When you're tired and stressed and can't think of anything else other than "When will I be able to sleep again?!" it's hard to remember to enjoy the little things that spark joy in your life. But it's so important to remember that life is more than work, sleep, repeat. Here are some things that I often neglect in my busy life, but when I do make time for them, I'm so much happier.
Reading poetryI have always loved poetry. I actually used to want to be a poet until I realized that 1) I don't have anything unique to say and 2) you can't make a living as a poet . I recently put a stack of poetry books on my bedside table, to remind myself to read a few verses every now and then. It is very refreshing to the mind and spirit.
Rubbing lotion on my feetThis one probably sounds odd. I'm on my feet all day for my job, often in high heels, and my feet get so tired. I love foot massages, but, sadly, my husband hates feet. Rubbing lotion on my own feet is not as relaxing, but it still feels good.
StretchingI carry my stress in my shoulders and neck, and stretching can help relieve so much tension.
Listening to music, just for funMy students think I'm crazy because I don't like to listen to music. "BUT YOU'RE A MUSIC TEACHER!" they cry, followed by, "You're so weird." The truth is, for me to enjoy what I'm listening to, I need to give it my full attention. And I don't always have time to do that. Also, I'm around music and noise all day, so when I get home I just want some peace and quiet. However, music does have a profound effect on my emotions and stress levels. Plus, as a music teacher I'm around amateur musicians all day. I need to listen to real music every once in awhile to remind myself why I do what I do. Some of my favorites are: Anything by Vaughan Williams, Claude Debussy, Gabriel Faure, Mozart (some, but not too much... I really like the horn concertos), Bach cello concertos... And for some more "contemporary" musicians: Andrea Bocelli, Diana, Krall, Jason Mraz, John Mayer (are you noticing a "mellow" vibe?)...
So what are the little things in life that spark joy and relieve stress?