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Finding More Joy

Finding more joy

About 1-1,5 years ago, I found myself bogged down by the daily stress of work (and leaving work on time to be home with my daughter before 4pm), taking my daughter to her activities through Ecuador’s crazy traffic (and, even under normal circumstances, I do not like driving), and then the dinner-bath-bed rush.

I was feeling tired, loaded with responsibilities, and simply not finding much joy in my days. So I decided to do a project to find more joy in my days. Since then, as my daughter has grown a bit more, I’ve taken a different approach.

My first approach was to find more joy on a daily basis. I made a monthly spread in my bullet journal, and vowed to log one thing per day that gives me joy. To be able to log something, I had to do something of course. So I started to look for opportunities to just take a small breather at some point in the go-go-go of the day. I’d sit with my coffee and drink it in (attempted) peace before moving on. Instead of throwing dinner together, I’d cook something I really like. I’d find two minutes to sit in the sun with my daughter and just enjoy it.

As the number of night wake-ups started to reduce, and the fog of exhaustion was lifted a bit, I felt things going better. I stopped doing the daily log of little things. However, I do (still) try to journal a tiny bit daily and write down three things I am grateful for that happened during the day – and I manage to automatically get more often a tiny break in my day that gives me joy. I guess the conscious logging for a while helped me train myself to do so.

Now that my daughter is a bit older, I’ve started to use a different approach. I make “fun lists”. I identify 12 fun things to do during a season (with the holiday season as a separate one). Since we don’t really have “seasons” in Ecuador, I try to adhere a bit to the calendar of the northern hemisphere when putting together the fun lists, but add enough things outside of the house as well. I then plan those activities of my fun list, to get a break from our regular routines. Not every activity on the fun list is a big thing – some are as small as listening to a story together. But planning them in, and making time for them, and having that little change (listening to a story instead of me reading) makes it all the more special.

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