When the pandemic first blew up back in March, as we all adjusted to new routines, less face-to-face time with our friends and colleagues, and more time at home with our families (or alone), many of us made an effort to incorporate more joy into our days. For our team here at Amira Health, much of this looked like streaming online concerts, daily dance parties with our kids in fun costumes, digital happy hours with friends, and more time spent reading, playing games, experimenting in the kitchen, and testing out new hobbies. During an otherwise-scary and anxiety-inducing time, plugging in these “joy bombs” were more important (and effective!) than ever.
Now, 7 months later – the second wave of coronavirus is looming on the winter horizon, the days are getting shorter, colder, and wetter – and our opportunities to spend time with our loved ones safely outside are whittling. While the darker months up here in Canada can be tough even during more “normal” times, this winter is shaping up to be one like we’ve never experienced. This means it’s even more vital to insert more opportunities for joy into our days regularly – remembering not to take yourself too seriously, to laugh, and to enjoy the small things in life. We asked our team at the Amira Health abode to reflect on some of the things bringing them joy lately – and boy were we entertained by the results! Here’s to hoping you might be able to connect to at least one of the things in this diverse list and brighten your (or a loved one’s) day.
- Giving a local business you love a 5-star review – supporting your local businesses is more important than ever – and what a way to spread the word and brighten someone’s day (including yours!)
- Hosting an international theme night with your household – costumes, music, and food required! The less you know about a country/culture, the better – it’s time to give a new meaning to “globe-trotting.”
- Enjoying extended time with our pets – whether you’re loving fitting in more time walking your dog on your lunch hour, or cuddling your other companions at all hours of the day, more quality time with our animals is an unexpected bright side of extended time at home.
- Reconnecting with old and long-distance friends – this pandemic has really put our relationships under a microscope – sometimes connecting with friends you haven’t spoken to in a long while can be a huge breath of fresh air.
- Sending e-cards and giftcards to loved ones for no special reason – gifting someone their next coffee, lunch date, or retail therapy item is a total day (even week!) brightener – and who knows, maybe you’ll even get one back down the road.
- Ordering takeout from a new-to-you local spot once a week (or month) – supporting your community and filling your belly with comfort and joy all-in-one!
- Extended coffee hours in the mornings – we don’t know about you, but pre-pandemic, we were lucky if we ever got to drink our coffee while it was still hot, much less enjoy sipping it, reading the paper or scrolling our phones. If you’re working from home, embrace that time you used to have to commute during, let yourself pause, wake up gently, and enjoy that first hot, comforting swig of your favourite brew.
- Bringing fresh flowers into your home – many of us feel guilty buying flowers when they only last a week. We encourage you to let yourself have the flowers – small joys like this go a long way in energizing your home and boosting your mood.
- Planning future trips with paper or digital vision boards – even though most of us aren’t hitting the international skies anytime soon, we can still daydream, plan our future excursions, and look forward to adventures waiting for us in the years to come (for some of us, researching and planning our travels is half the fun!)
- Hiking mountains and spotting birds of prey – we’re pretty lucky to live here in Victoria, BC – the nature and wildlife never get old!
- Snuggling with our kids and watching “Emily in Paris” – finding and agreeing on something to watch in a household can be a feat in itself – but when you all enjoy a new show together? Priceless.
- Ordering locally-made face coverings in patterns you love – staying safe and supporting local – what could be better?
- Leaving a handwritten note of congratulations for a newly-opened store or business in your community – what a way to welcome someone to your neighbourhood!
- Comfier clothes – we’re looking at you, warm sweaters, cozy trousers and fuzzy socks!
- Hunkering down with a good book – bonus points if it’s raining outside.
- Movie marathons – now’s the time to reconnect with some of your favourite stories from your younger years as well as check out some new blockbusters.
- Cozying up our spaces – pulling out the twinkle lights, candles, and soft blankets for those fall and winter evenings.
- Weekend afternoon walks – breathing in the crisp, fall air, admiring the changing leaves, and checking out our neighbourhood’s spooky decorations.
- More chill time doing absolutely nothing (otherwise known as rest) as the cooler, wetter weather slowly replaces the pressure to be outside “doing” all the time.
- The art of culinary experimentation – getting creative and taking risks in the kitchen – we encourage our kids to play and experiment, so why shouldn’t we?
- Setting up our elderly family members with digital communication tools – allowing them to join Friday night dinners with the family or evening storytimes with the kids (this can be especially important as the holiday season approaches).
- Don’t underestimate the power of a good dance party (even if it’s a solo performance) – shift the energy with the latest feel-good songs, or turn back the clock and get nostalgic!
- The Some Good News YouTube channel – devoted entirely to reporting on good news (which we all could stand to hear more of right about now).
- Decorating for the spooky season (if you celebrate it) and finding other ways to embrace the changing of the seasons, even if Halloween parties or trick-or-treating is out of the picture for now.
- Diving into Halloween candy – no judgment if you’re stockpiling and snarfing it away from your kids – we can’t say we haven’t been there.
We hope a few of these resonate with you and inspire you to intentionally bring more joy, laughter, positivity, and whimsy into your everyday life. What we’re living through in 2020 as a global, collective society is a lot, and to keep our lives and mental wellness as happy and healthy as possible, we have to balance out the fear and negativity coming at us from all different directions. While there is a lot to fear right now, there is also a lot to love, be grateful for, and look forward to.