For my previous two posts I talked about how I’ve broken down the idea of self-care into different categories, having to do with overall well-being and how I take care of myself as a person. I began with strength and what makes me feel strongest (inside and out!), and then moved onto relaxation and things that help me find my center. This time I’ll focus on the third and final category I think of when I say self-care: what brings you joy?
In terms of what makes me the happiest, a variety of things come to mind – from things that make me laugh to what makes me feel most beautiful. And I want to point out that when I consider what makes me feel the most beautiful, this does not have to be just physical beauty. After all, everyone has a different idea or version of what is considered attractive.
For me, it’s not just the physical aspect, but also how it can increase my confidence. Lots of people put on heavy makeup and take a million selfies and try to portray themselves as attractive to the world, but unfortunately still don’t really see themselves as beautiful. In my case putting aside expectations and doing what works with my own body and my own mindset make me feel most confident in myself.
So, for a while now I’ve kept a joy list. (Surprise! I love making lists, if you couldn’t tell by now). These are what I turn to when I’m feeling drab or down, or simply just need a little boost of happiness to make me feel better about life.
So, what’s on my joy list?
- The feeling after I’ve gone for a run and showered and my skin feels like it is literally glowing. Feeling beautiful doesn’t need to be all materialistic! When I go on a run, I usually sweat a lot and it is such a relief (for multiple reasons) because it feels like I am cleansing my body, specifically my skin, of any toxins or junk food that I’ve eaten. When I get home and cool down, my face stays red for a while, which is clearly not something that makes me feel attractive. But afterwards, when I’ve cooled off and drunk enough water and washed all the sweat away, I literally feel like my skin is glowing. That’s what exercise does to me, and it makes me feel beautiful.
- Wearing my favorite underwear. Yes, I realize this sounds ridiculous and childish. But wearing my favorite underwear, whether it’s cute or sexy or both, makes me smile and feel a little bit better. I used to have a pair of underwear that had the batman logo on it, and it was the best. Even though no one else could see it, I knew it was there and it made me feel powerful (and somewhat childish – but if no one else knows, then who cares?).
- New mascara. I don’t wear makeup often, but when I do, mascara is my go-to. It instantly makes me feel fresher and more vibrant, and I love the feeling of having a new tube, still the perfect consistency and dark as ever.
- Giving compliments/gifts. I love making other people smile! You honestly never know how much the smallest compliment can brighten someone’s day. Giving gifts has always been my love language, and I always get so excited when I have something prepared for someone I care about.
- A cute hairstyle that frames my face. Ever had a haircut that you hate? I definitely have, and when that happens you learn all the different ways you can pin it, twirl it, and/or style it to make it frame your face better. Even though I’m content with my hair currently (thank God!), the concept still applies. If ever I’m feeling drab or down, usually doing my hair in a cute style like braids or a half-up bun makes me feel a little more put together.
- Popcorn with just the right amount of butter. This is probably my favorite snack of all time, and having a bowl of it in my lap brings me an insane amount of contentment.
- The feeling of looking out over the ocean and being able to hear the waves. I’ve always loved the ocean. It’s full of mystery and beauty and power, and even though we will never fully understand what lies beneath the water, gazing out across the waves still brings me so much happiness.
- Funny and/or cute animal videos. They say that laughter is the best medicine, right? I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love watching hilarious videos of cats being jerks or dogs getting themselves stuck in a potato chip bag. A little laughter can make a world of difference when I’m in a grumpy mood.
- My cup of smooth morning coffee, preferably in one of my favorite mugs. I look forward to having coffee every single morning. It’s part of my routine and it brings me so much enjoyment to have a steaming cup in front of my on my desk in a cute mug. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the littlest things can honestly make the biggest difference.
Whatever makes you happy and brings light to your life, hold onto that! Obviously it will be different for every single person. Although my list is much longer than what is written here, these were some of the things I turn to when I need a little cheer in my life.
This works for me and I hope you found value in it, but as always, do what works best for you!
What are some of the things that bring you the most joy?