A few months ago, I found myself caught in the crazy whirlwind of everyday life. Life felt a little monotonous–the dishes, the diapers, the laundry, the cleaning, the homework help, the swim lessons, the cooking. I was stressed and exhausted and, frankly, wasn’t feeling much joy.
Yes, I loved my everyday reality. I loved my kids and my husband and our life, but I was feeling a bit blah. My husband was feeling the same way, and I think the kids were starting to also.
We weren’t headed in the best direction. Sure, life was good, but good has never been our goal. We want our life to be full, meaningful, joyful, incredible.
The Big Idea
I was talking to Jess about it one night, trying to figure out how to change it. “Maybe we should do something adventurous? A trip, maybe?”
But my amazing husband had a different idea. A much better idea. “Hmm…I don’t think so. We go on trips and that’s fun, but what we need to do is figure out how to bring more joy into our everyday.”
I nodded.That sounded great and everything. But how?
Of course he had a great plan in mind. He walked me through it, and within about a half hour, we had a great plan for how to bring more joy into our everyday lives.
We’re All in this Together
(Who’s singing High School Musical now? 🙋🏼 Anyone? Just me…? 🤷🏼♀️)
Since that moment, I’ve listened closer to conversations I’ve had with other moms or seen happening online and I realized something:
We weren’t alone.
It seems more moms and dads and families feel this way than we know. I’m not even sure a lot of them realize it–they’re so stuck in the cycle of life, thinking their reality is normal. That’s just what life is–chaos and stress and monotony. Life as a mom will always have chaos and stress and a little monotony, but it can also be SO MUCH MORE.
Here are the six steps my husband walked me through to help us create more joy in our lives:
Step #1: Make a Joy List
Make a list of everything you think brings you joy. Jot down anything that comes to mind. You can include bigger things if you want (like trips), but be sure to include smaller things as well. Include things that take a day, a few hours, or even a few minutes.
Think about your typical week: when are you happiest? Think of your childhood and teenage years…what brought you joy? What do you enjoy doing with your kids or as a family? Do you have any hobbies? What makes you feel at peace? Accomplished? Strong?
My list looked something like this:
- Listening to music
- Listening to podcasts
- Going for walks
- Tickle fights with the kids
- Reading scriptures or an uplifting talk
- Doing something nice for someone
- Getting out of the house to do something fun
- Playing games
- Movie Nights
- Writing something inspirational
- Crossing off a to-do item I’ve been procrastinating
- Reading to the kids
- Girl’s Nights
- Getting on Instagram (for a set amount of time)
- Getting on Facebook (for groups or intentional purposes, not just browsing)
- Watching a couple YouTube videos (my faves are routine videos, motivational, life hacks, makeup tutorials, and book recommendations)
- Taking courses of some sort
- At-home spa nights
- Bright colors
- Taking a class at the gym
- Making lists
- Dance parties in the kitchen
- Cuddling with my kids
- Jotting down my thoughts
- Watching a movie with Jess or as a family
I added contingencies on Facebook and Instagram because I know those things DON’T bring me joy when I’m not using them intentionally. I like to check up on family, look at groups that teach me things, and watch a few Instagram stories. But if I stay on for too long, it makes me feel worse. So feel free to add any contingencies you think you need!
Step #2: Joy Score
Now, think about each item one at a time and ask this question: on a joy scale of 1-10, how much joy does this item bring me? When you ask this question, ONLY think about the actual moment of participating in that activity. Don’t think about the prep work it may take to get to there. Don’t think about the mess or after effects you’ll have to deal with. Just think about the actual moment.
For instance, if I was looking at trips, I wouldn’t think about packing, laundry, cleaning, unpacking, the long drive, etc. I would simply think about the actual vacation.
Write the joy score next to each item, then move to the next step.
Step #3: Stress Score
Okay, now you’re going to look at each item and give it a score based upon how much stress it brings you (on a scale of 1-10). This is where you would think about all the surrounding factors: prep work, finding a babysitter, possible cost, clean-up, things that could go wrong, anxiety triggers, etc.Think about each item and write down how much stress doing that item potentially causes.
Step #4: Final Score
Now take the Joy Score and the Stress Score for each item and average them out for a final score. Write that final score next to each item.
Did anything surprise you? I know this process really surprised me!
Step #5: Adding Joy to Your Everyday
Look at your list. You should be doing at least one item on the list EVERY SINGLE DAY. Yes, I really mean that. It can be something that takes only a few minutes, but be sure to include some longer ones once or twice a week as well.
Also, take note of the final score. The ones with the highest score should be worked into your life as often as possible. Ones with lower scores can (and should!) still make regular appearances in your life, but not as often as those with a score of 6+.
Step #6: Make a Plan
Choose 7 (or more!) things from your list and schedule them into next week. Then STICK TO IT. Set reminders in your phone. Put them in your planner. Set Google Calendar alerts. Do whatever you need to do to get yourself to stick to it. Trust me on this.
Once I made a plan and stuck to it, I felt my life become more joyful, my load become lighter, and our relationship as a family grow stronger. I hope these steps can help you do the same!
What do you do to bring more joy into your everyday life?