Parenting Win of the Week: Snacking on Joy

It's the little things that make us happy — and make a huge difference.

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Photo by: Camille Tokerud

Camille Tokerud

I recently read an article about snacking on joy to lead a happier life. Now, this wasn't talking about snacking (although the Trader Joe’s holiday stuff, charcuterie plates, and cookies DO bring me joy), but rather appreciating the somewhat mundane things that bring us joy throughout the day.

Things like the morning cup of coffee, calling a friend, and watching your favorite show can all bring great joy.

I think that around the holidays, we all get lost in trying to do the biggest things to spark joy. School functions, decorating for the holidays, hosting large gatherings. Although those things can be incredible and spark joy in their own right, when we are constantly going for the big, we often miss the little.

This time of year can be really daunting with negatives, too. Maybe it's difficult family relations or loss, the pressure of meeting unattainable work goals, or the difficulties of the recession. Looming stress and negativity can often be the thief of these small joys too, albeit difficult to pack away.

If we focus on joy snacking — just finding little bits of joy in the midst of chaos — the article says we should be able to find more overall gratitude for the little things.

I think this is something I want to try with my kids as well, especially as December becomes a big gift-giving month (and for my youngest, that’s fresh off a birthday month). I am not sure what it looks like yet, but maybe it’s our return to Roses and Thorns (where we say two good things and one bad thing from our day) or maybe it’s having days where we each get to pick a little thing to do that makes us happy and share with the family.

The article also talks a lot about finding joy in nature, which I am a pro at in the spring, summer and fall — but in the winter, well let’s just say I’d rather be inside. I think finding moments to bundle up and take in the fresh air are important. After all, my kids are great at that and I should be too.

I am sure that I will get wrapped up in the holiday hoopla, but the sentiment of joy snacking is one that I want to keep top of mind as we move through this time of year. What are your joy snacks?

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