Spend your time joyfully

(not necessarily wisely)

There has been a deluge of well-meaning articles and posts telling us all to embrace this unexpected gift of free time, using it to:

🗣️Write that novel!
🗣️Launch that business!
🗣️Learn that language!
🗣️Start that fitness regime. Etc.

And if you want to? That’s great! GO FOR IT. But only do the things you actually WANT to do.

The things that feel fun to you.
The things that bring you joy.

And what brings you joy one day might be completely different the next. For example, last week, I spent a couple of blissful days powering through some ‘sorting’ I’d been meaning to do for a-g-e-s (literally years). We’re talking:

✔️ Sorting the cupboard under the kitchen sink. Bonus: found some Dettol I’d forgotten about, akin to discovering the secret elixir of truth.
✔️ Organising the cutlery drawer (if I run out of food supplies, I could probably live off the amount of crumbs that’d worked their way in there 😳)
✔️ Clearing through the ‘drawer of crap’ I know ~everyone~ has at home, I don’t care who you are. Binned 752 takeaway menus, finally let go of the mysterious screws and wires gathering dust and discarded any dried-up Biros.
✔️ Giving the floors a proper vacuum (as opposed to conveniently swerving around, instead of going under, the sofa/bed).
✔️ Blitzed the bathroom cupboard of doom (and amongst the hair balls and dried-up makeup found two packs of antiseptic hand wipes yasss).
✔️ Dusted the shelves in my living room, then decided to photograph my most outlandish platform shoes on there[see this pic]—is that peak Corona faffing?!

Another day, I wrote a blog post [this one] and went for a long (local) walk.

But on Saturday? I DIDN’T GO OUTSIDE ONCE. 😱
And on Sunday? I DIDN’T SHOWER. 😱😱

Y’see all we can do right now in these unprecedented times is to be kind to ourselves. An overused phrase, maybe—but everyone deals with the unknown differently. Everyone deals with anxiety differently.

~Some people become crazily productive, preferring to fill their time doing things.
~Some people are quite the opposite, almost paralysed through fear.

I’d like to think I fall somewhere in the middle. I have productive days and I have down days. When I feel fired-up, I can power through zillions tasks, letting it happen organically as opposed working my way through a too-long to-do list. But if I’m simply having a “nope” day, I listen to my body, mind and soul and react accordingly.

The thing is to swerve putting pressure on yourself to perform.

It’s important here to relinquish the word ‘should’. I should be doing this. I should be doing that. Often, these should-isms come from other people’s demands of us (sometimes real, sometimes imaginary: “I should do this as it’s what so-and-so expects of me).

While I’ve stayed at home, many of the ‘performative’ tasks I was doing on the daily have been revealed:

❌ Events/meetings/appointments I didn’t really want to go to have been cancelled.
❌ Low-vibe work I’d only taken on to make a bit of money has dried-up.
❌ Places I don’t gain a whole heap of pleasure from visiting are now closed.
❌ People who drain me of energy are no longer in my periphery.

Going forward, I get to choose exactly how I’m spending my time! And if one day that means staying in my PJs and reading books in bed, then so be it—as long as it’s making me happy!

You see, that’s my main measure of a successful day from here on in:

How much joy have I had today?

And look, I get it. We all have to do not-so fun things every day. We all need to maintain hygiene. Nourish our bodies with food and water. Move. Tend to our responsibilities, like work, people (and pets!) in our care.

But we can choose how we carry out those tasks.
~If you’re a morning person, work with that. If you’re not, instead of snoozing your crack-of-dawn alarm 25 times how can you adjust your routine accordingly?
~If you dislike drinking water, how else can you get your recommended fill of H2O—can you eat more lettuce/celery etc? A squeeze of lemon in warm water or one of those fruit-infuser bottles?
~If you really don’t like reading bedtime stories to your kid but they love it, can you find someone that can? A keen friend or grandparent who can connect via Facetime?

Instead of constantly trudging through life feeling crappy about doing things you don’t want to do, start focusing on discovering the things that feel light and fun and joyful to you. Then do more of those.

You don’t need to ‘make the most’ of a global pandemic. All you need to do is to tune into that voice within. It truly knows what’s best for you.