Marie Kondo has inspired millions with her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Netflix series, and her KonMari organizational method, but there are plenty of other ways to spark joy–no tidying up required! Here are a few to get you started.
How to spark joy through relationships
We’ve all heard how it’s more blessed to give than receive, but there are actually scientific studies indicating this reality. When we focus externally, on helping and connecting with others and building friendships, we spark joy within ourselves. Here are a few ways to connect with others.
Call an old friend you haven’t talked to in a while. It’s so easy to lose touch with some of the people you love the most. In the world of texting and digital communication, pick up the phone and have a meaningful conversation. You’ll be glad you did!
Write a letter thanking someone for being part of your life, or letting them know how much you mean to them. One year, instead of a Christmas gift, I wrote a letter to my grandparents thanking them for how much they meant to me over the years. A year to the day after I sent that letter, I was reading it again at my grandfather’s funeral. Don’t wait until it’s too late to tell those closest to you how much you appreciate them. You’ll be so glad you did!
Plan a night out. Whether you’re planning a date night, a girls’ night, or reconnecting with a good friend, get out of the house and do something fun!
Join in. There have been numerous studies indicating that friendships and connections with others keep us happy and healthy. If you’re looking to make new relationships, joining an organization is a great way to start! Look into Meetup groups, go to church or another place of worship, sign up for a class that interests you at your local rec center or YMCA, or try a new exercise class. Just these small steps can be great starting blocks to forging lifelong friendships.
How to spark joy through giving
Volunteer! There are so many fantastic organizations where you can jump in and make a real difference. Feed the high-quality meals to disaster-relief victims with Mercy Chefs. Help out with a fundraiser at your child’s school. Visit a nursing home and talk to some of the patients. You can even be a virtual volunteer from the comfort of your home!
Make a meal for someone who needs one (or send them take-out). Often communities rally around those who have just had a baby or experienced a death in the family. But there are so many other times people would appreciate a good meal! Maybe send food to a military family where someone is deployed, or a friend going through a really stressful time. You’ll lighten their load, and create a meaningful connection.
How to spark joy with your kids
Have a family dance party. Crank up some of your favorite songs, and just dance like nobody’s watching! You’ll have a blast, plus you’ll burn some calories and get those happy endorphins surging through your body.
Take a family walk or bike ride. One of my favorite memories was walking with my then six-year-old daughter who was mesmerized by the way the cement road was shimmering in the moonlight. We just took a 2-block walk, but it was beautiful to see the world through her eyes.
How to spark joy by yourself
Take a bath with essential oils and Epsom salts. Turn on relaxing music, dim the lights, and enjoy a mini-spa experience.
Exercise. While the thought of working out might stress you out, the physical benefits have positive psychological effects, too! Whether you’re releasing lots of endorphins through a High-Intensity Interval Workout (HIIT) or stretching with pilates.
Make an effort to watch the sunrise/sunset. Even if you’re stuck in traffic driving home from work, there’s something so beautiful about watching the sky change colors. Taking a moment to pause and enjoy the scenery.
Spark Joy Every Day!
Bottom line: we’re all different people and have unique needs. But when we shift our paradigm from focusing on ourselves and how miserable we might be, to how we might improve the lives of others, we create such a sense of purpose and joy. We don’t have the time to wallow in our own problems, as we’re too busy brightening up the world around us.
There’s something so gratifying about a beautifully organized home, and a sense of peace when you don’t have too much stuff. Perhaps a well-maintained, tidy home can help you open the doors to bringing joy and healing to those around you since you don’t have to focus on your own junk.
But when I consider the actions that really spark the most joy for me, it’s pretty simple. Given the choice between tidying up my house and investing in my relationships, my junk drawer and random piles aren’t going anywhere any time soon!