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Let’s be honest: we’re living in difficult and stressful times where many are devoid of joy. In particular, people have been facing unprecedented isolation, often accompanied by fear. Even for someone like myself, who is an extreme introvert, it has been a challenging and lonely time…for a couple of years now!
While it is not easy, in times like this, it is even more important to make time to get in touch with and experience joy. As someone who teaches self-sufficiency, I encourage people to think of joy more as a place you choose to visit rather than a feeling that will just “come” to you. To that end, in this article, I will share tips from my homestead that I use to create a joyful mood and benefit from the many ways joy lifts us up and heals us. Most importantly, dear Frugalites, these are suggestions that need not cost a lot of money…or any money at all.
Listen to uplifting music.
While we all have different tastes in music, we all know a song that lifts our spirits when we hear it. Depending on our mood and what we need, the style or type of music can vary, too. What is helpful is that you find some way to give yourself access to this if you find you need it.
Do you subscribe to a music streaming service like Spotify? If so, you have a vast resource at your fingertips. Why not create an uplifting playlist that can serve you in times of need? If you don’t want to spend on music through an app or subscription, there are ways to access it for free. One example is through your public library, where simply having a card gets you to access to online resources like Hoopla where you can take out music electronically.
I use uplifting music in my eco-cabin every day. Much of the music I listen to is free. I stream it from our national radio station. The CBC has all of the music shows archived, where you can find 419 free shows to listen to. (One of my favorite shows is the Choral Concert show.) There are also playlists in countless themes (jazz, choral music, classical serenity, film scores, classical music for celebration) that you can listen to without needing to hear an announcer.
What if you don’t have access to the internet?
Public libraries still offer anyone with a library card the ability to borrow a physical CD through the usual borrowing procedure. I checked my local library and was pleasantly surprised at the range of music available.
Take some time: think about songs you have loved over the years. Put something together for yourself: a playlist you can listen to when you need a boost. Pull out an old CD you loved. I did that recently, and now I play traditional fiddle music regularly before work to inspire me and get my energy up.
Create uplifting music.
Another joy-bringing activity I enjoy on the homestead is to create music. The great thing is that I don’t have to be any good to enjoy this! A number of years ago, I bought a penny whistle to celebrate my Irish heritage. It came with a small instructional book. I was amazed at how quickly I was playing traditional Irish reels.
When I sit down and play these traditional and familiar tunes (“Early One Morning,” “I’ll Tell Me Ma”), I feel like I am connecting back to something magical. I can imagine people, generations before, sitting by the fire and singing and playing together. It doesn’t have to be Irish music, of course. All cultures have music they have handed down from generation to generation.
Two instruments that are lower cost would be the tin whistle or the harmonica. Online, I found a triple pack of a new tin whistle, CD, and instructional book, all for under $14. I also found a harmonica book and CD for $10 – 20. A decent harmonica could be purchased separately for under $20. You could upgrade it later as you progress.
My local library had some instructional books for other instruments, like the guitar and piano. You could always make a request to your local branch that they order an instructional book for an instrument you already have or would like to learn.
Watching stand up comedy or funny movies is free.
Sometimes when the pressures of life are getting to me, I know I need a good laugh. Before the pandemic, I can remember getting together with friends and laughing together. These days, I usually need a substitute for this. I have found that seeking out an opportunity to laugh is very helpful.
Lately, I have been watching stand-up comedy on an online streaming service. I have found one comic that I absolutely LOVE. He is so funny. I am actually laughing out loud as I write about him.
Your favorite comic will be different for everyone. See if you can find one that you love. Watch a comedy special when you need a boost. Just the physical act of laughing is good for you, and it will take you away from your troubles for an hour. If you don’t have access to a streaming service or the internet, you can always take out comedy movies or a funny book at your local library for free.
Connect with your life purpose.
I live on my Half-Acre Homestead, close to the nature I love. I consider it my mission to help others realize their dreams of homesteading and become as self-sufficient as possible. When I am writing about self-sufficiency and sharing ideas with my subscribers, I feel fantastic!
