Finding joy is like a journey. Sometimes we go through places where one day becomes another We go through motions of life, keep appointments, take care of those around us and yet miss enjoying our life.
Going Through Motions is a Choice
Going through the motions might happen because of illness in us or those in our care. It might just be that we stopped looking each day for something good. We feel trapped and powerless by our own circumstances even though they are all our own choices and we wouldn’t change them.
Finding Joy is a Choice Too
When I find myself choosing to work my life on autopilot, I have to reteach myself how to enjoy each day. This is something I have had to work on most of my life so let me tell you the top 6 ways I have come up with:
Finding someone who needs me always helps me find joy. It seems strange that looking for someone else to take care of could help but usually I end up with a friend or an adventure I didn’t have before. When I had littles, I usually took them with me, well, because they went everywhere with me.
There was an older lady in our church congregation, who cleaned houses and rode buses to get to her jobs. Some afternoons, we would pick her up at her last job and drive her around to run her errands. My babies loved her! One time she brought them a box of puzzles that one of her employers no longer wanted. All that adventure and we didn’t ever have to get out of the car.
Find Something Fun #5
A long time ago, I figured out that caregivers don’t get days off. So I planned weekends for myself. I still had people and animals to care for but we always did something fun. It takes planning to give yourself a weekend. The mundane cooking, cleaning, and laundry have to happen earlier in the week.
What is “something fun” for you? For me, it is an exiting adventure-visiting somewhere we haven’t been, a trip to the zoo, or a drive someplace near or far. Or something different at home-a new book, a family pizza and movie night or trying out a new recipe.
There were times when we made plans for weeks for a weekend vacation only to have a sick baby end those plans. Then something fun needed to be changed.
Bring Self to Present #4
More often than not, retraining myself to find joy needs to happen several times a day when I am feeling sorry for myself or stuck in a rut. I often use Countdown to Anxiety Blastoff to bring myself back to the present. I found this version at the Mayo Clinic site.
I take a few minutes to find:
5 things I see
4 things I feel
3 things I hear
2 things I smell and…
1 thing I taste
Usually, that little exercise reminds me not only that I need to be present in the present but also of ALL the blessings that I have. Just a secret-GRATITUDE is the flashlight to finding joy, see our earlier post Life Gets Crazy
Laughing at stressful situations makes them not as stressful. It is really hard to find it funny if someone pees on the couch while dinner is burning and the smoke detector goes off but it is a little funny. Be so careful that when you are laughing at stressful situations, you are NOT making fun of someone else because that isn’t funny.
When I was helping take care of Cameron’s dad before he passed, he made jokes all the time. It really helped all of us. That was a sad stressful situation but he helped with his sense of humor.
Trust in God #2
I believe that there is a purpose to all that we do. We don’t do what we do alone. Someone is always there helping us, reminding us, and cheering us on. One of my favorite public speakers Jeffrey R. Holland once said, “Keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.” Finding joy means unlocking inner reserves of strength and courage we didn’t know we had. That strength comes from a knowledge that we do not walk alone.
What is My Reason? #1
Why do I do this again? What was I thinking when I made this choice? Oh yes, I remember! My reason for doing what I do is Love. I wouldn’t change my choice because I love those under my care.
Yes-there have been times (sometimes long periods of time) where there was no time for me. There have been times of no sleep, times of worry and frustration, times of great uncertainty. Most of the time I have no clue what it is I need to be doing. I always come back to my reason for my choices and that is Love.
Whenever I find joy, I find love there too. And that makes all the difference.