7 Ways Moms Can Introduce More Joy into Their Lives

Who couldn’t use a little more joy in their life? Below is a list of seven ways you can add joy to your life without spending a lot (or any) money. These changes can be small baby steps (which I recommend) or bigger life changes, but all will open you to more joy and happiness in your life.

Not all of the suggestions will be right for you and your lifestyle but I suggest you pick one and try it. If it works great! You can consider adding another or just sticking with that one change.

If it doesn’t fit or causes you more stress try something different, find what works for you. For those overachievers out there who might see this as a “to-do” list and think you must do them all to have joy, I suggest you stop at #1!

1. Let Something Go – Sometimes the best thing you can do, is to NOT do. Is there something on your to-do list that causes you to feel guilty because you never have time to get to it? Perhaps it’s a project that you plan to get to someday, or something as simple as. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your list and let something go.

Maybe your were planning to write a thank you for dinner party you attended two weeks ago and time got away from you, just let it go and say thanks the next time you see the hostess or shoot her an email or text. Maybe you were planning on repainting a piece of furniture that is chipped? Call it distressed and call it a day. The idea is don’t fall into the all to common trap of thinking there is only one way to do something.

The same thing applies for projects such as making scrapbooks for each of your children. Let it go (at least for now). Maybe crafting isn’t your thing; you could always print pictures and just put them in a box. Sometimes rummaging through a box and sharing memories as they come up can be a fun experience.

Do you have a long list of things that need fixing? Delegate, hire a handyman. Maybe it’s something as small as getting clothes dry-cleaned and letting go of the ironing for the week. No matter what it is, there has to be one thing on your list that you can let go of to free up mental space and time. DO IT and tell me you don’t feel a little lighter. The point is, give yourself a break.

For example, I have a collection of wine corks that I was going to make into a bulletin board. I’ve had them for years and they take up valuable space while serving as a reminder of yet another project I meant to do. I gave them to a craftier friend and now have a little more mental and physical space in my life.

2. Be Honest About What You Really Want – I think this is a very common problem for many women. We have our “should” list. Take some time to think about how you want to spend your time/energy and what is most important to you. Make a conscious decision about where to invest your time, money and energy.

Do you accept every invitation to do something even if you don’t particularly enjoy the person or activity because you feel that you should be nice or because they came to your last get together? if so you may be overextending yourself and that is not a recipe for joy!

Maybe it’s doing or not doing something because it’s not practical and you should be doing something else….who says! The best example of this is a good friend who told me she was studying Russian. I thought this was a cool and interesting choice so I asked her what made her decide to do that. She said, “I know I should learn Spanish since I live in California, but I’ve always wanted to learn Russian. The truth is I don’t put the energy into learning Spanish because it’s not what I really want to do, so finally I decided that I didn’t care about what was practical that I was going to do what I wanted to do and now I’m learning Russian.” This was an easy decision for her to make because she REALLY wanted to do it and now she is enjoying herself.

3. Enjoy Your Children (Family) – We all lead very busy lives and can easily create a routine that becomes a daily grind, so to speak. I suggest carving out time to do an activity with your children (or as a family) that they really enjoy.

Now I say something they enjoy because it will make it a more enjoyable activity for all. You as the adult can focus on the joy it brings them, which will in turn bring more joy into your life. Try incorporating a family activity once a week, I encourage you to find the time that fits your lifestyle and schedule and make it a priority. The benefits could be a better relationship with your children.

When children feel seen and heard they often will feel happier and you may see this positively impact other times in the week. Let me offer a few suggestions on how you can interact with your children in a fun and positive way.

Sit down with your toddler or baby and play with their toys or have a tea party with the TV, computer and phone off for 30 mins. With an older child work on an art project or play a video game with them. Ask your teen what they want to do and try to go with it even if it’s not your first choice. If possible trying to see if they are open to an activity where you are interacting with each other, but take baby steps. Perhaps the first time you do this they may want to a movie (whether it appeals to you or not), go with it and maybe the next time it will be something more interactive. You can always give suggestions but try to let them choose.

The important thing here is making the time. Maybe you need to let the need for a perfectly clean house go for the moment, or the endless to-do list, they will be there when you’re done but your children will only be living with you a relatively short time and what could be more important than your relationships with your loved ones.

4. Schedule “Me” Time – Just as your relationship with others is important, so is your relationship with yourself. Every mom (and dad for that matter) needs to have down-time where they can rest and rejuvenate. I know we are busy but I often see women not allow themselves this time. Ignoring your own needs can happen for many different reasons but I’ll tell you now you don’t win a prize for not taking care of yourself, it doesn’t make you a better parent in fact it can mean the opposite and it’s bad modeling for your children.

“Me” time can looks different for everyone. It could be done alone, with friends or your partner, but I encourage you to find time to make “me time” a priority. Maybe it’s taking 30 mins at the end of the day to take a long bubble-bath with candles and soft music, or spending time during your child’s nap on Facebook catching up with people. Take two hours on a weekend to get a pedicure or sit at a coffee shop reading a book or a trashy magazine. Maybe it’s attending a Mom’s Night Out sponsored by the FUN Mom’s Club or one organized by you. Remember, giving yourself that time away from the demands and stresses of home will help you feel more rejuvenated and help you be a more connected and patient parent when you are with your family. Figure out what will work best for you in the limited time you have. I think about the Sex and the City episode where Carrie (the main character) says, “when I first moved to New York and was broke I would sometimes buy a Vogue magazine instead of eating lunch because it fed my soul more.”  Figure out what would nourish you best and give yourself permission to do it!

5. Start A Gratitude Journal – Sometimes finding joy in your life is just a matter of acknowledging it. Buy a journal and each night write down 5 things that you are grateful for that day. Maybe you can’t find things when you first start that’s ok but I bet overtime you’ll have a hard time only listing five. Some days it may be a struggle you may have to say things like, I’m grateful that I’m alive or that my car didn’t break down, still, make the list. Keeping a gratitude journal will teach you to focus on the positive side of things and there almost always is a positive side. The Dalai Lama has said that 90 percent of all suffering is mental, which means that we have to power to change how we are looking at a situation and that gratitude and joy are within our reach.

6. Give back – Whether that be volunteering somewhere or helping out a friend or stranger. There is something about helping others, especially those in need that makes us feel good about ourselves. Giving of ourselves in a selfless way, expecting nothing in return can be its own reward. There are so many non-profits and charities that would love volunteers. You can make a real difference in someone else’s life.

Maybe you don’t have time to volunteer on a regular basis but there are many places where you can volunteer for a day. For example, host a coffee social for the FUN Mom’s Club, or make a meal for a friend and drop it off. You could bring a gift of flowers to a neighbor to brighten their day or give change to the person in line who is short. Whether you consider it “giving back” or “paying it forward” doing something for others can make you feel good.

7. Take A Risk – Risk gets a bad rap. This doesn’t mean engaging in risky behavior but rather to push ourselves outside our comfort zone from time to time. A risk could be getting married, joining a group, traveling, or starting a new job. Taking a risk doesn’t have to be as extreme as jumping out of a plane (but it could be).

Write down a list of things that you would like to do in the next week, next month, next year and pick one that you’d be willing to commit to. You’ve heard the saying no risk, no reward…

Even making one small change can help you introduce more joy in your life. I would love to hear what works for you. Did you try one of my suggestions or something new?

My goal is to create a Joy Page filled with people’s success stories! Email amber@amberhawley.com.

Wishing you a joy-filled life!