Mar. 18. 2020
Health Articles
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Dietitian, Founder and CEO

Do you put as much energy and focus on experiencing joy in your life as you do with your other priorities or obligations? 

One pattern I’ve noticed with our coaching clients or members of The Method Membership is that joy is rarely treated with the same level of planning and prioritization the way all of the other “to-do” items are. 

Yet, our levels of happiness contribute so much to our health on all levels — physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

Scientific evidence suggests that positive emotions can help make life longer and healthier.

There are countless studies showing how people who reported higher levels of happiness and general positive well being ate more fruits and vegetables, slept deeper, and exercised more often, had strong support systems, along with dozens of other benefits.   

Plus, we obviously want to simply feel happy or at ease, peace, and joy, even if that was the only benefit, right? 

Here’s how you can easily find ways to schedule more joy into your life and make it a priority. 

1. Add Something You Can Do Daily Into Your Routine

This should be easy enough that you can do it in your regular schedule, like reading for 20 minutes, snuggling your pet, breathing in fresh air outside, chatting with a loved one, or getting outside on a walk. 

Whatever this looks like for you, make it something that you are able to do on a daily basis and would really make you feel happy that you were able to include that in your day. Remember it doesn’t have to be a grand event, the magic is in the small things you do consistently with good intention.

Once you decide what this is, identify exactly when you’ll do it every day. If you’re going to get outside, maybe you plan on eating your lunch outside every day and then going for a 15-minute walk before heading back into the office.

Or maybe you want to wrap up your day with a really joyful experience, so you plan for a relaxing nightly bath or a facetime chat with a friend or loved one.

Do you have a practice you do daily for joy? Let me know if you do! I’d love to see what the NS community is doing for this. 

2. Find Something You Can Do Weekly

This might be something that requires a little bit more planning or a little more time than you’re able to give every day, but it’s doable every week.

Maybe you have a hobby you love but haven’t made it a consistent practice, like painting which is something I love doing. Or maybe it’s dedicating time to learn a new skill or work on a big passion project. 

This is something I’m focused on every weekend now that my husband, Jesse, and I are building a nature home. We’re going to our property every weekend and learning how to care for it, and having this huge project that we’re working on every weekend together is already so fun and adding so much joy to our lives. 

With this, try to pick the same day every week if you’re able to create some consistency for yourself — whether that’s a Wednesday night class to break up your week, your Sunday afternoon plans. 

3. Plan Something You Can Do Monthly 

These are the things that might cost a little more money or maybe they’re a little more time-consuming. 

This might look like planning a date night out with your partner, meeting up with friends for a fun outing of some sort, or taking a day trip to explore more of where you live, or volunteering at a local non-profit. 

Something to keep in mind with your monthly joy activity is to plan ahead of time when you’ll do it. 

It’s a little easier to make sure you completed your daily and weekly joy plans because they happen so frequently, but with monthly, it can suddenly be the 30th of the month and you realize you completely forgot to plan it.

So I recommend you pick the same week and day, for example, the first Saturday of the month will be date night. That way, you’ve already decided when it will happen, and of course, if something else comes up on that day you can always reschedule as needed. 

4. Pick Something You Do Each Quarter 

These are those really special things that help make you feel great and unwind. I love having something on a quarterly basis that’s special because it helps to remind me to take a moment and pause and reflect on the months that just flew by. 

So something like getting a massage or facial or attending a workshop. It could also be planning a weekend trip for a little getaway to just really give yourself that time to take a pause and slow down. 

5. Have Something Special to Look Forward to Every Year

Lastly, find those things that you absolutely love to do, but can only do yearly. This will look different for everyone, but it could be an annual week-long vacation out of town or having friends come visit you. 

Putting it Into Practice

We’re all so different and have different lifestyles, obligations, and interests, but the key thing I want you to walk away with is the importance of finding the things that bring you joy and scheduling time for them in your life. 

And here’s a little bonus benefit: Research has found that one way to boost happiness is to have something to look forward to. This means that just by planning something in advance can give you just as much happiness as the actual activity you’re doing! 

Isn’t that awesome? It’s more reason to get out your calendar and start planning for it.

Having those little moments of joy throughout your day and week can give you so much happiness on a consistent basis. Then those things that happen on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis give you something to look forward to. 

And one more thing I recommend you do — take note of how these new practices that you’re adding into your life are making you feel. 

When you’re bringing awareness to things that support you — you’re more likely to stick with them in the long-term. I walk you through a practice for doing this in my free guide for creating healthy habits with ease

If you liked this video, let me know by sharing your biggest takeaway and be sure to follow or subscribe for more videos like this!

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