My last Healthy Habit of the year is finding joy. I’ve become relatively good at finding and expressing gratitude, but joy is a whole other story. It isn’t to say that I don’t experience joy often, I do, but I also feel like recognizing joy in the ordinary, or even in the not-so-great times, is something that I completely overlook. So this month, a month that is filled with to-do lists, shopping, holiday parties, and loads of stress, I am going to focus on finding joy. Actually, I already have been, since this post is coming 9 days into the month. Ugh, see? I’m already exhibiting the stress and busyness! ‘Tis the season!
The holidays are portrayed as times filled with family, friends, and joy all around. The truth, though, is that for a lot of us (in and out of recovery), it’s a time filled with anxiety and worry. For some, spending time with family is challenging. For those like me, it’s not spending time with family that’s hard, and sad, and depressing. For those of us that are in recovery, the holiday parties and get-togethers may be uncomfortable because the alcohol is flowing this time of year, but the thought of skipping these soirees leaves us feeling isolated and lonely and boring. For some of us there may be bad memories of holidays past, or happy memories that we know will never be duplicated. We may be missing or grieving someone, or celebrating our first holiday without a loved one. All of these situations are hard, but they don’t have to be absent of joy.
This month I am making a commitment to finding little pieces of joy in the ordinary and difficult times. Whether it’s taking the time to enjoy a sunrise (I’m a morning person), or reading something that makes me smile instead of making me learn, or listening – really listening – to the sound of my stepson’s laughter. There is something joyous to be found in each day, we just may need to look a little harder.