“Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.”Alice Morse Earle
[Disclosure: this post is longer than most]
I believe having a great day is a choice. But too many people are not willing to choose to enjoy their day or even to try to have a good day. Every day has the potential to be enjoyed, yet we often fall into the stereotype trap where we give in to the stigmas society sets on us. We dread mornings, roll our eyes at Mondays, wish the day would end sooner when it’s only noon, and drool over Fridays. We hate the mundane but aren’t willing to change. We go with the flow instead of against the grain and wonder why our lives aren’t getting better.
I don’t think God intended us to live that way. It’s true that every day may not be good (like the quote), but there really is something good in every day. Even if the only thing we can think of is the breath in our lungs. Whatever our good thing may look like, it’s part of our day and it can change the way the rest of our day flows.
So, how can we enjoy our day no matter what is going on in our lives? We all face difficult situations, relationships, and seasons in our lives. It’s naturally part of our life. Without difficulty, we wouldn’t know simplicity or ease (that’s the power of contrast). These last few years, in particular, have been some of the toughest years emotionally, mentally, relationally, and physically for many of us. Personally, I’ve dealt with all kinds of physical issues that resulted from emotional and mental stress. I’ve been on a journey of learning and unlearning thought-patterns and how to regulate emotions in a healthy way, how to cope with stress better, even though I didn’t think I was stressed. Despite the many lows and challenges, I’ve still found it possible to enjoy my days. Even when things go way south, I made it a habit to keep this mindset part of my life because, like anyone else, I want to enjoy my life.
Now, I’m not here to incite false or toxic positivity. I’m not here to dismiss, invalidate, or bring down anyone and their feelings or life circumstances. I’m here to encourage you that it’s possible to enjoy your day no matter what is going on in your life. Most of us don’t want to hear that it’s up to us to enjoy our day, but that is the truth. It’s up to us to enjoy our day, go against the grain, and be noticeably joyful. Not for show, or because it’s what you “should do,” but because you choose to. Enjoying your day, having a good day, is a choice no matter how hard life gets.
Here are a few things that help me always enjoy my day, no matter what life throws my way. I believe these will help and challenge your perspective and attitude towards your daily life.
1. Assess Your Daily Lifestyle & Change Your Habits
There is a way which seems right to a person, But its end is the way of death.Proverbs 14:12
One of my pet peeves is when people reply with “that’s good” if I say that my day is going by fast. Ever since I was little, I did not want my days to “end.” I wanted to somehow squeeze the life out of every minute so that the day would be well-lived. And I grew up continuing in that mindset. When I got my first job in Colorado at the bank, this “fast day” conversation became a daily conversation because it’s as if people have nothing else to say.
How’s your day going? It’s going by quite fast. That’s good! Good for you!
I get the intent. We want to get off work and get to our “real” life, hobbies, or our beds. But just like the Monday stereotype or having an unhealthy hate towards mornings, we can succumb to the supposed positivity about a day going by fast. Life is already going by quickly, so why don’t we want to enjoy every day as it comes, instead of waking up with a longing for it to end? Psalm 90:12 says, So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. This Prayer of Moses in Psalms refers to the shortness and frailty of human life. And my connection here, my point, is that we may enjoy our every day and every moment, and break the habit of agreeing with others that it’s good when our days go by fast. We should make the most of our days, even if that means having a day of rest. We shouldn’t long for our day to end, because life will end at some point, anyway.
To assess our daily lifestyle and change our habits, we must look beyond the major habits we want to change, (because we already know what the big ones are and just need to commit to them). But what are the little habits in between? Like the repetitive thought-processes, exasperated sighs, or habitual irritations? How easily do we get frustrated or upset about the smallest things? Once we assess the little things in our daily lifestyle, I believe we can break off the bad and unhealthy habits, and enjoy our days more no matter what happens or how slowly it goes. We need to become more mindful of these things so that we can enjoy our day no matter what.
2. Take More Breaks
A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.Proverbs 17:22
I don’t know about you, but once I hunker down for work or a project, I can get stuck and sit for hours. Sometimes this is good. For instance, if you’re pushing through a deadline or have an urgent need come up that requires it. But daily, this isn’t very healthy. If it becomes a daily habit, people can get irritable, less focused, or even the opposite, too relaxed and unmotivated in other areas of life. It is proven and recommended taking frequent breaks every thirty to ninety minutes, and my point here is simply this: take more breaks.
