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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!