Friday, May 22, 2020

Joy Project: Freedom

Photo credit: Nathan Sundstedt
Whew, April's Blogging from A to Z Challenge set me a little behind schedule, but I don't want to let this month go by without posting about the third chapter in the book Joyful. This chapter's aesthetic is Freedom, which is a complex ideal right now as many of us are feeling physically, socially, and psychologically confined by the coronavirus pandemic. But in some cases, those restrictions are actually opening up our lives in unanticipated ways.

Ingrid writes that "Joy thrives on the alleviation of constraints," which seems completely at odds with the increase in constraints we are all experiencing. I'm finding personally, however, that some of those constraints are balancing out. Yes, I have to work from home, but I can do it without business casual. No, my husband and I can't take the beach vacation we planned, but we can use that time and money to make long-needed improvements to our landscaping. And if no one has been to the supermarket in a while and we don't have much to cook for a meal, we all just fend for ourselves.

Much of the Freedom aesthetic doesn't have to do with coming and going. It's really about the feeling of freedom that comes from removing or mitigating obstacles that block us. That could be as simple as rehoming a piece of furniture that doesn't quite work or stepping away from your technology for a while.

But the best freedom is found by going outside in nature, or bringing nature in. Research shows that people living with more access to green spaces have less stress and more contentment. Workers who sit near windows report better health and job satisfaction. Even the humble houseplant can make us feel happier. Walking about in the forest, aka forest bathing, improves immune function and has been a public-health initiative in Japan since 1992.

We humans are deeply connected to nature down to the molecular level. So I encourage you during this unsettled time to experience and appreciate nature as often as you can--at a safe social distance, of course, and taking all appropriate precautions. Get a houseplant and give it a name. Plant some seeds and flowers. Victory gardens are a thing again--although in all honesty, mine will likely be more of an uneasy truce.

Be well, everyone! Find some joy today!

Meet Jeffrey

Friday, May 8, 2020

A to Z Joy: Reflections 2020

First of all, congratulations to anyone who jumped into the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year. 2020 is challenging us in so many ways even without a solid month of posting in the middle of a pandemic. So if you even gave it a try, pat yourself on the back.

I was happy with my theme, as thinking about the little things that bring me joy helped get my mind off of the news, which, as we know, is more bad than good this spring. I did a fair job of staying ahead of the alphabet and tried to keep my posts short enough for a quick read.

What I did not do well was visit an abundance of other blogs. I found some fun ones I visited regularly, and I found many whose posts were so lengthy, I just didn't have the patience. That makes me feel bad, because I know the work that goes into it. Mea culpa, I'm chalking it up to my general short attention span this year. Also, if your comment form is hard to find or in any way difficult, I probably skipped it. I did make sure I reciprocated every comment left on my posts, but unfortunately not every blogger did the same.

All in all, things seemed a little tired in the A to Z world compared to years past. Again, a sign of the times. The good news is that even though April is in the books, we're still out there blogging! And I plan to use the master list to continue to look for new blogs I enjoy.

Thank you to everyone who visited! Stay safe and well, and I hope you'll stop by again soon.