What is your life purpose? If you cannot answer that question right now, why not spend some time connecting with this purpose? You could spend some time quietly reflecting or journaling about it.
There is a lot of joy in living that purpose. Your purpose might be raising happy and healthy kids. It might be to help others in need. It might be to live up to the ideals of your faith as best you can. By living intentionally, you can get a lot of joy by celebrating your journey towards your goal, which is full of lots of tiny steps.
Were you extra patient with your kids today? Did you have a kind word for that homeless guy at the corner you usually walk by? Did you take the time to pray today? These small moments can bring big joy, and they don’t need to cost you anything.
Living with joy is an intentional way to support health and enjoy life.
I have shared just a few ways that I intentionally bring joy into my life on the homestead. Could you see yourself trying any of the ideas offered here? Do you have one of your own you can share with us? Please tell us in the comments below.
Colette is passionate about sharing her knowledge of thrifty living and self-sufficiency. She has developed her skills in self-reliance living in the suburbs, the city, and more recently, on her own Half-Acre Homestead. Colette lived five years completely off-grid and without running water in an eight by 24 foot tiny home while designing and building her own 18 by 24-foot eco-cabin. She has just launched her website, Half Acre Homestead. Colette invites you to stop by and visit this work in progress! Coming soon in 2022 is her exciting new online program. Interested in Resiliency, Preventative Health, and Self-Sufficient/Off-Grid Housing (to name a few!)? Stay tuned for more details!
15 thoughts on “Free or Low Cost Ways to Bring Joy into your Life”
I walk my dog, take her to a dog park n teach her new tricks…. Great source for fun hours flying by.
Nature is my go to often with picnics in all kinds of weather. Creativity necessary
Hi K8, Thank you so much. Your description of your time with your dog made me smile. I had a wonderful dog named “Indy” for 11 years. I will never forget the joy and love she brought into my life. Thank you for this precious reminder. I love nature, too. Wishing you lots of joy!
I recently started to make sure to watch America’s Funniest Videos every Sunday night (rabbit ear tv). I hadn’t watched in years and caught it one night. Decided to make it a ‘date’ for myself just to be able to laugh out loud–something in short supply lately. And it really DOES make me feel better!
Hi Grammyprepper, I think that watching America’s Funniest Videos on a rabbit ear tv would be even more fun! Good for you. I am so glad to hear that it does make you feel better. That is so kind of you to share that. I hope it helps other readers in the Frugalite community get laughin’!
While it is still cold here, I do try to watch the sun set out my kitchen window every evening. Once the weather is better, I will be able to spend more time outside. That is where my true peace and joy come from. Doesn’t matter if I putter in the garden, enjoy my container plants on the patio, or just sit and listen, or read a book. Outside is my happy place.
Hi Grammyprepper, I think we are much alike. These days, my time outside is spent shovelling snow, which can be hard work. When I take a breather, I do try to look around and enjoy the bird song and the sky and trees. I do look forward to puttering in my garden. What a happy thought! Thanks for these nice ideas about enjoying the beauty of the outdoors.
Colette, there is an Irish internet radio station called Radio Siamsa.. It plays all kinds of Irish music and is free. I downloaded the app on Google play or maybe you can find it on the computer. It brings me joy.
Hi Denise, Woo Hoo! I am totally excited to try and find this Irish radio station. Thank you so much for sharing that. I will keep you posted! I am quite certain many other readers would also be interested in your wonderful FREE suggestion. Many thanks!
Hi Denise, I just wanted to provide a little update to you. As I type this, I am listening to Radio Siamsa! I found it through liveradio.ie I am able to listen to it through an External Live Stream, which is a link that I can bookmark and return to any time I want on my computer. I share these techie details in case they are helpful to anyone.
Many thanks for sharing your suggestion: it is bringing me a lot of joy, too!
Make a gratitude list, every thing you are grateful for. Clean air & water, food, safe housing, etc… it can help reset priorities and encourage happiness.
