Ask Abby: Finding your moments of joy in the monotony of the school year

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ABIGAIL PLUFF | OPINION COLUMNIST | apluff@butler.edu

Full disclosure: I am not a licensed therapist. Honestly, I am not licensed in anything whatsoever. I’m just a gal with lots of opinions who enjoys giving unsolicited advice to almost anyone around me. So, if this is adverse advice, you can’t sue me or my place of work. Sorry!

‘The monotony of the school week really impacts how many moments I actually feel happy. How can I get past ‘just fine’ and get to actually living?’ -Loyal Reader

It’s that time of the year again: I like to call it Oh-No Season. Every Oh-No Season, I have about a week-long terror fest about living life as a Real Adult with things that I have to do. Important things.

It’s not truly Oh-No Season without contemplating changing your major, almost doing it and finally thanking all your lucky stars that you didn’t — all within the span of a few days. Oh-No Season also must contain at least, but is not limited to, one hour-long cry. I don’t make the rules, I just regretfully enforce them.

My yearly crisis is always about the same thing: this can’t be it, right? Life can’t just be a wash-rinse-repeat cycle of doing things that you’re expected to do all day long, eating the same scrambled eggs for every meal and then sleeping for three solid hours a night. Do, munch, snore, repeat.

Right?

To combat this way of thinking, I’ve decided to stop letting my life be a cycle. Every time it starts to feel monotonous, I’ve made it my mission to slow down and restart. Sometimes, that means staring at the sky for a few minutes. Other times, that means entirely giving up whatever I’m doing and trying something new.

After you acknowledge that something made you smile, take that moment of joy and give it power. Don’t get so caught up in mindlessly jogging on the hamster wheel of life that you fail to see all the good that surrounds you. Allow the joy to brighten your day, and savor it.

To maximize your joy and minimize feeling beat-down by your boring routine, find what you like and do more of it. Whether that’s a spin class, a book series, or, in my case, just soaking in the sun — I wear sunscreen, I promise — make time to do what makes you feel joy.

To feel moments of joy in your daily life, you have to acknowledge the little things in which you feel true happiness. You can’t just Naruto-run past them on your way to class; you have to, y’know, stop and smell the flowers.

It prolongs the positive effects of good moments to talk about them! Tell your friends, your dog, your neighbor, your weird coworker. Reflect on happy things so they don’t just blend into the monotony.

Let them sink into you, and remember them for when you feel like life is too much

When you’re looking for joy, make sure you’re letting yourself feel in the first place. It can feel safe to box yourself off from emotion when you’re overwhelmed by the craziness of daily life, but you can’t feel happiness if you push it away.

Open yourself up to joy, and it will find you. And it will rock.

Prioritize yourself and what makes you feel good, and Oh-No Season won’t be able to get you down.

Life can be crazy and busy and boring, and adulthood can sometimes feel very ‘that’s all?’ But if you make room for and acknowledge the joy that finds you, everything will feel much more fulfilling.

You are valuable, valid and loved,

Abby

If you have a question that you’d like to see discussed in Ask Abby, feel free to contact me via email, carrier pigeon or telepathy. 

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