As we begin to build the kind of life we no longer need to escape from with the use of substances, we focus on incorporating different practices into our daily life that support our alcohol-free path. We nourish our bodies with healthful food, we focus on fulfilling work and relationships, and… we have fun.
We’re talking the kind of carefree, unencumbered fun you used to have as a child: joy. Fun without strings attached, fun that feels vibrant and alive and just makes you smile. Because what’s the point if we’re not having a good time?
So we begin to build joy practices into our lives. Joy practices are simple enough: little practices that we can do throughout our day to inject a little fun into things. If you’re familiar with the Netflix (and literary) phenomenon that is Marie Kondo, you know the phrase “sparks joy”—she uses it to help her clients get rid of junk (if it does not “spark joy,” it gets tossed), but we can use it to identify aligned joy practices. You know something is the right kind of joy practice for you if it sparks joy, if it ignites a little happy flame inside of you.
What “sparks joy” for me may be entirely different than what sparks joy for you. I love dancing in the kitchen, being in sunshine, listening to really loud early-2000’s punk rock music, taking a long, hot shower, and chasing my kids in the backyard. You might love quieter things, like reading a good book, or cooking a lengthy meal, or finishing a 10,000 piece puzzle. Perhaps creating art sparks joy for you, or perfecting an Excel spreadsheet for your weekly meal plan.
Whatever it is, be intentional and make it a daily part of your life. You’ll notice that many of these things can be quick, little bursts of joy—a five minute kitchen dance party is enough to turn my whole day around. I think that’s where people get tripped up when it comes to self-care and joy practices; they think it needs to take five hours to count. But when we are able to build in quick little practices that bring us joy and contentment, it becomes a more sustainable lifestyle that we’re more likely to continue long term.
Today, braindump all of the things that “spark joy” for you. Set a timer for five minutes and just write anything and everything that comes to mind, even if it’s something you’ve never even tried. Then, pick three joy practices to schedule into your day. Keep scheduling these joy practices until they become habitual; until they become something you turn to anytime you need a quick burst of happiness.