you know I’m a mom with two young children. The daily cooking, feeding, nursing, and cleaning can feel tedious, but it doesn’t have to be when my approach to the day begins from feeling balanced and joyful.
Whether you are a stay-at-home-mom like me, or you are a student, an employee, or your own boss, I believe you will benefit from the four tips I’m about to share with you that has tremendously helped me to stay positive and feel the sweet ongoing joy in life.
The bonus part? The people who are close to you (in my case, it’s my husband and children) will also become happier versions of themselves.
1. Think upon the good
You are not going to always wake up in the morning feeling rested and recharged, pumped for the new day ahead, especially if you are in a busy season for your study or work and you have to stay up late to meet the deadlines, or you are a parent with a newborn.
However, no matter if you slept for 8 hours or 4 hours the night before, the morning light will inevitably come into your bedroom, and from there, you have a choice to make.
My first tip for you: instead of complaining about how tired you are, think upon the good. Think about the delicious dinner you had with your family last night, the blue sky outside the window, the pot of indoor plant that’s quietly growing, the croissant and coffee you are going to get soon, or the affectionate kisses you got from your children.
I promise you those thoughts alike will lighten up your tired body and bring a smile on your face. And you will feel thankful for the little good things in life. Give it some time, let the feeling of gratitude sink into your soul as you slowly breathe in and breathe out.
2. Tackle your priorities
Stephan Covey famously said, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.” I can’t agree more.
You can spend some time the night before or early in the morning, think through your priorities for the day, and jot them down. Remember, it’s not a to-do list, so I recommend writing down no more than five things. Then, go ahead and tackle them!
Once you get them done, permit yourself to do something that delights you as a reward, and enjoy your life.
For me, depending on the day, my priority list could look like this:
- Cook a real dinner ( vs. Eating frozen dumplings)
- Write an Instagram post
- Take the kids to the park
- 30 minutes of exercise
And that’s it. Once I tackle all my priorities, anything else that gets done would be the day’s bonus.
The point is not doing as many things as you can, as if the more things you do, the more valuable you are. You are already valuable whether or not you finish that one thing on your priority list.
Personally, the point is to be faithful to the assignment God gave to me each day in response to His love for me.
3. Choose kindness
You can start the day with all the good intentions in the world until your child accidentally peed on your living-room carpet, or you get stepped on by a careless passenger on a bus without saying a sorry.
When those unwelcome things happen, your feeling of frustration could easily mislead you and steal your joy. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Because, with the full acknowledgment of your hurtful feelings, you can exercise your will to choose to respond to that unpleasant situation with kindness.
You can comfort your crying potty-training toddler, and assure him that he will do better the next time. You can forgive that person who stepped on your feet in your heart and say a quick blessing for him.
Choose kindness, my friend. As you do so, you will experience joy. Joy, in turn, will increase your capacity to love, and you will be capable of choosing kindness again and again in those difficult situations.
4. Move your body
I believe you don’t need a lot of explanations for this one. You already know the many benefits of moving your body. Whether it’s a quick exercise at home, going to the gym, or taking a walk, moving your body will promote blood circulation, releases the “happy hormone” called endorphins, boost your energy, and make you feel good.
These days, I try to fit in a 15-30 minutes pilates exercise every morning at home. This morning exercise routine has been very beneficial. It much helped me with my mood and gave me more energy for the day.
If exercising feels tedious to you, I suggest you set some bite-sized goals. You can start with some gentle pilates movement for 10 minutes a day and stick with it for a few days. Just go to the youtube to search for “pilates exercise” and pick the one you like.
Dear reader, I hope these four tips will brighten your day and help you get your joy back. Which one resonates the most with you and why? Please comment below. 🙂