Tis the season of JOY! We sing songs about Joy, we read stories about Joy, we hear Joy in our surroundings, and most of us desire Joy in our lives. But what happens when we are not feeling joyful? What about those times when we are stressed out, exhausted, cashed strapped and lonely? Just finished with another Finding Your Joy in the Midst of Holiday Chaos workshop last week. It never ceases to amaze me the difference between how we picture the Holiday season and our reality. What I have heard are the cries of people saying they are not feeling joy, they are feeling the opposite and questioning why.
Just like in the workshop, let’s look at some of the things that fill us with joy. For some of you it can be quality family time, baking Christmas cookies, spending time with friends, laughter, quietly sitting in front of the fire, watching a holiday movie with the kids, going for a walk, time to take care of ourselves, sleeping, or listening to Holiday music. How can we increase the opportunities to have these joy-filled activities in our lives? Let’s take a look at some of the things that might get in the way of our joy and ways to turn those joy busters around.
Stress – financial – not having enough, spending over our income. How can we turn that around from a joy buster to something that brings joy? BUDGET your gift giving. Give hand-made gifts this year. Choose to give a board game to your family instead of individual gifts, then play the game together. Give experiences – a gift of staying at your home for a weekend and going to a park to play with you– not only is it an experience with you, but you get exercise too. Many options are available on Pinterest – search “experience gifts”.
Stress – recent relational loss – can be due to death, divorce, conflict or break-up. Decide on a way to remember your loved one – pictures, stories, visit a favorite place and celebrate the time you had together. Do something in honor of your loved one. With a divorce, conflict or break-up – take time for yourself to feel love from your personal spiritual resource. Take time to learn from the experience; what will you do differently in the future? Write, draw or talk with a counselor/coach. You can contact me at Speak To Me
Family Stress– strained relationships or knowing that “one person” will be at the same event –PLAN. You can plan the time you will be at the event – showing up with a time limit you can get through the time, keeping your joy and spending time with the person showing them what JOY looks like in you.
Expectations – this has made almost EVERY workshop participants list of joy busters. Our expectations of a perfect family gathering or perfect gift, or perfect 5 course meal, or perfect outfit, or perfect decorated house……. STOP!!! Have simple expectations for yourself, and truth be told, lower expectations for other activities. One way to do that is to simply remove the words – SHOULD and/or SUPPOSED to – from your thoughts and words. We give you permission to NOT- do, say, arrange, plan, perform for anyone especially if that action involves the words SHOULD or SUPPOSE TO. What do I mean? Who needs to have 10 kinds of Christmas cookies while sitting around one of the 3 decorated trees in your home? NO ONE!! If you desire to bake cookies with your family or friends, plan it and make time for it. If you feel like you HAVE to bake cookies because of others’ expectations….DON’T DO IT!! Relax, enjoy your quiet restful time knowing you are able to give out of your overabundance of JOY.
Which leads us to another JOY boosting suggestion – do something different this year! Whether that be to agree to no gifts, giving through a charity such as Samaritan’s Purse, or World Vision in honor of your family, having a soup and sandwich Christmas meal or a bring an ingredient for the crock of soup. Whatever you plan or participate in, it’s to bring you JOY. If doing all the other things you’ve always done because its tradition or others say you SHOULD, evaluate if that activity brings you JOY. If not, don’t do it!! If it does, have at it, knowing that this activity will take a scheduled amount of time and energy!
Another important part of finding your JOY is to take care of yourself! Taking care of ourselves is not selfish, it’s caring for ourselves that empowers us to give out of our abundance. Being a stressed out, tired, broke, crazy person is not going to bring anyone JOY, for sure not you! Take time to rest, eat right, exercise, and set a schedule for your activities. How amazing would you feel if you were fully rested, nourished, energized by moving your body and had margin in your life? That brings me JOY!
Serving others is a way to bring JOY not only to you but in your serving bringing JOY to others! Check out the previous post for reasons and possibilities to serve.
The last suggestion we talk about in the workshop is to have an Attitude of Gratitude! What are you grateful for this season? When we focus on what we HAVE and are blessed with, we will have more JOY in our lives. One of the things I ask clients to do is write down 3 – 5 things they are grateful for every night. Admittedly sometimes that is a tough assignment, especially if you are in the middle of chaos, however, I know from experience when you focus on being grateful, it will change your outlook. Being grateful for what you have is the antidote for wanting MORE and MORE. Giving thanks for the people, things, dreams and desires we have will increase our JOY and help us be more positive people. And who doesn’t want to be more positive, encouraging and thankful? Give it a try for a week! Write down 3 – 5 things you are grateful for and I know tomorrow night you will have more to write and so on and so on!
Hope you connected with some of these suggestions and have found ways to increase your JOY this Holiday season. When the workshop participants leave they usually have a skip in their step and a new resolve to simplify, take care of themselves and enjoy new ways to build JOY into their Holiday season.
My wish for you is a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa or what you are celebrating this season! If you would like to work with me for coaching, please go to the Speak To Me page and we can connect.
Here are some quotes and scriptures about JOY – hope they encourage you and bring you JOY!
We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, JOY follows like a shadow that never leaves. Buddha
JOY is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are. Marianne Williamson
Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings JOY and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you. Eileen Caddy
Balance, peace and JOY are the fruit of a successful life. It starts with recognizing your talents and finding ways to serve others by using them. Thomas Kinkade
Deuteronomy 16:14, 15b Be JOYFUL at your festival – you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your JOY will be complete.
Nehemiah 8:10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the JOY of the Lord is your strength.”
Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with JOY in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 20:4,5 May He gave you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for JOY over our victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
Proverbs 27:9 Perfume and incense bring JOY to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.
John 15:10-12 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my live, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my JOY may be in you and that your JOY may be complete My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.