Monday, February 15, 2021



Even in a pandemic there are so many ways to find joy. As I am writing this, snow and ice is everywhere. Thank goodness for the pandemic. I am used to staying in and being safe or I think this snow would take me over the edge of not being able to get out for a few days. And, yes, I live in Memphis where we are not used to 8 - 10 inches of snow and do not have the road equipment to clear the roads. People laugh at those in the South for closing schools when a snowflake falls but there is good reason for that. 

With that being said, I am thinking of all the things I have (we all have) to be joyful for during this pandemic and snowstorm. The bulldog in the picture above is most definitely finding joy in getting his back scratched by scrunching back and forth in the grass. You can see the joy on his face. I am a sucker for dogs and I find joy just looking at this picture. So most definitely our two goldendoodles bring joy to me. They are usually so sweet and so smart. Sometimes too smart for their own good. They have ways to get to the better side of me with their soulful, loving eyes. Such personality! Such empathy! They seem to know exactly what to do in order to brighten my days. 

The song of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from Monty Python comes to my mind. You must look for the joys and happiness that is right in front of you. Be aware. There are so many strategies for finding joy in our ordinary lives that we can actually experience extraordinary joy even in quarantine, work and daily routines.

Some ways that I have come across is to keep being social. I do have friends who do go out to eat inside restaurants or do outside dining (weather permitting) but I am not quite ready for that. In fact, that is one of the two super spreaders of the Coronavirus. Eating inside, even with social distancing and crowds over ten, let's just say I have made my decision to avoid both. However, there are ways to Zoom meet, FaceTime, or meet up in a car for take out food at a local restaurant. I know some people who have a Virtual Game Night with Zoom Meetings. 

Reading to grandchildren on FaceTime, texting in groups about current events...your only limitation is your imagination. Having strong personal connections with other people has been proven to be directly related to overall happiness and better health in studies at Harvard. One study suggested that if you go in to a coffee shop without striking up a conversation with the barista or into the grocery store without talking to the cashier or bagger than you are more than likely not having any real social interaction and are less connected. It is the little things that can make you happier.

Like taking time for yourself. Light some fragrant candles, enjoy a cup of tea, read some of your piles of books awaiting you or write in your journal. There does not need to be anything more than taking special self-care and practice relaxing. It will bring on positive emotions. Get your rubber ducky out and take a warm bubble bath.

Having pictures around where you work that bring you happiness. Sometimes it can be plants. If you do not have a green thumb then the choices can be easy to keep alive plants such as cacti or even some very realistic silk plants. Any of these plants require very little watering and can bring you joy.

If you are able to give a donation to a cause that is in need, even if it is a little bit, then that will help you know that you did something for someone else. If you are short on cash, you can always do something nice for someone such as bake some cookies, or even calling to check in. 

Adding some color to a room that you are in frequently can brighten your spirits. It can be as simple as a new throw pillow or a new picture. Bright colors usually bring happiness to those who are around them. Color translates to joy. Also, organization of your work space can bring you happiness. Ever so often I just need to move things around if for no other reason than just to stir things up. 

There is research that shows exercise, if you can find the right kind for your own body, can have big mood-boosters. Simple walks to using small hand weights can get your mind in a happier place, even if it is just for ten minutes.

The most positive way for me to find joy is to skip the news first thing in the morning. I like to limit how much I watch or read. Instead, of news it helps to write down things that I am grateful for. My grateful jug is growing. It is a way to start my day with things that I have planned that I know will bring me joy. If things fall through the cracks, then I can write about it in my nightly journal writing with possibly some solutions of how I could have made it better. In my mind, this is a way to not feel as if I should kick myself for being a failure. I like to believe that, "Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." Wise words from Winston Churchill. Happy and soulful music is something that I like to use when working. Whether I am cooking, writing or reading. Music is always a mood enhancer for me.

It is true that money can't buy happiness but what will bring happiness is prioritizing how you will spend it. If you can afford to invest in time-saving services such as housecleaners, lawn services or grocery deliveries than by all means this would be something to look into if it brings you joy. 

Once you have a few extra minutes then use this time to clear your mind. I like to have a few quiet moments to meditate about the joys that I found and experienced throughout the day. That is what my nightly journal writing is all about. Positive things that have happened or possibly a way that I could have turned things around to make some positive magic happen. I like to find joy everyday and yes, it is possible once you find your path to more happiness.

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