Whether we are talking about the difficult year or simply a day in the life of the average nonprofit employee, many are weighed with heavy burdens to manage for themselves and others. As days go by, this can develop into burnout, fatigue, and oversubscription that minimizes our ability to have real impact in our communities. Due to the nature and weight of social change work, we find that regularly spending energy cultivating joy can help combat these hard feelings. Here are the seven ways that we are planting the seeds of delight and recentering ourselves that avoid fatigue that you can try today:
- Dance! You do not need an invitation to a club, the perfect soundtrack, or even anyone else around you to dance. Dancing is the perfect way to release tension in a body that has been seated all day. It releases endorphins that help us relax and think outside of the box. And as a plus, it can be a mini workout to help us reach health goals. Need some guidance? Check out #quarantinedance for free dance inspiration and classes.
- Engage in meaningful conversation to build connection. It can be easy for our interactions to be transactional and for friends, coworkers, and even family members to go through the motions of connection without actually feeling it. If you need a kickstart, check out these tabletop conversation cards or this three-year couples journal for conversation starters.
- Skip social media. Social media can be incredibly powerful but it can also be draining, unstimulating, and invite fatigue. Instead of succumbing to the impulse to get on social media yet again, consider playing a word game, puzzle, listen to a podcast or reading a book that will stimulate your thoughts or expose you to new issues. For inspiration take a look at what we’re reading in 2021 here.
- Reflect on what activities have brought you joy in the past. While not everything is possible in the age of COVID, it can be a good starting point to identify the undercurrents of what brings you joy. Are the items on your list predominantly outdoors or indoors? Do they involve other people or being alone? If they involved other people, are they close family, specific friends, large groups? Asking yourself these questions and others like it will help you pinpoint what types of experiences bring you joy and will get you closer to finding new or re-finding old passions.
- Practice empathy. Thinking of someone else, and how to bring some joy to their life, has an amazing multiplier effect. Not only does it get you out of your own thoughts about yourself, it also sparks joy in your life. Consider sending a handwritten card to a friend or simply picking up the phone and practicing active listening with a family member. If you are thinking about purchasing a gift to brighten someone’s day or to celebrate an occasion, take a look at our gift guides (here, here, and here) for inspiration.
- Organize or update a part of your space. Even updating a small spot, like a drawer or new couch pillows and throws, can have a much bigger effect than you might think.
Need some additional inspiration? Take a look at Oprah’s list on how to find joy.
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