30 Ways to Create More Joy During the Pandemic
I’m stating the obvious here. The novel and indefinite pandemic has wreaked havoc on our lives. Social distancing, stay-at-home orders, and the rising and falling then rising again of positive COVID cases and deaths have led to isolation, exhaustion, and despair. Reported cases of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts are on the rise. The economy is spiraling with business closures, furloughs, and double-digit unemployment.
To say these are difficult times is a humungous understatement.
So, why am I writing about more joy? Because I firmly believe it’s what the world is craving. It is what you and I need, and it’s one of the only things within our control.
When you can’t change the circumstances, change yourself.
Joy comes from the Latin word gaudere meaning to rejoice and be glad. In the article, Is There A Relationship Between Joy and Happiness, Dr. Cheryl A. MacDonald wrote, “Joy is a state of mind, a combination of emotions, and in the spiritual context is localized in our heart. Joy contains elements of contentment, confidence and hope.”
I love the way MacDonald describes joy. It sounds like the perfect antidote for the times we are experiencing now.
First, joy is a state of mind. Literally, we can Choose Joy. Regardless of what we’re going through, we can summon joy. It is available to us and it starts with our mindset. By choosing what we focus on, the stories we listen to and the stories we tell ourselves, we can create more joy in our lives. Eliminate as much as possible your exposure to negative communications and self-limiting thoughts and beliefs. For every bleak scenario I began this article with, there are positives to counter (i.e., more time spent with family, business innovations, pollution is down, generosity is up, and people are discovering new hobbies). Look for the good. Joy is a state of mind.
Second, joy is a combination of contentment, confidence, and hope. Synonyms for contentment include serenity, satisfaction, and happiness. The Serenity Prayer comes to mind, which beckons calmness and inner peace. And positivity and optimism inspire confidence and hope. (Read Hope is a Winning Strategy).
Third, joy is localized in our heart. That means joy is not shallow or whimsical. Envision a plant whose roots can be seen at the surface of the earth. That plant can be easily plucked and tossed aside. Not so with a tree whose roots run deep into the center of the earth. That tree, though tossed about during a storm, remains steadfast. Joy is like the tree. It is in the center of our being, deeply planted and able to weather many storms – including this pandemic.
Here are 30 ways (to coincide with 30 calendar days) you can create more joy during this pandemic. Feel free to try out as many of these suggestions over the next month in any order that suits you.
- Start your morning or end your day by writing down three things you’re grateful for that day and why.
- Listen to and recite joy affirmations. One to start with: Joy resides within me and I can call upon it whenever I need to.
- Create a sacred space in your home – your very own “happy place” where you do things that bring joy (e.g., read, meditate, pray, paint, etc.)
- Practice mindfulness (mindful eating, walking, etc.) noticing the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures.
- Give compliments to others.
- Watch a sunrise or sunset.
- Take the day off and do something you enjoy or do nothing at all. It’s your day.
- Scroll through photographs of your last vacation or time spent with family or friends.
- Give something away that you made.
- Practice meditation (if you’re new to meditation, find a short, guided meditation on YouTube or just sit for 1-3 minutes and pay attention to your breathing (inhale and exhale)).
- Laugh (talk with a family member or friend who makes you laugh or listen to a comedian who makes you LOL).
- Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers (guys too) or pick a few flowers from your yard or a “free garden” and place them in your favorite room where you’ll see them daily.
- Start a journal. There are lots of journal prompts on Pinterest, if you need inspiration.
- Declutter something (a room, your closet, your calendar).
- Remove something from your to-do list. (Feels good, doesn’t it?).
- Take a walk outside and observe nature (learn about forest bathing and try it for yourself).
- Get creative (e.g, write poetry, paint, knit, visit an art museum, complete a puzzle).
- Actively listen to others in a conversation (let go of the need to be right).
- Create a playlist of your favorite songs and listen to it throughout the day.
- Dance (as if no one is watching).
- Give back (help someone in need; donate to a worthy cause).
- Do something you’re good at (e.g., computer games, cooking, crossword puzzles).
- Try a new recipe (dinner, dessert, a refreshing smoothie or cocktail).
- Write a letter to a former teacher, thanking them for what they taught you academically and personally (if they are living, mail it to them).
- Take a bath (consider adding rose petals to the water, light candles, and play your favorite music while you soak).
- Hug your pet. If you don’t have a pet, hug a pillow. Hugs heal.
- Organize your workspace (or a closet, or kitchen cabinets, or anywhere that needs it).
- Start a morning routine (keep it simple to start, but stay consistent, hence routine). For ideas, check out the Aha! Moment: My Daily Routine on YouTube.
- Let someone go before you in line (or give the right of way to another driver).
- Spend time with those you love – because shared joy is more joy.
Here is your printable guide for the 30 Ways to Create More Joy in Your Life.
If you decide to follow these 30 ways to create more joy, I’d love to hear from you. Also, what other suggestions would you add to the list? Email me. And if you enjoyed this article, check out other articles on my website at Your Aha! Life. There, you can also subscribe to my monthly newsletter, listen to my latest podcast, access some of my favorite resources, and learn more about my private Facebook group, The Aha! Community. And follow me on Instagram @tonya.yourahalife.
I wish you more joy, more purpose, more fulfillment.