Do you feel like things are finally calming down after the craziness of the holidays? I mentioned some of the things that got me down toward the end of the year in an earlier blog post—but these same things also reminded me how important it is to choose joy and to keep choosing it. Depression is a real thing, and people who are fighting it need all the support that they can get. Let’s do our part to promote joyful habits!

Of course, choosing JOY is easier said than done. But I’m sure there are ways to make sure choosing happiness becomes an easy, even habitual process. So I came up with a few ideas for moms to try, some of which will bring joy on their own, but others will make taking time and choosing joy much, much easier despite a busy schedule. Maybe we should try them together!

Schedule a monthly “me” day

Mommies wear so many hats and split our time between so many things—our families, partners, careers, household, hobbies, and more—that it’s all too easy to forget to make time for ourselves. Yet it’s super important that we recharge and re-inspire ourselves, all the better to face all those other things with minimum stress and maximum grace. So ideally, take an hour for yourself every day, or a few hours every week. But also make sure to take a full day at least once a month. And offer daddy the opportunity to do the same!

Insure for the future

One thing that drives me as a parent—but also occasionally is a stress inducer—is the idea of what my family do should we encounter difficult times. Or worse, if I’m not there to help them. So while you might not think it’s particularly “joyful” to dwell on those kinds of “what ifs,” if you put plans in place now to make sure your family is taken care of, no matter what, I think you’ll find it’s a burden off your shoulders. Don’t just look into insurance, but also into educational plans for your children and other investments for the future.

Work on a scrapbook or journal for your child

One thing every parent I know always mentions is how fast our kids grow up. So one great thing would be to take the time to document your child’s childhood. Compile photos, drawings, poems, greeting cards, and more into one collection. The process of journaling or scrapbooking for your child won’t just help you appreciate the memories more now and later, but it’ll be something special to gift them in the future.

Share a hobby with your child

Biking time with my little one!

Again, kids grow up so fast! So spend some quality time with them—and take the opportunity to help them find something to be passionate about—by taking up a hobby you can share. This can be anything from cooking and baking to arts and crafts to reading books to… well, whatever you want! For example, I think I’m having even more fun with and am more of a fan of Zeeka’s YouTube channel than she is, and I love that we are both vloggers of a sort!

Get involved with a parental network

There comes a time in parents’ lives when the biggest help they can get is from other parents. Whether that’s from creating a kiddie carpool, arranging playdates, getting yaya referrals, and more, your parenting network can be a godsend. And if you don’t have one yet, why not organize one with your mommy gal pals? Some things you might want to maintain include a phone tree (for those “walang pasok” alerts!), a baon round robin group (where one family is in charge of the day’s baon), “babysitting” duty swapping (for those “me” days you need monthly), and so on.

Have any other recommendations to promote joyful habits? Leave a comment to share, please! And if you try any of the above and have things work out for you, please share your story. I’d love to hear all about the ways you’re making room for happiness in your life.

Last year, I was on an emotional roller coaster. Some days were filled with joy and happiness and some days were just bad. In some days, I felt as if I were on top of the world, while on other days, I felt like quitting. I thought that being busy would make me NOT think about things, but it actually made things worst. My emotions rose and dipped at extreme levels.

Welcoming the New Year wasn’t easy for me either. This is the reason why this (first blog of the year) came in pretty late in January. By the way, I can’t believe that it’s almost the 15th of the month. Anyway, going back to my story, it wasn’t a “happy” new year for me. First of all, joy wasn’t in the air when I noticed that my blog was hacked by some random hacker. This made my host take down my blog for almost a month.

Next, the yaya that we had for almost 5 years just didn’t return after going on vacation. I was furious! It wasn’t so much that she was gone, but it was more of that she didn’t have the decency to tell us that she wasn’t coming back.

And then, the worst thing that happened, was that Zeeka got sick. It’s the worst feeling in the world for a parent to have to bring her kid to the emergency room (again — twice within a month) after having intermittent fever for 5 days. Oh myyy!

But then, that’s life right?

You might be wondering, “then why the heck is her one word JOY after having a few episodes of unfortunate and definitely, sad circumstances?”

I really thought about this for a long time. For the past few days, this sat as a draft in my blog. I wasn’t too sure about the word either, until…

Until one day, I listened to the blink on Blinkist of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s all Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. That’s when I realized that being happy or joyful is a choice that we need to make. And I also realized that the things that we deem to be urgent, important and life changing or threatening aren’t always such a big deal.

Maliit na bagay lang pala.

There are things that we don’t have control over. There are things that happen to us that we obviously didn’t wish for, but what we can control is how we react.

So, what I did FIRST was I analyzed why I felt the way that I felt. What I found out was that…

1) Hacking incident – I felt so sad that people would waste time hacking into other random sites of strangers. I was feeling that way because I didn’t know if we would be able to restore it (which we did! Yey!)

2) Yaya Incident – I felt furious because I hated adjusting again to a new rhythm and new way of doing things again, especially that I have a ton of things to do.

3) Zeeka’s sickness – I felt like I didn’t pay much attention to Zeeka last year and I felt like I wasn’t a good mom. That made me hate myself.

So there. I analysed why I was feeling this way, and it was because of things that I could actually control. So what if my blog was down? I could converse with my readers via social media. So what if I had to adjust to a new way of doing things again? It’s not as if I didn’t have new things and ideas every time. Haha! So what was the difference, really? So what if I failed last year at being a mom? I still have a lot of time fixing my mistakes and focusing more on Zeeka this year. Maybe this scenario of being yaya-less is actually a blessing!

So this is why I chose the word Joy. I need to find those little things that I can be grateful for. This word that I have chosen will constantly remind me that life is great. Living is great. Even with the many challenges that I face, I know that I’m strong and I know that I will make the most out of it.

Living a life with no regrets will bring Joy. Saying I have loved will bring Joy. Striving to be the best that I can be will make me happy. Picking myself up after failure will make me love life more.

How about you?

Are you happy? Is you life filled with Joy?