“The body heals with play, the mind heals with laughter, the spirit heals with joy.”
A new year is upon us and that often comes with a mix of emotions from anxiety and trepidation to hope and excitement for what lies ahead. Some of us jumpstart the year by creating a dream board or making new resolutions with the intention to carry them through and others avoid the word all together because of past failures. One thing is certain: the uncertainty of it.
Most of us continue from where we left off the previous year as if on autopilot with no consideration or reflection. So, what better time than to make a choice to do this year differently. After all, the best part of a new year is that we can leave the old habits, negativity, and whatever else didn’t work behind and start fresh.
In the past, we started the year immediately caught up in the “busy trap” racing through the day and week carrying it like a badge of honor. Yet, there was a sense of disconnection, loneliness, and an onslaught of never-ending “to-do’s.” Drudgery was outpacing joy. Every day was more of the same. Wake up, work, kids, eat, sleep, and repeat. Can you relate?
So, we decided to kickstart a new regime and put ourselves on our to-do list. Like so many, our lives were packed full of competing demands and priorities. Therefore, we needed to find better, healthy coping strategies to deal with the ongoing stress, and to get a feeling of more balance as we moved into the new year. This meant adding some play into our day. Think about how many summers you have left and how you want to spend your time. This year is about you and living it joyfully.
To get started, here are a few key questions to help prioritize you.
- Is this the best use of my time?
- What’s stopping me from taking a break today?
- Is it okay to say no to this?
- Will I feel regretful if I don’t do this?
These questions became part of our new self-care practice which helped us to stay on our joy-filled path. Over time, we realized a few simple, yet powerful, lessons. These became our essential guideposts to reset.
- Life is not a race to your destination.
- Ask for help.
- Speak your truth.
- Resolve yesterday’s baggage; don’t carry it into today.
- Connect with someone who cares. Your tribe is out there.
- Name three reasons to be grateful every day.
- Revel in the simple pleasures (joy gems) of life.
- Fill your daily energy tank with some fun and laughter.
Make yourself a priority in your life this new year because who else will do it if not you? The choices you make influence the quality of your day-to-day life. Even when the change is considered positive, it isn’t typically easy and requires patience and effort. Often when January 1 comes, we think we can snap our fingers and make a change, yet more often, it can be slow and frustrating.
The good news is that the benefits far outweigh the challenges if you stick with it. Imagine if you were eighty years old looking back on your life, would you be happy with how you lived? Every year is an opportunity to reset what no longer works and take small steps to create a more joy-filled life.
Beware of the busy trap; it will try to snare you. If you get caught up, remember tomorrow is a new day. We reminded each other to get back on track. If you need support, find a friend to help each other stay motivated. Here are a few tips that helped us to have more joy in our busy day.
- Schedule “me time” into your calendar, even if it’s only for fifteen minutes.
- Start your day with gratitude – name three.
- Notice and relish in the simple pleasures: a hot shower, cup of coffee, hearing a child laugh, etc.
- Make a joy list.
The new year is the time to be bold, take positive action, and go for what you want. When we put ourselves on our priority list, we are saying to the world that “I matter” and “I deserve to be joy-filled.” We are all worthy of love, joy, and all that is good. The simple truth is that joy makes us feel lighter, better, and more alive. That said, we also understand that life is messy, and no one is perfect, nor is there a “perfect life.” Rather, we each get to decide what is right and best for us. And, it doesn’t mean that we won’t get stuck again in the “busy trap” or have a bad day or week ahead; it just means that we are making a choice to live our life more joyfully.
So, take a moment and reframe. Ask yourself the questions above to prioritize what matters to you. Remember that being joy-filled is a daily practice. Like any muscle, it needs to be used and developed often. We are still working on building ours. As we herald in another glorious year, remind yourself that the clock is ticking, and there’s no time like the present to reset.
Happy New Year!
Michelle Burke is a sought-after, highly respected, certified coach, facilitator, speaker, and founder and CEO of Energy Catalyst Group, a consulting and training company for well-being. She has worked with Stanford University, Disney, HP, Microsoft, Sony Electronics and Snap Inc., and has been featured in Business Week Magazine, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, and Star Ledger. Michelle is the author of The Valuable Office Professional and coauthor of 15 Minute Pause: A Radical Reboot for Busy People. She partnered with coauthor Lilamani de Silva to create Joy Cards, ReENERGIZE Your Life, a self-care online program and Teambuilder™, a card game for building collaboration. Michelle enjoys spending time with loved ones, fun adventures, cooking, reading, sports, and walking her dog Jadie.
Lilamani de Silva, MSc, has had an eclectic career across multiple industries including media relations, TV production, and the creation of innovative products for home, work and play with coauthor, Michelle Burke. She also worked for London Zoo, BBC World, and has helped produce documentaries for Discovery, Animal Planet, and ITV. An avid self-taught painter, Lilamani has sold her artwork worldwide. Her paintings illustrate Joy Cards. Her many experiences have opened her mind to different cultures and perspectives, which are reflected in her artwork and other projects. In her spare time, Lilamani enjoys being active, traveling, reading, painting, and spending time with loved ones.
Learn more about the authors Michelle Burke and Lilamani de Silva and the Joy Cards by visiting energycatalystgroup.com/joy-cards/