Happiness may be simple, but sometimes it isn’t easy. Here are some things that I do, that everyone can do, to add joy to our lives when we’re in a funk.
I’ve always been a happy person. At a young age, I remember my mom bought me my first perfume, Happy Heart by Clinique, because the name reminded her of me. As a teen, I remember people would ask me what was wrong with me – “why are you so happy all of the time” they’d say. Making people feel good, valued and special is what I do. 90% of the time when you see me in public, I’ll smile. I’ll try to brighten your day. It’s just how I am.
However, over the last few years being “happy” has gotten harder to do. I’ve given a little bit too much of myself to my business, to people who don’t fill my cup up, to events, to travel – I really could go on. I started taking life too seriously. I got used to pushing through the hard times and now that the dust has settled, I’m often at a loss for what to do. It’s a shame because my life is really beautiful right now and sometimes I can feel it slipping by me like a ghost.
But here’s the thing – I’m not really willing to accept that. I’m not willing to accept mediocracy or a glass half empty mindset. I’m not willing to be ungrateful and I’m certainly not willing to keep living in fear. There are exceptions to this, if you’re living with mental illness (please seek help if so!) this may not be right for you, but if you’re like me, we have to do something to cultivate joy. We simply can’t sit passively by and let it all slip out of reach.
I’ve been running away from writing this post because I don’t really have all of this figured out yet. I haven’t reached that divine place of accepting every gift with joy and radiating at an enlightened frequency. But, I’m trying, I’m moving the needle forward, so, from one stressed out, overworked gal with a packed calendar to another, here’s what I’ve been doing to get my life back. Here’s how I’m finding joy:
1. Get Help
#1 get some help. I really don’t care who it is, as long as they have your best interest in mind. I have a business coach. Or coaches. Their names are Nicole and Dan and they are the most BA married couple and they work with solo entrepreneurs like myself. This summer I decided to increase my amount of coaching and to be quite frank, a lot of my calls with them are more like therapy. So, get you a coach that encourages, meditation, gratitude, prayer or thankfulness, and/or get some professional help. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you need it. If this is the push you need to make the investment, here it is. I say so.
2. Take a Time Out.
Easier said than done, I know. Y’all, we live in the age of the hustle. We’ve been told our entire lives that hard work pays off. Couple that with this era of technology where your email pings nonstop, Instagram is a click away and group texts are running rampant like wildfire – is burnout really a surprise? Take it from the girl that worked on her own honeymoon – I get it, turning off is nearly impossible.
But we really need to. Wedge your phone in the couch so you can’t see it, take out a book, stare at the wall, go for a walk, a drive, binge on TV, go out to dinner with your SO. Do SOMETHING to help you do nothing.
3. Eat Something.
I find that stressed out people normally fall into 2 camps – non-eaters, or the everything eaters. I tend to be a combo – I won’t take time to feed myself and when it comes time to sit down at the end of the day, I’m too drained to cook so we order pizza or go out and it’s refined carbs + wine & no vegetables. The other day I actually ate 4 Reeses for dinner. What in the…?
Y’all I KNOW BETTER. I know how good food can affect the brain – I’m a food blogger that focuses on healthy food. There’s nothing wrong with pizza, refined carbs, and wine, but if I haven’t been eating leafy greens, healthy fats and complex carbs to keep me fueled…like hello, yes I’m assisting in self-destruction. So, here’s what I’m telling you to do. Cross one thing off your to-do list and make time to make yourself some fuel. Need easy ideas: try the chicken thighs, my taco soup, this apple baked oatmeal ,or this sweet potato and bison hash.
4. Get Moving + Stretching
It’s easy to cast aside a gym date or a walk with yourself. And sometimes, overworking our bodies can do more harm than good. But, once you’ve had a good ole rest, dust yourself off, put on your cutest leggings (you know, the ones that make you look like a Lulu model), your favorite sports bra and get out there, sister. For me, high-intensity workouts at least 3-5 times a week and yoga is what I need. I’m a really athletic, high energy person, so that may not be your truth, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But, figure out what works for you. Put a treadmill in your basement, get a dog walker once a twice a week so you can get to your barre class, and don’t forget to stretch. When we’re stressed, we have a tendency to clench up like a ball. Our shoulders practically attach to our ears, our butts and hips are probably tighter than a brand new hair tie – but, just a simple 5-minute stretch or yoga practice can make all of the difference.
Here are some yoga workouts and stretches I love!!
Yin yoga release (25 mins)
Relaxing yoga (12 minutes)
Sore back release (8 minutes – great for tension)
Yoga workout blast (20 minutes – sweat + stretch)
Easy 10 min morning yoga (10 mins – duh)
5. Call a Friend.
Feeling like this can be isolating. AND, even if you’re extroverted, you may just need to be alone for a while. But reach out to someone. You don’t have to have coffee today, maybe next week. Get something fun on the calendar. Maybe it’s a date night with your spouse. Or actually texting that really nice girl you met at yoga. Or having brunch with your best friend or a skype date with someone you don’t see so often.
I know it’s hard when you feel like you’re down. Don’t feel like you have to be 100% to make a connection. It will help I promise.
6. Practice Gratitude.
Alright, sister friend, let’s get one thing straight – things may not be the best right now, but God (or the universe, etc. if that’s your jam) will certainly not put anything on your plate that you cannot handle. One way, arguably the most important way, we can get out of a funk is by truly practicing gratitude for what is right in front of us. I guarantee you, that you have something you can be grateful for right there, staring you in the face.
Write it down, pray about it, say it out loud. And then sit there and think about a few other things. I keep a gratitude journal I try to write in every morning. It helps, it truly does. The more we invite in the positive things, it’s my hope that they’ll continue to come into our lives.
P.S. Here are some resources I’ve been loving to help encourage that joy mindset:
- Book – Girl Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis my beautiful friend and yogi Brenda with Yoga B Yoga lent this to me
- Devotional – Savor – by Shauna Niequist
- Podcast – Rise – by Rachel Hollis
- Podcast – The Chasing Joy Podcast – by Georgie Morley
- Podcast – The Healthy Maven – Davida Lederle
- Video – On Changing Your Frequency – recommended by Nicole Culver
- Video – You Are Enough – recommended by Nicole Culver