Finding More Joy in Our Lives - Don't We All Want That?
I have a patient who has gone through a pretty hard year. Let’s call her Mary, for privacy’s sake. Mary was in the clinic yesterday, saying to me that she is feeling more like her old self and is ready to find more joy in her life. She was asking about any ideas that I had on this subject.
Well, it’s an interesting question, isn’t it?
Finding more joy in our lives. Don’t we all want that?
For women with families to care for, whether they are stay-at-home moms (this IS a full time job, by the way!!) or moms who balance their work life with their family life, joy can become a very elusive concept. We keep our loved ones fed, help with homework, drive them to activities, clean house, fold laundry, and so much more to make our lives work. There is little time for us, and the concept of joy just isn’t close to becoming a reality at times.
I live that life. When my kids were little, there was a time when I just felt like the “me” that I knew and loved had disappeared. I wondered if she’d ever come back (she did!).
My kids are older now and more self-sufficient, so I actually have had time to find more joy in my life these past few years, and I’d love to help you find more time for joy in your busy life.
How to find the time for Joy for moms of smaller children
Little ones demand a lot of focus and energy in your day. As moms, we put ourselves last and our needs become a great idea someday. Finding joy is not as hard as it seems. It’s about picking a time that works for you and your partner and PUTTING IT ON YOUR CALENDAR. This is the secret ingredient to finding joy. If you don’t schedule the time, it will never just happen.
If your partner is home in the evenings, schedule a time block for you once a week and GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. Just walk away. Plan something that you like to do, DO NOT BUY GROCERIES. Find something that you love to do and do it!. Relax with friends, join a creative class, sign up for an exercise class, take up yoga or just go for a walk.
If your mom or your mother-in-law are close and they are itching for alone time with your kids, set up a routine gramma time on your calendars. If you schedule every Friday at 10 (or a time that works for you) once a week, you can both plan your weeks to include this time. It becomes routine. You then have time to look forward to. A time for you to spend on an activity that pleases you and, in the meantime, your kids get spoiled. It’s a great WIN/WIN opportunity for both you and your mom or mother-in-law.
If you don’t have a grandmother close, swap babysitting time with a friend who has kids your age. You take theirs on Tuesday mornings, she takes yours on Fridays and you both get 2 hours of alone time. It works so great and you have a guilt-free two hours to yourself.
How to find Joy for moms of teens or adult children
Grown kids are more self-sufficient and you have the ability to focus on you, and what pleases you. However, you might be like my patient, Mary, and you don’t know how to get started. These are a few of my suggestions:
Zumba is one of the most joyful group activities I have ever experienced. If you go to a gym and are there when the Zumba class ends, you will see some pretty happy people leaving at the end of their class. The music is awesome, you move your body in a joyful way, you are with people just enjoying the moment and having fun. As a chiropractor, I have noticed that my patients who Zumba regularly experience greater flexibility in their bodies.
I am very biased when it comes to tai chi, as I have been taking a continuing class for the past 3 years. Tai chi is a moving meditation that comes with huge health benefits. It helps you to find peace and joy in a gentle way. After my class on Saturdays, I am happy for the rest of the week. I have more energy. I move better. I am more flexible. I have better posture. I sleep better. Sex is better (I’m not kidding!) I have more focus. If you are at all interested, find a tai chi class close to you and sign up. You won’t regret it, I promise.
Join a club or take a class
There are many people who like what you like, you just have to find them. Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do? Here are suggestions: cooking, knitting, quilting, painting, drawing, creative writing, woodwork, stained glass, book clubs, hiking clubs, walking or running or biking clubs, adult swim team, the list is endless. Write down all of the things you’ve always wanted to learn or do and pick one!!!
There are many health benefits experienced by people who volunteer regularly. If you have a talent you could share, if you have time to make someone else’s life easier, this might be a great place for you to find joy. Contact the volunteer organization close to you and see if something interests you. You’ll get out of the house and meet people and feel great about the difference you are making in someone else’s life.
We are all worth taking time to find more joy in our lives. As moms, we need to make ourselves a priority – to find time for ourselves, commit to that time and get out of the house to have fun. Our lives becomes better and richer the more that we value ourselves and know that we are worth making time in our lives for joy.
Dr. Melanie Beingessner is a pregnancy and pediatric-focused chiropractor, a breastfeeding counselor, an infant massage instructor and a mom of three awesome kids.