How to Choose Joy

photography of woman surrounded by sunflowers
Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com

I know it has been awhile since I’ve written a post.  To be honest, I had given up on this blog.  I felt discouraged, because the blog wasn’t getting as many views as I had hoped, so I thought it wasn’t worth my time.  I started this blog with the big goal of it becoming a popular blog that would make me some extra money.  It was silly for me to expect a profitable blog after just a few months and sad for me to give up something I was enjoying, so I’m going to start blogging regularly again.

As I reflect on the past five months since I last posted, it is easy for me to choose a topic for today’s post.  About six months ago, I was in a rut.  Quite honestly, my school year has been tough overall, but the first half of the school year was especially difficult.  For those of you who know me well, you know that being a teacher is a big part of my identity.  My career once brought me a lot of joy, so when it stopped bringing me joy, it was hard for me.  For those of you struggling with feeling happy with your career, remember that work is just one part of your life.  Focus on filling up all other parts of your life with joy.

I have found joy in many places over the course of the past five months.  Here’s my list:

  1. I spent a lot of my free time focusing on self-improvement and self-development. I have always been a perfectionist with the mindset that I can always work on being a better person.  The Confidence Podcast with Trish Blackwell has been a favorite of mine for years, but recently, I found a new podcast called Harder to Kill Radio with Steph Gaudreau, which is awesome!  While on the subject of podcasts, another podcast I love is Hidden Brain by NPR.
  2. I became a member of Audible and have listened to two books every month during my commute to and from work. My favorite recent reads are Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, Becoming by Michelle Obama, and Educated by Tara Westover.  With an Audible book or a podcast, I feel like I have a friend in the car and actually look forward to my almost 45 minute commute.  I turned something that could be dreadful into something joyful.
  3. I made an effort to do small things for myself that bring me joy, like getting my nails done or shopping. Treat yourself!
  4. I rekindled my love of running and am training for a half marathon. It wasn’t easy to get back into running, but it’s amazing how quickly I built up a running base.  Running has always helped me manage anxiety.  I forgot how amazing a runner’s high is and how a long run reminds you how strong you are.  Running long distances is more of a test of the mind than the body.
  5. I signed up for a five class trial at a local barre studio and while I have not yet tried a barre class, I have attended two yoga classes. I loved hot yoga and plan to continue!  Yoga helps me slow down and it feels amazing for my body, which is often sore from running and weight lifting.
  6. I spent a lot of time planning my upcoming travels this summer. For some people, vacation planning might sound like a chore, but it’s something I enjoy doing.  I love everything from searching for the best flight options to researching things to do.

Let me know if you’re interested in learning more about anything from my list!  I’m proud of myself for choosing joy.  It would have been easy to sulk and complain constantly.  It would have been easy to come home each day from work in the cold winter and crawl under a blanket with a pint of ice cream and Netflix.  Choosing joy isn’t the easier option.  I have invested a lot of energy into choosing joy, but the energy spent has given me great returns.

“The best investment you can make is in yourself.” – Warren Buffet

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