Alex and I were chatting the other day about how much joy we find in simple activities. So, I thought I'd share a few of the little things we do day-to-day that make us smile...
1. Going to the dog park. Alex and I were totally those weirdos who went to dog parks before we actually had our own dog. We loved watching all the different sized pups run around with each other. There's something contagious about the excitement and exuberance of doggos at play. Now that we have Lucy, we can really join the fun...
2. Watching the sunrise. We're up early in our house. Lately, it's been around 4:30am. Alex and I watch the sunrise together every morning. Each sunrise is different to the last and serves as a beautiful reminder that every day is a gift; an opportunity for a fresh start.
3. Taking walks around the neighborhood. Walks are one of my favorite forms of meditation. Walking gives me a chance to connect with neighbors and enjoy the little things I love about our area. I'll often challenge myself to notice things I've never noticed before. This helps me to stay present and not get carried away with my thoughts.
4. Sending someone a thoughtful text or card. I try to do this once a month. I'll think of a friend or family member I haven't connected with in a while and send them a text or card to let them know they're loved.
5. Stargazing. The night sky fills me with curiosity and wonder. One of my favorite things to do is pause while I'm outside at night and take in the expansive serenity of the evening sky. It gets me thinking about the bigger picture and my role in the universe.
6. Naps. Alex turned me onto this one. About once a week we'll set aside 30 minutes of our day to take a glorious, guilt-free nap. If you don't nap, I suggest giving it a try - you'll be amazed by how much more energy you have the rest of the day.
7. Road trips. One of our favorite pastimes is jumping in the car and going for a drive. We talk about life, goals, aspirations, challenges, and sometimes we just enjoy each other's company in silence.
8. Random gestures. This could be anything: holding a door open for someone, flashing a smile, or buying a stranger a meal. I try to do at least one thing each day for someone I don't know. By showing kindness to others, I find it's easier to show kindness to myself.
9. Volunteering. We've volunteered quite a bit over the years. There's something about giving your time and energy to others that feeds the soul. Volunteering is also a great way to connect to your community and meet new people.
10. Looking at old pictures. "Aw - remember that time when...?" Looking at old photos is a really great way to reflect on how far you've come in life... even if we're just glad we finally got out of those awkward teen years.
11. Doing cartwheels. When was the last time you did a cartwheel? If you're physically able, do it for no other reason than to bring joy to your inner child. You'll get the blood pumping and feel a rush of youthful energy!
12. Getting my boogie on. As much as I wish I could say that *I* have the best moves, Alex is the reigning dance champion in this house. He's got moves like Jagger. Dancing frees up energy in our bodies and reminds us to not take ourselves so seriously. Be goofy. Let loose.
13. Getting creative. Whether it’s writing a poem, painting, or just doodling... I find deep joy by expressing myself creatively. A word of caution - try your best not to get judgmental of whatever you create. Creating something that you think is "good" isn't the point - it's about the process!
14. Giving a sincere compliment. Whether it's to your partner, a friend, or a total stranger. When I pay attention to the things I admire in others, not only does it make me happy, but I also notice more things I admire in myself.
15. Driving slow, windows down. Most of us are perpetually in a hurry to get places. One of the things I love doing is leaving 15 minutes earlier than what I need. Then, I get to enjoy getting there at a slower pace. I'll roll the windows down, feel the wind on my face, taking in the sounds and smells.
16. Jumping in a puddle or pile of leaves. Remember when you would actually look for puddles and leaves to jump in as a kid? Well, it's just as fun as an adult. As adults we often take ourselves so seriously that we don't do those little things we did as children. When we lighten our hearts, we experience that pure free-flowing joy that so many of us felt as kids.
17. Leaving the umbrella at home. I don't get an opportunity to do this much now that we live in Arizona, but sometimes I'll leave the umbrella at home on a rainy day so I actually feel the rain. There's something about the cool drops that soothes the soul.
18. Spending time in the garden. I love caring for plants... it's wonderfully therapeutic. If you don't have the space for a garden, a little potted plant works a charm.
19. Listening to music. Whether it's finding a great Spotify playlist, discovering a new artist, or listening to live music at a local park... music is a universal language that connects all of us.
20. Sitting around a campfire. There's something so soothing about sitting around a fire. For me, it feels tribal, safe, and grounding. When the weather's nice, Alex and I will often build a little fire. We'll grab a glass of wine, take in the night sky, and chat about whatever comes up.
21. Jumping on the bed. Lots of parents teach their kids that jumping on beds is a no-no. MY mom taught me that jumping on beds is actually really fun and should be done frequently. Now, I don't do it all that often (out of fear I'll break something), but sometimes something comes over me and jumping on the bed is the only cure.
22. Having a work-day picnic. When the weather cooperates, Alex and I will often sit outside during the week and enjoy a picnic lunch in our own back yard. It's a great way to enjoy the outdoors and break up your day.
23. Playing hooky for the day. Yeah ok... let's be honest, most of us (including myself!) would struggle to take an entire day "off". But, every once in a while, I'll take a few hours to enjoy just being with myself -- I'll have a nice bath, read, meditate... or channel my inner Bruno Mars and do absolutely nothing.
What are some things you do that bring you joy each day? Let me know in the comments and I'll update the list!
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