1. Nature. With all its changing beauty, nature tops the list for many as prime source of joy. Just step outside, look at the buds, listen to the birds, look for nests. Drive to one of the forest preserves now opening up. Touch a few trees, look up at sky, smile at the sun. It’s an amazing world out there.
2. Music. What about taking part in an online singalong? Or singing aloud with one of the classic hymns that Kristin is recording each week? Or, if you’re really lucky, open a window so you can hear a neighbor practicing. (And there’s always singing in the shower!)
3. Writing and Drawing. This might be a great time to bring out a notebook for journaling. Or a notepad for doodling. If you’re thinking, “Oh, I can’t do that,” check out Julia Cameron’s newest book, It's Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond, or her original classic, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.
4. Pets. Our cats and dogs (or birds or ferrets or whomever you live with) are like an extra treat right now. Give them some long doses of love and enjoy their comforting presence.
5. Gardening. If there’s any good thing about the timing of this virus and our stay-at-home lifestyle, it’s that spring is blooming. In a world where it feels as if we have little control, we can still till a little soil, plant a few seeds, or add some flowers to the patio. As one woman wrote, “When I have my hands in the dirt, my mind goes quiet and slows down into an almost meditative state.”
6. Porch Presents. There’s probably no quicker way to bring on a smile than leaving a surprise gift on someone’s porch. Homemade cookies, a bottle of wine, a few face masks, some flowers—even some extra disinfectant wipes—are all possibilities. You might be surprised at how something simple brings such joy.
7. Kids. Yes, we’ve heard (or know first-hand) how stressful it is to have kids in the house 24/7. But what about the surprise moments? When one of them does something nice you didn’t expect? Or snuggles up to you just because they want to be close? Or ends up laughing when you made them play a game with the family? Now that’s joy.
8. Cooking. Who knew that being forced into cooking more (no going out to restaurants for weeks!) could actually inspire “the joy of cooking”? People are getting creative, making everything from sourdough bread to homemade tortillas. What are you cooking up at your house?
9. Dancing. Being forced to work at home, with few places to go, no gyms for exercise, and (at least until recently), few warm days to head outside, we're all feeling a little sluggish. Maybe it’s time to get out some dance music and loosen up a bit. Go ahead: It’s okay to act a little silly. You can always laugh if you’re not very good at it. And your body may repay you with some extra energy reserves you didn’t know you had!
10. Scripture. Did you know that there is a lot of joy in the Bible? There are 15 different Hebrew words and 8 Greek words to describe JOY, both as a noun and as a verb. If you do a search for “joy,” it comes up 155 times in the King James Version. A search for “joy,” “rejoice,” or “joyful” in the English Standard Version comes up with 430! Bottom line: God calls us to joy: “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy” (Psalm 67:4); “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice” (Psalm 96:11).