Increasing Your Joy During Crisis
BY DIANE KERTH
What is she talking about! How can we even think about joy at a time like this in our world? People are getting sick, people are dying, businesses are struggling. It’s scary, it’s sad, so how could we even think about joy? Often, these are the times we NEED to find or create joy.
I had to turn off the TV. I wanted to be informed but it was all getting to me. The news conferences about Covid 19, the reports, the updates. I was feeling sick from the stress of it all, huddled under a blanket and doing nothing but worrying. I needed to snap out of the dark place I was sinking into. I purposely began doing a lot of positive self-talk such as, ”I’m ok. I’m healthy. No fever, I’ve sanitized everything. I’ve prayed. I’ve done all that I can, so relax Diane, breathe and do your best to move forward”.
I knew I needed to switch gears and pivot. Companies that go through disasters know they need to pivot, adjust and adapt to survive and come out the other side. This is what I needed to do for myself. I needed to take ACTION. To do something. So DO what?
Well, since I am working from home every day and sheltering in place what can I do? I stood looking out my kitchen window at an extremely quiet empty neighborhood street. As I stood there, looking, pondering the thought of what can I do? Out of nowhere it dawned on me! These windows are filthy, I need to wash these windows!!! I’m not joking at all this is where my joy began.
I grabbed a roll of paper towels and found glass cleaner then started to take apart my window. I have very old windows which means several are put together to make one kitchen window. There are inside windows on a track, outside windows, and a window that covers a screen. One by one I took each window out of its track and thoroughly cleaned them on each side. I was feeling great and productive. After doing the best I could, I carefully reinstalled each window. When they were all back in place, I stood there and looked out on the same desolate street through the now very clean window, amazing! I was feeling delighted and proud.
Ugh, and then I noticed I missed a couple of spots.
Normally that would be very frustrating to me but not TODAY. 😊 Today I was feeling a simple gleam of joy. Yes, to me it was joy. Not a loud, jump up and down joy but a quiet satisfaction. I accomplished something and made progress. I took action and was back in control of something.
Joy can show up in many different ways. During challenging uncertain times, taking action will help us.
Being productive and making progress will add a sense of control to your life. Finding ways to grab on when life feels out of control, uncertain, and scary may come down to cleaning windows, organizing a closet, or finishing a project that was started. Maybe for you it’s making sure the kitchen sink is empty of dishes before you go to sleep or making your bed in the morning or putting away the CLEAN laundry that has been sitting in baskets for over a week. Do something, take action, take control. Feel the joy that comes because of completing it. Joy can be created in everyday accomplishments!
4/19/2020 08:00:26 am
Indeed - feeling in control of things brings joy to our lives. I think that's why this crisis has been so hard for many people (myself included). We feel stripped of control to make the situation better. But, as you point out, we can control the little things. And that brings joy.
4/19/2020 08:38:48 am
"Action is the antidote for anxiety"
4/19/2020 09:53:57 am
You are so right, Joseph! Taking action helps in so many ways. Thanks for reading!
5/7/2020 05:35:13 pm
Taking action, even if small, always makes me feel better, too!! Lots of projects I’ve been putting off have been getting done during this time, so I totally know what you mean! I am not a homebody so some tasks tends to pile up. I think it’s important to make time for joy, whatever that means to you!
4/19/2020 10:24:30 am
Thanks MaryBeth good article.
4/19/2020 10:33:36 am
Larry- your comments are very inspirational! Thank you for sharing and reminding us of great things that have come during challenging times.
4/19/2020 01:00:12 pm
You're welcome Diane, and thank you. During difficult, challenging times people often find strength to rise above circumstances and accomplish unusual, sometimes stellar things. History is illuminated by such stars.
4/25/2020 11:06:17 am
4/19/2020 10:59:50 am
Thanks Diane for reminding us that, although we may not be able to control the big things which drive our daily living, we do have control over some of the small things. In the end, doing the small things brings us a sense of accomplishment and uplifts our mood. There is joy in movement, in doing, in acting, in being alive. So, yes, today, I will grab my vinegar and water solution and will tackle cleaning the glass sliding doors to my balcony which overlooks the budding trees surrounding our courtyard. After all, Spring is not cancelled and, there is always something else to clean !
5/7/2020 05:37:46 pm
“There is always something to clean” is right...unfortunately...🤣🤣🤣
4/19/2020 11:12:52 am
Well written and interesting -- Ann Ussishkin
5/28/2020 07:33:14 am
Great article! I could not agree more. These little victories like waking up and doing the dishes or vacuuming feel like a little win to start the energy off right for the day. I find if I have days where I'm more stagnant and am making myself take it easy (usually the day after I paint or do a physically labor intensive project) I don't feel as great and I don't sleep as well. If I stick to a routine and get to bed at a decent hour, even on weekends, and get up around 4:30- 5am with the sun I'm happier. It's always been very important for me to wake up with the sun in the Spring and Summer months because we have such a short time of warmth and truly sunny days. I also find on those days where I do, I don't even need coffee. I just feel so grateful for the sunshine that the honest gratitude and happiness keeps me moving and energized.
5/28/2020 06:13:29 pm
Glad the article resonated with you so much. Being outdoors is the best and is it's own form of energy! :)
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