Oh, yes, T! Thank you for this reminder of how gratitude can support our happiness. I work on a farm as a labourer. Each day, after I finish work, I am thankful I could work another shift: that I’m physically able to do it. It feels great to remind myself about this each time. I also enjoy the cows so much. They bring a great deal of joy into my life. I appreciate this great suggestion for practicing gratitude in our lives.
At 75 I still see life as exiting and new. I’m enjoying the new church I’ve been able to attend since my husband died in September. I was asked to minister on a recent Wednesday night. I’ve missed that. A tall red headed man has started sitting near me at church and shyly paying me attention. I find I’m enjoy the whole interchange. Hes not yet retired. He’s in the area on a contract job working with reclamation of an area uranium mine. He moved to the state working on another mine. He bought a home out in the middle of nowhere about 80 miles south of the church.
I’m enjoying the senior dinner that was recently started for the community. I help as I’m able with the teen group.
I’m doing a lot of canning and have helped my younger son get started canning. I gave him the pressure canner that I start out with working with my Mom 71 years ago. He found another one online and is using them both. He lost his wife 3 weeks after my husband died. Canning is helping fill his time.
I’m reconnecting with friends from over the last 44 years. I’m really enjoying life right now.
I hate the politics of this world but I’m planning my spring garden. I need to rebuild my chicken flock, start over with a few ducks, and find a new buck for my meat rabbits. Staying busy is good. But the changes are good and I’m enjoying life.
Yes I’m paying attention to the change in our world. Some of it is not pleasing me at all. The only thing I know to do is keep canning and learning. I have younger women wanting to learn to can. I’m planning a canning class soon. I keep following the new Ukrainian war. Was in on an interview between journalists inside Ukraine. One is a three nation citizen. His insights were enlightening. He knows the president of Ukraine and is impressed with his mascinity and strengths. Knows him as an actor, body builder and as the president. I’ll be paying close attention. The guys inside country carry both fear and pride. They talked about t h e bulk of the army not being so into it. The special forces group are different. They are war hardened. Yet they are the ones dying the most. In once area and entire column was destroyed. Tanks, armored vehicles, and highly trained men dead. As a side note all road signs have been taken down. Army columns getting lost and asking people directions of for food. Firey rockets are destroying homes and bridges have been destroyed to slow the army movements. The planes are not all destroyed as Russia has claimed. So Russian planes and helicopters are being destroyed. The populace is bravely fighting for their freedom. I’m proud of the people.
Hi Clergylady, I was not aware that your husband had passed away last fall. I am sorry for your loss. I was also sad to hear that your son lost his wife around the same time. Those are difficult losses. I lost my own beloved partner, Peter, to cancer six years ago. I do think it is important to keep living, and I know he would want me to be happy, but it is difficult sometimes.
I think gardening and canning have helped me, as well. It is good to have something positive to focus on. I found so much wisdom in your post that you wrote here. Connecting with others and serving others are positive ways to focus on being the best we can be. Wishing you the best during these turbulent times. May God Bless you and your family!
Gratitude is a great way to keep perspective! Whenever I get tired of cleaning house, doing laundry, and washing dishes I remind myself how lucky I am to have shelter, clothes, and food. I also remember to keep my attention on the things I can control rather than worrying about things I can’t control. Leaving social media has been helpful as well. I’ve been reconnecting with old friends via email and phone, for one.
In addition to watching/listening to uplifting things, I would caution to avoid things that bring one down. Don’t let other people’s dramas into your life. Do get involved with your community if that’s possible; this is healthier than watching depressing things on TV. I mind my mental health like the asset it is!
Hi Jayne, Your comment is a valuable addition to this article. I could not agree more! Even if we make a great effort to experience joy, doing things that bring us down every day will still result in the feeling of overwhelm and an empty cup. Sometimes, I like a little time to watch a movie, but I am quite careful about the content. I want to be well-informed, but I avoid consuming too much of the mainstream media news.
You said, “I mind my mental health like the asset it is!” I hope that this comment inspires many Frugalite readers to reflect on their own mental health and what they can do to protect it and support it on a daily basis. I know you are an accomplished gardener: I think this is wonderful that you are cultivating yourself in the same way. Thank you for taking the time to share with your fellow Frugalites!