New Year’s Resolutions: How To Put Your Joy First

Life is busy, isn’t it? Even when the holiday season arrives, we run ourselves ragged and by the time the biggest days of the season arrive we’re run off our feet, unable to truly enjoy all the work we’ve put in. Then we jump right back into work, we have errands to chase, kids to run after, family members to check-in on. No wonder stress is on the rise. How can we use our New Year’s Resolutions to put our joy first?

• Top Priorities
Sitting down to plan and organize might not sound like joy, but… you have to start somewhere. One major source of stress is the belief that you have too much to do and you will never be able to achieve it. So, learn how to prioritize so that you can focus on the most important goals first. You can’t control everything, but you should be mindful of what you can control – because your joy depends on it.

• Laugh & Love
Laughter relieves tension and welcomes joy, by relieving cortisol levels and releasing endorphins. So, when you’re faced with a potentially stressful situation – laugh instead. We often immediately react in frustration, when your elderly parent misplaces the dinner you prepared in advance ignore your immediate reaction of exasperation and laugh it off.

You can still add more laughter to your life – pick your favorite TV show and find time to watch at least one episode a day. More importantly, your body doesn’t know if you’re faking laughter or not. So, if you need to put on a fake chuckle for your health and your joy.

• Socialize
It’s hard to believe how spending time with others can increase your joy when you spend so much of your time frustrated by people. Humans get joy from being around other people, but not just anyone. Your close friends and family. So, make time to meet up with someone you love at least once a week. Even if it’s just a quick cup of coffee.

You will notice a serious difference in your happiness levels when you spend more time with your friends. In addition to your weekly coffee meetup, try to organize a monthly gathering for dinner. It’s a more relaxing social opportunity and you can invite a few friends.

• Self-Care
Your mind and your body are connected and when you are under stress, both are at risk. So, self-care is important. Part of self-care is looking after your health, so exercise, eating well, and getting a good night’s sleep are part of practicing self-care. Sleep is a major key, and it’s not just one night of good sleep that you need, it’s a pattern. So, get up every morning at the same time, and go to bed at the same time, too. Struggling to get to sleep? Get out of bed and try reading until you feel sleepy.

Moreover, making time for just you is important, too. Whether you decide to get a massage in your time or you just sit with a good book. The important thing is that you take time to recharge your batteries by doing things you love.

• Be Present
Do you spend a lot of time looking back? Or are you obsessed with your future? It’s difficult to find joy in your present when you aren’t focused on it. So, stop looking forward and back and instead, recognize what you have going for you now. You can do that by thinking about what you have to be grateful for.

Never forget to practice the activities that bring you joy – don’t wait for it to come to you, seek it out in everything that you do.

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