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Scheduling joy to brighten your week

Scheduling joy to brighten your week

It’s September and life still looks radically different from before the pandemic began. We are entering the phase where it feels like it will never end and days seem to have a monotonous, monochromatic feel to them.

I was lamenting this fact to a friend this weekend (because I’ve been feeling it too*) and she had a really lovely insight. She said she plans moments of joy at the beginning of her week. This might be as simple as planning an evening walk through a nearby park, or treating herself to chocolates from her favorite chocolate shop in town.

What I thought was extra helpful about this approach was making plans on a Sunday and building it throughout your week beforehand, so you have something to look forward to. A walk with your dog might have been something you were planning on doing anyway, but adding it to your calendar and making it an event can change how you feel about the walk–it adds anticipation and excitement. (You can check out this really good article talking about how having something to look forward to during the pandemic has serious benefits.)

So, I encourage you to first brainstorm some things that would add moments of joy to your week. Then, spend some time every Sunday considering the week ahead of you and how you’d like to build in intentional moments of joy and anticipation to your week. Find 3-5 things to add to your week to spark a little joy, to quote our favorite organizer. You can use your handy dandy Google calendar, an old-fashioned planner where you WRITE down the events, or just putting up PostIts somewhere. I highly encourage adding lots of exclamation points.

Some ideas to get your started:

  • Pick up your favorite breakfast pastry from your favorite local bakery (which is something I definitely did this week — three cheers for almond croissants)
  • Take an evening drive and find a nice spot to watch the sunset
  • Listen to your favorite song
  • Bake something new

I hope this adds a bit of flavor to your week! I know that things are hard right now; you are not alone. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

*As a therapist, you’d think that I would’ve figured a lot of this out by now, but sometimes therapists get in their heads too and I’ve just gotta offer myself compassion. Right? Right.

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