So it is the end of week five in quarantine. It’s accurate to say that many of us have settled into our new normal. Whatever that might be.
I’ve been doing as well as can be expected, keeping myself positive and productive. That is, until this weekend. This weekend I temporarily lost my mental battle. It was triggered by various things but all centered around visiting with family. I have friends and acquaintances who are ignoring the recommended social distancing and are visiting their extended families or friends. That is their choice, of course. But it hurt. I want to visit my parents. I want to sit with my sister and brothers. I want to hang out in New Jersey with my extended family. But I don’t. And that is proving to be mentally difficult for me.
I started to recognize that if I didn’t handle those thoughts immediately, I might find myself in a downward spiral.
So what to do? I already had a schedule of quarantine practices I was adhering to and while that was working for me, I needed to add another tool for my mental toolbox.
The answer came as a result of community-wide challenge I was participating in called the #Next90Days. The week’s class happened to be joy. INTENTIONAL JOY, to be exact.
In a nutshell, the idea is to schedule joy into every day. I know, right? Who schedules joy? I’d never heard of that before. It didn’t seem natural. But desperate times call for desperate measures so I vowed to keep an open mind.
In order to “schedule” your joy you need to first start with some introspection. Because how can you schedule something you’ve never contemplated before?
Now, if you would have asked me back in February for a joy list it would have looked dramatically different then the one I produced this week. It would have included travel and wine, day trips with my family and fun nights out with friends. My quarantine joy list is very different.
My Joy List (Quarantine Edition)
- A slow, peaceful cup of coffee in the morning
- A good storytelling podcast
- A Skype or Zoom call with family or friends
- Time alone in a beautiful setting
- A cuddle session with my kids
- A luxurious bubble bath
- An excellent book
- A long, slow run outdoors
- A friend that I can be real with
- Blasting great music while I do chores around the house
A joy list is very individual, of course. Everyone’s list will be dramatically different. And be sure to list things that bring you TRUE JOY rather than things that ‘kind of make you happy.’ You want to include items that instantly transport you to a new frame of mind.
The point is if you know what feeds your soul, you can schedule some time into every week to guarantee moments of joy.
I can tell you that having this list is working wonders for me. When I am restless and starting to feel the overwhelm of it all I pluck something off of my list to do. Simple and very effective. I always return with a smile on my face.
So if you are feeling mentally challenged during these times, I’d encourage you to follow this practice. Make a list of 10 things that have the power to feed your spirit at this moment in time and start sprinkling them into your life immediately.
Feel free to leave a comment and tell me something that is on your joy list…