Cultivating joy

There are so many things to be worried and even depressed about at the moment, so a good way to liven up our spirits is to pause and reflect on the things that bring us joy, with a view to appreciating them even more. Here are the top things that bring me joy:

1. Waking up early

I love waking up at 6 a.m. even at weekends. The morning is my favourite time of the day and I love the peace and quiet of the early hours. Waking up early for me is a means to cultivating even more joy in my life, as it gives me the chance to focus my mental energy on the things that bring me joy, like succumbing into my deepest thoughts whilst blogging, video editing, organising my digital content and catching up on my personal email. Moreover, I feel like I am getting ahead of the world when I am up early and even ahead of myself, particularly when I wake up before the alarm goes off on a work day.

2. A clean home

There is something magical about waking up to a clean home or coming back to a clean home after a full day at work. It takes effort to clean up your space, during which time you might feel exhausted and overwhelmed, but it’s so calming to cultivate and live in your very own sanctuary.

I love seeing my things neatly organised and in harmony with each other. A clean space also not only enables you to truly relax but also to get creative in how you arrange your things and your thoughts at the same time. It enables you to take account of everything that you own, because getting to a good level of tidiness requires a thorough organisation of things.

I feel that people cannot feel truly content when they are in a messy space. It’s like the physical load makes the mind feel heavy and contained within the confines of the clutter. On the contrary, a clean space, even if it’s small, invites the mind to roam free and this, for me, creates so much joy. 

3. The first cup of coffee

For me, enjoying my first cup of coffee after showering is like my morning ritual. I am able to make barista coffee at home thanks to the Sage Oracle Espresso coffee machine that my husband and I bought with our wedding gift money. It was an expensive purchase, but one of the best investments we’ve ever made. It makes us so happy each and every day.

My husband makes far better coffee than I do, but I cannot wait for him to wake up and make it for me. Even if I make it myself, I still enjoy my first cup of coffee more than the second one I have on that day when he wakes up. For me, it’s so much more than a cup of coffee. It’s the story of a new beginning, it carries me into a world of opportunities, daydreaming, hope and excitement. It brings with it the sweet thoughts that charge my mind at the beginning of each day. For this reason, I love coffee for how happy it makes me feel at the beginning of each day.

4. Oatly – Barista edition

I can’t remember how I discovered Oatly Barista milk (probably when searching for plant-based mylks that wouldn’t split when mixed with coffee), but this is just the creamiest and most delicious milk that I have ever tried. It makes my morning coffee such a wonderful treat. I am so grateful to Oatly for developing such a great mylk. I have tried other barista oat milks, like Minor Figures and Alpro Oat for Professionals, that tend to be used in major coffee shop chains, but none of them makes coffee taste so great.

5. Morning run

As I write this, I acknowledge even more that most of the things that bring me joy happen in the morning. While I don’t necessarily love the act of running that much, I do love how I feel after it. So energised - it instantly sets me into a productive state of mind, as I feel ready to conquer my day after each run. I come back refreshed and cheerful from each morning run. It provides me with the self-generating fuel I need to kickstart my engine. On the other hand, when I run it in the evenings, I feel like it somehow drains me. The morning effect is infinitely times better than the evening one.

6. Working from home

I love to be able to work from the comforts of my own home, without wasting time and money commuting. The time I gain in the morning is so precious to me, as that is when my mind is most clear and resourceful and my body full of energy. Being able to use them to their full potential, instead of getting them confined into a packed train or car for the most blissful hour of the day, is so amazing. I also love being able to eat my breakfast and lunch at home in peace instead of gulping them down from Tupperware boxes.

7. Blogging

I love diving into my thoughts to rise up with ideas that produce content that is meaningful to me. While the self-immersion act is tedious, and my mind is often putting it off, as shortcutting to easier things to accomplish, I take great pleasure in the outcome. Seeing what my mind can create from the simple act of self-reflection brings me so much joy. I have always wanted to leave a legacy behind me and because I don’t have any other special talents, this to me is as close as I can get to any remarkable work. Just like an artists enjoys contemplating a finished work of art, I enjoy seeing my finished blog articles as the acts of my very own creation.

8. My husband’s company

While I enjoy spending time by myself, I often get lonely without my husband around me. When I work in an office, I often miss him during the day and in the evenings, when I happen to get back home before him, I look forward to seeing him again. Having him around me brings me so much joy and contentment. He is my support pillar and, with his infinite kindness and love, creates an aura-like comfort zone for me. It brings me so much joy when we can work together and in this way spend the most productive hours of the day, enjoying each other’s company.

9. Red Wine (Shiraz)

I’ve recently discovered the most amazing wine – Yellow Tail Shiraz. I tasted it at Christmas at my in-laws family and fell in love with it from the very first sip. It’s sweet, indulgent, satisfying, and, for me, it makes the perfect pre-dinner appetiser. I share a glass of this wine with my husband most evenings and it’s become like a dinner ritual.

10. Nut butter with banana

To me, nut butter and banana is the most amazing food combination. I arrived at it independently (without being inspired by any external sources) when I first contemplated going vegan, and ever since, I’ve combined them in various forms, from making smoothies, to topping banana slices with nut butters, all the way to making mousses and ice-creams by blending frozen banana with creamy cashews. While I love all the nut butters, my favourite one is Meridian Cocoa and Hazelnut (it tastes like Nutella, minus the sweetness), followed by the creamy Whole Earth smooth peanut butter. I wrote in greater detail about my nut and banana passion in this article.

I feel my life is so much more joyful after cultivating these 10 things into my daily existence. What are your top 10 things that bring your joy every-day?

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