Kris Carr: If you think of fun like your prescription for your mental and physical health, you are more likely to not only prioritize it, but protect it. Play isn’t optional for children, they need it. Play isn’t optional for big kids either—and you and I are big kids—it’s essential to our wellness. Full stop. But what happens if you, like me sometimes, forget how to play? I mean, sometimes it feels so like it’s been so long you’re like, Wait, play? What the hell is she talking about? I know I do that.
That’s why this very simple exercise can come in. It is called a joy list, and I would love for you to consider creating one, and I’m going to tell you why. You know how joy feels. You know what it feels like. It feels like happiness and excitement and pleasure and, you know, bliss sometimes. You also know what the opposite of joy feels like, despair, overwhelm, anxiety, unease, nervousness. Right? But do you remember what joy actually looks like for you? Or maybe you need to upgrade that picture because what used to bring you joy when you do it now you’re not that into. It doesn’t feel so joyful or fulfilling, etc. Well, if that sounds like you, you are not alone. Sometimes I can get so caught up in life and work and I don’t know how to turn it off. I don’t know how to turn this big, beautiful brain off. And I think maybe if I can just get a little bit more done, I can get ahead for tomorrow, and all of a sudden I’m more exhausted and I have even less joy because I haven’t given myself that time to replenish. Then what inevitably happens is when I do have a little free time and I don’t fill it up and fritter it away, I don’t know what to do with that free time. Has that ever happened to you? You have some space. Maybe a meeting got canceled and you have a free hour, and then you wake up an hour later and you’ve wasted it on your phone. Because you actually, when presented with that free space, forgot the things that you love to do that nourish you and replenish like you do. (I’m pretending that you’re there, I see you in my mind’s eye.) So what happens is, is I’m just rusty and I might end up, like I said, being on my phone. Or more likely than not, I will end up cleaning. And by the way, I have fun cleaning. But after a while, cleaning can be kind of limited. Everything’s freaking clean. Go out and play, Kris Carr.
So here’s the exercise. Here’s what it looks like. Super easy. Create a joy list. First, I want you to set the stage, grab a cup of tea or your favorite beverage. Find a room that’s private. Lovely. Grab your journal and get yourself set up and situated. Create that sacred time because you are going to go into your imagination, that incredibly creative place, that is actually a lot of fun. So I want you to write down the following prompt in your journal. What brings me joy? What brings me joy? Write it down. And then you’re going to scribble as many things that you can think of. Right? Don’t judge yourself. Let your inner kid lead this exercise. No judgment, no ridicule, no being nasty, and maybe include stuff that you’ve actually never done before, but you perhaps you were really curious about or you’ve always wanted to try.
One year I did this and I shared the list with my husband and he noticed that I wrote archery on it. And he went off and for Christmas he got me archery lessons, which were so frickin fun. I’m going to post a video of me from yesteryear doing my archery. It is something I probably wouldn’t have given myself because I did this exercise and I showed it to him and I encouraged him to create one. I had archery lessons and I did it for probably, I don’t know, couple of months and then I fell off. But it was one of the most interesting experiences because when you’re doing something like that, you can’t think of anything else, right? You’re so in the moment. So archery class was like going to therapy. It was great.
So here are some other examples in my life right now. And again, this stuff can be really easy. You don’t have to invest in classes or even unless you want to. I love learning stuff, so that’s always fun for me. But hanging out with a friend that’s actually fun, like your go to friend who is always a gas. Not a friend that you think you should hang out with, not a friend that’s been pressuring you to hang out for like a couple of months and you feel guilty because you haven’t had the time for them, and when you have time, you actually don’t want to spend it with them. Okay. A friend that every time you’re with, you’re like, You just light me up. Tickle me. Okay. That’s the kind of person that you want to spend the time with. For me, it might be taking out my real camera. My real camera? Do we even know what real cameras anymore they are anymore? Like everything is on our phones, but taking out an actual 35 millimeter camera and taking photos in nature. Going for a walk, taking pictures of leaves and trees and sticks and moss and streams is so fun for me. And I forget that I can do that. Right. Especially in this digital world. A movie night with popcorn. Like a bucket of popcorn that you pop. And for me to put some vegan butter on that little nutritional use, some salt. Oh! A movie night, cozy dogs, lights out, big bucket of popcorn—that’s a lot of fun.
So you’re going to go ahead and make that list for yourself. Everything that you can think of, don’t sense yourself. Let your little kid leave. Then I want you to look it over. And I want you to choose one thing. Just one thing. Now if you end up doing more, oh, my goodness, you’re amazing, superstar! But one thing that you can do in the next week. The next week. So whatever day you are watching this coaching, you have one week to do this one thing. Okay. Now, if your fun thing that you would love to do requires you to sign up and do something. Okay, I get it. I’ll give you 30 days. But the point is, I want you to put this in action. So if you write something down that you would love to do, it’s going to take a little longer, get it written down, and then start to plan it so that it can actually happen.