Finding joy is futile without a concerted effort to stay focused on the life you want. But there’s so much more. So many times, we find ourselves battling the unseen enemy of discontent and sadness. With a New Year coming up, I thought I would share my thoughts on simple ways to find joy as a solo mom.
We can find ourselves anxious and frustrated in a time when we should be experiencing joy and peace. But what causes discontentment and sadness? What is robbing us of our joy?
Additionally, at times we may feel, as my friend puts it, “alive but barely living”.
I’m not talking about those small moments when we take a little time out for a pity party.
I’m talking about the constant and never ending darkness we find ourselves in at times. This darkness makes us feel melancholy because we are not living our authentic selves. It’s then we can experience real sadness and emptiness.
Here are some of the reasons we may find ourselves living a joyless life:
1. Working in a Job We Hate, Feel Unfulfilled or Regularly Mistreated
I believe no one will be truly happy unless they are living the life they were meant to live. When we live truthfully to ourselves by fulfilling our purpose, our authenticity shines through. We selflessly give of ourselves — time, talent, and treasure — when we live the purpose driven life. That’s when our joy is full — that’s when our light shines bright.
When our light is shining, we can experience joy in the middle of whatever challenges we are going through. We can navigate whatever life throws at us.
And I’m not saying we have to quit our jobs today because that is not practical for everyone.
Working 40 hours a week for 40 years to live on 40% of what you once earned is no way to live.
But when our goals and dreams languish on the pages of a notebook or in our minds and hearts, we will remain unfulfilled and unhappy.
Drugs won’t alleviate the longing and emptiness we feel. Neither will a never ending stream of relationships quench our thirst for that which our souls yearn.
Until we push through the discomfort of what it means to commit to living purposefully, we will continue to sleepwalk or drift through our lives.
We don’t want to wake up one day with that twinge of regret gnawing at your soul.
However, It’s not too late to start now. And remember, regret doesn’t come from trying something and failing. Regret comes from never having the courage to try in the first place.
2. Remaining in Relationships That Suck the Life Out of Our Souls
Is it really worth the hassle, constant sadness, and never ending arguments? Although the solution may not be to pack up and run right now, the truth is that something needs to be done.
We cannot continue to just go drift through life just barely breathing… fulfilling every other person’s dream except our own. Our hearts can’t take it. We weren’t meant to live in such sadness.
We are worth more.
Losing excess fat through exercise is important, but losing useless friends is urgent. Treat urgent things first. ~~ Israelmore Ayivor, from Lets Go to The Next Level.
So whether it’s the relationship with a friend, loved ones, with our children or with the boss, we will need to take a stand if the relationship is destructive.
It is not that we are seeking joy from other people. It’s that we cannot remain joyful if our relationships create an ongoing tug of war that suck the life out of our heart and soul.
People need people. But we have to protect ourselves from those who consciously or unconsciously poison us.
3. Living a Life of Solitude — Disconnected
Another way that we are avoiding joy is when we disconnect from the bigger world. We have our little circle: job, immediate family or friends..maybe. But we cut ourselves off from the rest of the world.
We can close our minds off from learning something new or connecting with someone from another culture. When we do, we get trapped in the “safety” of what we think we know. We are scared to travel to another country or city, even if we have the means to do so.
A closed mind stumbles over the blessings of life without recognizing them. Napoleon Hill.
We refuse to connect with “them” because they are not like us.
So how does a solo mom find joy in the middle of such chaotic mindset?
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We Take Small Steps to:
1. Mitigate the Negative Effect of Work That’s Unfulfilling
At work we can…
- ask your boss to involve you in special projects that will keep you busy and engaged
- join an Employee Resource Group and serve on a committee. Most companies have one or you could encourage them to start one
- volunteer with your company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team
Outside of work, we can also:
- take a course and learn something like dancing or yoga
- work on a hobby like writing or painting. Maybe you could start a blog or podcast to share your thoughts on something you enjoy. Using your gifts and talents to help others, can be very rewarding personally.
- Travel even if it’s just around your neighborhood. Start to experience a life you didn’t know existed before
I make it a point of duty to walk any new neighborhoods when I move to a new home. I’ve been moving since I was around 9 years old and have lost count of how many places I’ve lived. Yet rather than wallow in the fact that I had to move again, I took pleasure in walking around my new neighborhoods. Doing so, teaches me about my neighbors and my surroundings.
- take more trips. I love to travel. I’ve lived in multiple cities, in 4 countries on 2 continents. But I’m far from done.
- start a side hustle. You could turn a hobby into making money or learn something new to teach. There are plenty of scalable ideas available online.
The truth is having a varied lifestyle, pulls us from our comfort zones, makes life more interesting, and can teach us something about ourselves we didn’t already know.
Despite the fact that we may spend the majority of our waking life on the job, we can try to shift from making it the center of our universe. In other words..get a life! 🙂
I challenge you to try any of my suggestions above. Then come back here and leave a comment about your experience.
It’s too easy to feel trapped when our whole world is wrapped up in one thing. Because it then seems like the end of the world when things go wrong with that one thing.
2. Build New Connections and/or Revisit Old Ones
This is something I do when I find my life stagnating. I shake off the dull drums and start or join a group. It’s amazing how effective this is because there are others like us who are seeking connections as well.
- Volunteer at work, in your community or at church.
- If you don’t already have a home church, find one. Reconnect with yours if you have lost the connection. It’s not about them, it’s about you and your connection to God. Don’t get distracted.
- Join or start a Working out Loud circle or Meetup group.
3. Practice Mindfulness
- Meditate. I’ve learned several meditation practices, such as Journey Meditation and Transcendental Meditation. I also use meditation apps like Headspace. There are numerous ways to meditate to help you to create spiritual balance. Meditation is a great way to give your heart the quiet it needs to listen.
Take this quiz to find out ways you can meditate.
- Journal. Start writing in a journal. Writing down my thoughts has been a cathartic experience for me throughout my life. I’ve been writing in a journal since I knew how to write. I find it most helpful when my mind is loaded down with worries and what ifs.
- Take time out to explore, rejuvenate, discover; walk barefoot in the park or on the beach
- Daily, intentionally seek out adventures that get your brain cells excited and your heart fluttering with appreciation
- Getting all the thoughts swirling around my head down on paper, helps me to think more clearly. Although I use a bound notebook usually, I use The Five Minute Journal to jot down my thoughts quickly and write down things for which I’m grateful. It’s a quick, no-excuse tool to get you acclimated to consistent journal writing.
- Try Tony Robbins priming exercise
- Try The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
- Read the scriptures and pray
- Do low impact exercise like yoga and walking
- Use a planner or agenda to plan your schedule
Finally. apply my A.S.K. Method (borrowed from scriptures) to your life
Ask for what you want and need. First ask yourself the questions…why am i here…what is my purpose…what do I care about..and what do I want.
What are your dreams, wants, and desires? Make a list and check it twice. Outline a plan for your life. Journal it. Put it on the calendar.
Seek out help in achieving your goals…look for resources inside and out. When seeking, listen to your heart ♥️ what is it telling you. Seeking is active. You seek by reading, listening, researching. Learning is seeking.
Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. ~~ Steve Jobs.
Knock: especially on doors that may seem impossible to open. Don’t be afraid to knock on the door of opportunity. Sometimes it opens by divine providence but other times you have to knock. Approach those whom you feel has the power to open doors and point you to opportunities.
Finally, go easy on yourself. Practice self care. Take your time. It’s not about perfection. It’s about being true to yourself.
Sometimes it’s not how good you are but how bad you want it. ~~Unknown