Ever since Marie Kondo introduced the concept of Spark Joy into our everyday language we have been looking at our lives in a slightly different way and not just our possessions. As a consequence of the pandemic a lot more of us are spending time at home and the need to spark some joy into our lives has been increasingly more important.
So here are some thoughts on what sparking the joy means to me.
- Reconnections – In the past few weeks I have been reconnecting with people I have worked with in the past and it has been an absolute delight. I confess I make a terrible friend as I get so wrapped up in my strange and crazy life that weeks go by and then I realise I’ve left things slip. To those people who I have been reconnecting with recently I thank you - for your patience and for embracing me back as thought it was only yesterday we just chatted. I have valued our conversations more than you know and promise to try harder!
- Connections – So now you know I have trouble with keeping in touch – however, there are people with whom I have managed it thanks to the magic of WhatsApp! I love the idea of a quick message and sharing a moment – whether it be the copious amounts of snow that have landed in my garden since 2021 began or sharing a joke over my famous packet inspired Spaghetti Carbonara. Either way those interactions bring a smile and sometimes a snort of laughter! Read more about my thoughts about why it’s important to have a friend at work here
- Great Conversations – Now and again there are conversations you have which challenge our way of thinking which are thought provoking. You know the ones – the ones that are still making us think a few days later as we go about our lives. These all contribute to the rich tapestry that makes up our thinking and helps develop our thought processes – to all those who have contributed to mine I salute you.
- Unexpected Joy – As I write this it is FA Cup weekend – so I do love a football match of a particular flavour. However, even for me I have watched a lot of the FA Cup and have been captivated by the exploits of the minnows (Marine, Cheltenham, and Chorley) against the big teams. For me it captures the essence of football I remember, and I have found myself cheering on or more likely shouting at the tv screen. Unfortunately for my other half I watch football like I am the manager and can offer plenty of advice and motivation as appropriate!
- Making the Time – Now I wouldn’t want to suggest that joy needs scheduling, but we do need to make time for it. Whether it’s reading, taking a long bath, or eating maple and bacon crisps! I do realise that last one might be just me….The key is to slow down and take the time and focus on the moment. As an ex-English Lit student I read far too quickly – so I consciously slow down so I take in the words and just enjoy the sensation of peace and quiet. Like a great conversation a good book can stay with you for days – and in that spirit can I recommend Dan Walker’s Remarkable People. Thought provoking reading matter at it’s very best.
- Blogging – As a natural reflector I think a lot and sometimes I need to get all those thoughts out – usually that’s when I blog. There is no rhythm to it – only when I have something to say. Truly – it does spark some joy when people read it – the numbers aren’t important it’s the fact that people took the time to read my random thoughts which I find amazing.
- Music – This for me is a natural source of joy. Who can’t fail to be uplifted by the Spice Girls or Girls Aloud? Is it sometimes accompanied by a little bop around the front room – well I’ll leave you to make up your own mind on that one. More recently I have been enjoying the Everyone’s talking about Jamie soundtrack with a favourite being Don't Even Know It (from Everybody's Talking About Jamie) - YouTube
- Exercise – Now this is a sentence I never thought I’d write – exercise has been a key part of my lockdown experience whether it has been on my exercise bike or a walk. For me I find that it helps balance my mood and I’m quite proud of the number of miles I have racked up…
- Find work that you love – Last Friday the @LnDConnect chat between 8:00 – 9:00 was focused on ‘What will you be doing differently this year?’ This really got me thinking and links to a thought that ‘Do something you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life’. We spend a long time at work, and it can be even longer if it isn’t sparking joy. Take time to think about what sparks joy for you at work – is there enough of it, would you like more of it? And most importantly – go for it!
- Don’t be afraid to follow Marie Kondo - One of my favourite expressions is ‘Don’t be afraid to be yourself – everybody else is taken’. Inevitably there will be people who love you, some who are quite frankly indifferent and some who would gladly walk 500 miles to avoid you. Sometimes there are relationships in life which don’t always work out and that’s okay – at work that’s trickier and there are strategies we can adopt to manage these. In our personal lives it’s worth taking the time to think about how much emotional energy we expend with some people – are they bringing joy to our lives?
- My truth is not yours – All of the above is about what sparks joy for me – but just because it works for me doesn’t mean it will work for you. Try different things and remember that nothing is wrong – if it works for you it just works…
What are you going to do to spark joy?