Doing more of what brings you joy isn’t an indulgence, it’s imperative.

Simple pleasures really are the best, and making the choice to regularly tap into the things that bring you joy is an important aspect of health and wellness.

A few evenings ago I went to The Abbotsford Convent here in Melbourne. It’s a delightful arts and cultural space which in summer hosts The Shadow Electric open-air cinema.

It was a lovely warm night, the perfect evening to watch 2 Days in New York, written and directed by Julie Delpy. Before the movie started I took a moment to deliberately soak it all in. Here was a simple way to engage in something that gave me joy. The Supper Market was on so we got a chance to taste delectable Nepalese food, a DJ indulged us with well-chosen tunes and a Crêperie set up in the background offered sweet treats if you were so inclined. Present in the background was a comforting hum of people who seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves, and that part of the precinct was illuminated in soft hues of blue, green and amber lighting set up against the buildings’ walls. It was a great space to be in –  it felt like someone had made the effort to make it so. A Friday night that could have looked like any other became a lovely experience. I’m glad I made the time to just get the tickets and go.

Deliberately putting time aside to do things that bring you joy is an important part of maintaining optimal levels of health and wellness. You’re no good to anyone, least of all yourself, if there’s a sense of unhappiness or general discontent within you (and we can get very good at hiding this). Things will happen that will knock you about and it’s having a robust base level of contentment and excitement for life that gets you through. Knowing who you are and what truly brings you joy is the first step. And you don’t have to strain the bank balance either, nor hold out for that once-a-year 3 week holiday overseas.

Take care of yourself consciously. Think about it, make time for it, do it. This also means that when you do have spare time, you don’t waste it away bored or doing things that don’t really rejuvenate you (just how many re-runs of that gritty TV show can you watch? We’ve all been there!). Even just being aware that you’re taking care of yourself makes you feel good. And feeling good impacts how you behave, so who knows what you can create when you’re coming from that space?

Maybe it’s that weekly soccer session with the boys, or working on your art? Trawling for LPs at a hidden away record store? Eating out? Jamming with your band perhaps? Even just relaxing at a park can be what you need (green is good). 

So what brings you joy? Each of us will have our own answer to this, and it does need to come from you. Whatever it is, keep doing more of it. It’s not an indulgence, it’s imperative.

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