Make Yourself a Priority: 4 Tips on Reclaiming Your Joy

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Don’t have enough time to do the things that bring you joy? I know, I’ve been there. But I realize it’s all about making yourself a priority and scheduling “me” time. So let’s get started.

Do Something New

First, do you want to start a new hobby, learn something new, or travel to different places? Make a list of things you would like to do and start one of those things in the next month. Don’t incorporate all of them at once. Pick one item and do that. Then try the next. Here are some suggestions.

  • Go to the library and read a book in a different genre.
  • Take a class.
  • Learn a few words in a new language.
  • Take a drive to a town you haven’t been to and explore the area.
  • Attend a fair, festival, or farmer’s market.
  • Start an online search for free activities in your area.
  • Join a group that interests you—book club, hiking group, knitting, painting, cooking, etc.

It’s easy, especially if you are a caregiver, to put other people’s needs first. So start scheduling some time every day, even if it’s just 10 minutes. A bath, walk, or meditation can be very rejuvenating.

Find More Time

One way to find “extra” time is to decrease or eliminate items that squander it. If you spend a lot of time on social media or scrolling through the internet, decrease this. I know it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole when you are searching for information online. One topic leads to another and the next thing you know, it’s been 30 minutes or an hour. Set a timer and give yourself a set amount of time to do this activity. When the time is up, get off the ap or shut down your computer, walk away from your device and do something else.

Another is to turn off notifications. Do you really need to hear a “swoosh” every time you get a text or an update? They can distract, especially if you are trying to finish a project. Most of it is not important or urgent. And don’t think that the ap makers don’t know this. It’s like Pavlov’s dog. You hear it and immediately want to see what it is. It’s giving you some kind of reward, like activating the pleasure areas in your brain.

As I’m writing this, I heard a swoosh from my phone telling me I received a text. There is a part of me that wants to see what it is (the reward center in my brain is kicking in) but I want to finish writing this post. If you don’t want to turn off your notifications, just put your phone on silent until you have finished your tasks.

It’s Okay to Say No

Second, start saying no to people and things that don’t bring you joy. We have a habit, especially as women, to say yes to everything. Being a people pleaser myself, I know how hard this can be. But we don’t have to do everything. Nor do we have to give people a reason why we are saying no. No, all by itself is a complete sentence. No explanation is necessary. If your gut says no, then say it. Don’t fill yourself with activities just because you think you have to. Make time for yourself and you will be happier.

I remember Oprah stated on her show that she used to go out every night to charity and other events and it was exhausting and not bringing her joy. She decided only to pick the events that were important to her and to stay home the other nights. This brought her great peace. Downtime is important to refresh ourselves.

Declutter Your Life

Finally, declutter our lives. This means getting rid of things, people, and activities that no longer bring us joy.

We can start by getting rid of items that we no longer use. If you haven’t used something in a year, then you probably will not use it. Donate or sell it to someone who will. Everything has energy and if we clean out our closets and cupboards, so there is some space, we will feel lighter and more at peace. Yes, even if we can’t see the stuff in our filled closet, it still affects us. I know it sounds crazy, but when I clean my closets and create more empty space, I feel more at peace. It literally lightens me.

As for people that don’t bring you joy, spend less time with them and more time with people that make you happy. As Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” So if you are surrounding yourself with people who are negative, this is what you will become. Find new tribes of people to hang around with. Not everyone is supposed to stay in our lives forever. Meeting new people is healthy because it brings in different perspectives. A study found that as little has 10 minutes of a conversation with a new person leads to improved mental cognition.

The Mayo Clinic found out that the more connections you have, the happier you are because it increases your sense of belonging and purpose. They also found that there is a decrease in high blood pressure and lower BMI with people who have a large base of friends. With so many benefits, what do you have to lose?

And stop doing activities that don’t bring you joy. If you don’t like to run on the treadmill, find a different exercise, like biking or dancing. Or if you don’t like the grocery store you shop in, find a different one. Many times, we just get into the habit of doing something unconsciously and don’t think about changing it. But if something is not bringing you happiness, change it up.

Do what makes you happy, not what other expect you to do. And make conscious decisions, not one’s set on autopilot. When you live authentically, you will create more happiness, less stress, and be living more on purpose. That’s why we are here—to live a life filled with joy!

For more inspiration on doing something different, read

Photo by Ryan Moreno on Unsplash

Benefits of meeting new people –

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