But not just any breaks, where you go on your phone and scroll endlessly or binge Netflix or YouTube. Take healthy breaks. Go on a walk or two during your day (in the morning and afternoon or evening). Spend some time playing with your pet (if you have one). Interact with your spouse or kids (if you can). Do some stretches or squats if your environment allows. Read one page from a book or journal one full page. Take healthy breaks and get some natural energy going. When we move, our blood and energy flows in our body and doing what it does best – keeping us alive and going in this life!
Taking more healthy breaks brings joy to our hearts naturally. Every time I’ve felt low or uninspired, I challenged myself to go on a walk. The results were astounding! I always came back refreshed, motivated, and ready to put good work in. Healthy breaks help us “break away” from the mundane, repetitiveness, and getting stuck in unhealthy “hunker-down-ness.” When times are rough and there are family issues, work stresses, or any other difficulty we could face in this life, it’s important to take more breaks from the hardship. This can look like stepping away from the room for five minutes; taking deep breaths and grounding your feet (placing both feet on the ground in awareness); or again, going for a walk.
Proverbs 4:23 encourages us to keep our hearts with all diligence, for from it flow the issues of life. This means to guard our hearts and take care of ourselves so that we can stay healthy in the long run, with the ability to help others continuously. And, of course, to enjoy our days.
3. Challenge Yourself with Something New
The mind of the discerning acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.Proverbs 18:15
Something I challenged myself with is to learn a new skill every month this year. So far, I learned how to mask and paint (because we had to do it for our new house!). I made a sourdough starter and now I’m off to baking bread. I got back to snowboarding and ice skating (this isn’t necessarily new, but it felt good doing it again!). I feel like I’m getting a taste of childhood exhilaration by intentionally challenging myself with something new monthly and almost weekly. These things might not seem so big, but they’re a challenge to me because I’ve framed them as “new” in my head.
When we challenge ourselves with something new, even on a monthly or weekly basis, it pops us out of our mundane bubbles and helps us enjoy our lives more. We’re meant to steward, not only this life that we’re given, but ourselves and how we live through it. We’re called to live in joy, peace, and love, and not just make it through our day. Along with assessing our lifestyle and creating new habits, and taking frequent breaks, this last piece of advice is extremely important so that we can learn how to enjoy our lives daily. It’s not about forcing ourselves to do what we don’t want to do, but to try the things we’ve put off for so long. If it requires money, maybe bring the standard down and learn a few card tricks or how to do a handstand.
When was the last time you learned something new? A new skill, a new hobby or interest, or discovered a new talent? People don’t recognize that, despite how they live their lives, they are remarkably talented and wonderfully made by God. God wired each of us in a unique way, but for some reason, we stopped enjoying that part which made us stop enjoying our days, too.
Throughout the epistles, Paul encourages us to live this way, even through persecution and trials. Keep going, trying, learning, growing, and all of this, with thanksgiving. We can’t escape hardship because it’s part of this life, but we can make the most of it by enjoying our day and learning new things for ourselves. As we learn, we grow and mature, and can help or encourage others to do the same. The world is filled with enough evil, negativity, and dullness. It’s up to us to change that up instead of going with the flow. It’s up to us to change our behaviour to actually enjoy our days!
In conclusion, I want to leave you with a few more practical things to help you
- Assess your lifestyle and change your habits
- Take more breaks, and
- Challenge yourself with something new
When you’re not having a good day and feeling slow or lethargic, check your physical health by doing a light assessment with these questions:
- Did you drink enough water?
- Did you eat healthy foods?
- Did you get any exercise or go on a walk or two?
- Did you get any sunlight?
- Did you get time to yourself for at least five minutes?
When you’re not having a good day and are spiraling or struggling in your thoughts, toiling in emotions, or feeling low, check your emotional and mental health by doing a light assessment with these questions:
- What are you grateful for?
- What did you accomplish today? Or earlier this week?
- What’s been worrying you lately, and why do you think that is?
- What are you doing to bring yourself (and others) joy?
- What can you do to bring yourself joy?
When you’re not having a good day and you’re experiencing loneliness, off-ness, depression or anxiety, check your spiritual health by doing a light assessment with these questions:
- Who have you been around lately?
- Who or what have you watched on social media or Netflix?
- Who did you last interact with? How did that go?
- Who can you reach out to for a simple but authentic conversation?
- Who do you trust?
- Who can you turn to right now? (God included 😉)
- Your Actions Matter: How to Develop a Godly Character
- Proverbs 9: Seven Truths About Us in Christ (Revised)
- Your Goals Matter: How to Set Intentional Goals That Help You Live the Life You Desire
- Your Attitude Matters: How to Maintain a Positive & Pure Attitude
- Your Words Matter: How to Speak Kindly to Yourself and Others
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