Over the last half a year, our country has shifted in ways we could not have anticipated. Many Mommas are now juggling working from home, while simultaneously teaching virtual learning to more than one child. I know for my kid crew (2 years old and 4 months) I did not have to worry about schooling decisions. However, once playgrounds are not a viable option due to the tundra we call winter, here in Green Bay, Wisconsin, I am not entirely sure how we will all survive.
Regardless of how or when your world changed, stress, complaints, “political” debates, and overwhelmed Mommas are everywhere. We were already walking this earth before the pandemic but it has now taken parenting to ANOTHER level. Things we relied on as moms, such as daycare, schools, grandparent support can and have been taken away from us in the blink of an eye. Even simple things we have come to count on as moms have been in large part taken from us (cough cough Starbucks?).
The good news is… WE ARE STILL IN CONTROL and one of the things we are in control of is our Joy.
I recently attended a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting where the theme of the meeting was joy. It was not until that meeting, that I realized I was looking at life all wrong. Once I understood that Joy is internal and that Joy is something we hold within and that carries with us to be shared with each person we interact with on a daily basis, including our family, it clicked. I needed to stop acting like this virus owed me something and start making the best out of this situation and spread this contagious thing called joy. I noticed quickly, by implementing small things into my daily routine, how my joy impacted not only myself but my family. My kids, my husband, and myself were all happier.
Here are the seven tips I have implemented to create more Joy in our house…
FLIP IT – What is the silver lining? Look for the positive in whatever negative situation you are viewing . I am not saying to not acknowledge your feelings, yes you can be sad that your event was cancelled or that there is no Starbucks every other day but give yourself an allotted amount of time to be annoyed or sad and move on.
One way to help you do this is to make a list of what is stressing you out and then list ways in which you can fix that situation. For me, the fact that I have so few options for my kids in inclement weather, stresses me out. Instead of continuing to mope around my house and blame my husband for moving me 1000 miles away from my family and friends, I decided to make a plan for winter. I set a small budget, spent some time on Pinterest, and cleaned out half of my basement storage. I now have a decent plan for handling the colder months ahead and instead of looking at the negative, I am viewing the next months in a different light.
GET MOVING – Every day move your body for 30 minutes. I know, I know this is everywhere but I really do know this works for spreading joy. Personally, if I do not do this, I turn into Medusa by the end of the day. Especially, when we are home ALL DAY. I do best with trying to attain this goal before the kids get up. With a small baby, however, it is not always attainable. Some days I get a quick 15-minute walk in with my kids and then have to take another walk closer to bedtime. Ensuring this is a part of your daily routine, however, will boost your mood and bring more joy into your house.
COMPLIMENT SOMEONE – You elevate yourself when you elevate others. A quick way of spreading joy is giving someone an honest compliment. Everyone in our life has positive traits and when we encourage someone in a positive way, it only brings up the mood in the room. Even my 2 year old son, when I compliment him for being a great big brother our day goes a lot smoother and typically results in less hits to his sister’s head. Spread that joy and be the reason someone feels appreciated, today!
GRATITUDE WRITING – Every morning, as soon as I open my eyes, I list out five things I am grateful for. Some days, I have the time to write those gratitude’s out in a journal and other days, I list them off in my head on my way to my son’s room to grab him out of his crib. Regardless, I have noticed listing off these gratitude’s shifts my perspectives to a glass half full mentality. I picked up this tip from Rachel Hollis who is a big proponent of this process and staying consistent with the daily practice of recognizing gratitude’s brings more joy to my day and I know it will do the same for you.
ZONE IN ON HAPPINESS – Happiness differs in Joy in that it tends to be external. Meaning something makes you happy I.E. people, places or things that bring up our mood. Before the pandemic, I heavily relied on happiness coming from outside sources such as manicures, massages and going out to dinners with my husband. Due to the virus, I had to focus on smaller things that bring me happiness, right here in my home.
Examples of things, which I have found bring me happiness are spa face masks, long showers, relaxing music, tea and embracing seasonal crafts with my kids. These things are easy to implement in my weekly routine and bring me happiness. Bringing me happiness ultimately leads me to be more joyful because I am taking the time to put myself first, even if it is just for the two minutes it takes to make my cup of tea.
SMILE – If you have little kids in the house this is an easy one. My toddler thinks it is hysterical to be chased. When I am feeling the stress rise up in my throat, I focus in on my toddler and enjoy playtime with him, which leads to a good belly laugh that spreads joy quickly. If that is not an option, putting on a good comedy podcast or show can help bring up the mood and typically lead to a laugh.
DANCE PARTY – This is always my go-to during meltdowns and chaos (you know the moment right before you want to lock yourself in the bathroom), I start a dance party. I put on my favorite music and get us to all dance around. No it’s not pretty and I think sometimes there may even be some inappropriate words that make their way into the music (I blame Alexa) but that is a sure way to snap all our moods in a positive direction and bring Joy to our house. We use the Alexa Show (Amazon affiliate link) which is awesome for needing a quick mood redirection.
I know that several of these appear cheesy and even a couple months ago, I would have rolled my eyes at some of these tips. The truth is however, I wasn’t being my best self. I was not being the mom, I know I could be. I am not talking about a perfect mom but a joyful one. A mom that makes the days better and the hard days seem brighter. I was looking at the world as a half-empty glass as opposed to one half full. None of us, saw this pandemic coming but we now can control how we respond to it. Most importantly, we can teach our kids how we respond to stress and change in these crazy times.
Hope this spreads even just a bit a Joy into your house this season. For more tips on joy, please check out Household Joy.