Project Joy // No. 2
March 26, 2020

Project Joy // No. 2

Hi there, Joyfolie friendies! My name is Olivia, and I’m the textile designer at Joyfolie. I’ve been with the company for about five years now, full time at first, and now part-time as I’m home with my babies most days, or, I should say, every day now that we’re doing this social distancing thing.

We’re still adjusting here at my house, even though the day-to-day doesn’t look all that different. My husband and I are both accustomed to working from home, as we have been for a good chunk of the past nine years. We are a good team, and we communicate well (trial and error for the win!). My daughter, who is four, is definitely missing her school and her friends. I’m definitely missing those things too, along with playdates and outings to playgrounds and the library. We’re feeling out our new normal, trying to find balance, juggling all the things, as I’m sure everyone is right now.

There are a few things that are helping me maintain sanity and positivity, and I’d love to share them with you here.

I put my oxygen mask on first. 

That means I wake up an hour before my babies do, so that I can journal, meditate*, and plan my day. These practices are my non-negotiables. I’m able to stay more centered and grounded all day long when I start my morning with self care.

*My favorite (free!) meditation apps are Insight Timer and Calm.

I nurture my body.

I’ve learned a few things about myself in the past 36 years, and one of those things is that I am just a better wife, mother, and human when I take care of my body. I drink a ton of water, I eat real food (mostly), and I try to honor and appreciate the food that I eat. I make it a point to sneak in 20-30 minutes of exercise or at least stretching each day (and with two small children, that can sometimes seem like an incredible accomplishment!). 

I nurture my relationships.

I check on my friends, my family, and my neighbors. We text, we FaceTime, we have virtual happy hours. What a beautiful time we live in, when we have so many opportunities to connect with each other that don’t require us to be in the same physical space! And of course, I’m soaking up all the snuggles with my housemates :)

I get outside as much as possible.

Fresh air and sunshine are magical. There are a million scientific studies about it, but you don’t need a scientist to tell you how good-for-your-soul it is to get outside. It’s good for me, it’s good for my kids, and it’s good for our dog. Bonus points for moving my body while I’m outside -- a hike, a run, or a walk (even at a painfully-slow four-year-old’s pace).

I practice mindfulness, gratitude, and grace.

Mindfulness means that when fear sneaks in (or crashes in loudly, demanding attention rightthisveryminute), I can acknowledge it without getting swept away in it. It means I can say, Hey you. I see you. You’re here and that’s fine. You can come along for the ride, but you have to sit in the back seat and you don’t get to decide where we go or what we do or even what music we play. I am so much more than my fears and anxieties. And when I stay out of the fear-nado, I can make my choices from a place of love and know that those choices will always lead me to a place of safety and peace.

Turning away from fear and towards love also means turning toward gratitude. I have my own gratitude practice, which I started a million years ago because Oprah told me to and I basically do anything that Oprah tells me to do—doesn’t everybody? In my journal each morning, I write down 5-10 little things that happened in the 24 hours previous that brought me joy. Some days it’s easier than others. But I notice the little things more and more now that I’ve been doing it for a while. We also have a family gratitude practice -- at the dinner table, we each tell about our most favorite part of the day. We have to guess for my son, but it’s such a sweet conversation and I look forward to it every day.

Grace and compassion are SO important right now. Grace and compassion for my husband when he’s talking excessively loudly to his colleagues on Skype in the office we share. Grace and compassion for my kids when they are screaming and clingy and acting like monsters and it’s not even 9:00am. Grace and compassion for myself when I feel like I don’t have anything figured out and the mom guilt is creeping in and it’s taking every ounce of my being just to get through the day. Grace and compassion, and lots of gratitude for streaming video. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch Frozen II for the fifteenth time this week ;)

What kinds of things do you do to stay positive in this time of uncertainty?