Sparking joy for your body can start small, like this sparkler

Spark joy with this 30 second quiz

Wouldn’t it be nice if we’d been taught to think of our bodies a little differently? Not as something separate from us that can fail us and let us down, but the thing we are. Wouldn’t it be easier to take care of ourselves in a way that amplifies our joy? If you’re a go-getter or a highly sensitive person, this is especially for you – because even though you know you have to take care of yourself, I’m guessing it gets pushed aside a little more often than it should. Here’s a little quiz to help you identify whether your body might be in need of a little more nurturing. Spark joy with this 30 second quiz.  

Spark Joy Quiz

All you need to do is count the number of times you say “yes.”

Do you identify as: 

  • A perfectionist
  • An achiever or overachiever
  • Someone with a lot of balls in the air
  • A people pleaser
  • A “yes” person
  • The one who always gets it done, no matter what

Do you ever:

  • Feel inexplicably tired at the end of the day
  • Feel like you’re wired or have to project more energy than you really have
  • Get less than 7 hours of sleep a night
  • Have a hard time falling asleep
  • Regularly eat on the go
  • Cycle on negative thoughts about the past
  • Worry a lot more than you’d like
  • Easily get overwhelmed
  • Live with (un)diagnosed anxiety or depression
  • Regularly push through your needs to finish everything 
  • Hear the word “self-care,” and think – what’s that?!

Now, how many times did you say yes?

Use Your Quiz Results to Spark Joy

If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, then your body is likely wearing out faster than you realize. Pause and let that sink in – this is important. You deserve only the best that life has to offer, and that includes a body that feels good all. the. time.

The good news is that awareness of these flags means that you have an amazing opportunity to slow down and course correct. Your body needs fuel to support your dreams. If you go go go without giving it rest when you’re tired, food when you’re hungry, hydration, mental space to relax or even be bored – then you are heading towards a crash that will slow you down sooo much more than you want. 

That’s what happened to me. As a mother with young children – or even before then as I held a day job and did grad school by night – I knew I was busy. Too busy. Yet, I was driving toward something I wanted and I didn’t pause even in moments when I knew in my heart it was too much. I knew I wanted the kind of joy and rest that was not part of my daily experience. So my body became a messenger I could not ignore. The path to a joyful, thriving body has been longer than it would have been, had I only listened to my heart before symptoms began. 

Maybe you’re in a similar place, with physical or emotional symptoms you can no longer ignore. Maybe you aren’t at that point but are doing some preemptive damage control. In either case, I give you so much respect for showing up to make a change. So many people don’t even make it that far. 

Let’s Get to It!

Like a fire that starts with small sparks, joy starts with small sparks, too. There’s nothing so good as taking a little inspiration and turning it into action. Do you feel ready to make some shifts that honor your heart? 

(Oh good – I knew you’d say yes. 🙂 

Today’s joy journey challenge is to pull out a journal, get comfy, and list out everything you juggle. Then make a list of all the places where your body could use a boost, such as drinking more water, exercise, quiet time, emotional support, etc. 

Now, looking through the list – can you identify one or two things that you could shift right now? Are there activities someone else could take on, or which don’t jive with your exact needs and you could give yourself permission to drop? Are there physical care items that you can begin to incorporate into your days?

Change happens incrementally, so your list isn’t meant to be answered with a “Shazaam!” and all is complete. Instead, use it as a tool to really see what is happening in your life, and how your body’s well-being might be pushed to the side in the process. Take one one or two items, and return to the list periodically when you feel ready to address one or two more. Your health will blossom as you pursue the changes that feel right to you.

I’m so glad you’re here. Your joy journey matters – you’ve got this, and I’ve got you. 

WIth so much love, your joy midwife, 


P.s. Let’s really get that motivation going – tell me in the comments – what have you decided to draw into your life to spark joy? Share it here and I just know you’re going to make it happen.

Woman surrounded by spring flowers. You can boost your mood, even with spring fever!

How to feel joyful when you’ve got spring fever

A flush of weather in the high 40s hit Wisconsin over the weekend, turning my mind to spring and the tulip and dwarf iris bulbs I planted last fall. They’re somewhere under the frozen layer of earth, brimming with bottled energy. I can feel it. Soon I’ll turn around and there they’ll be – a rainbow of colors gracing my yard, hopefully giving passers-by a reason to smile. What about you? Has spring fever hit? Today I’d like to offer you some easy-to-do tips that will spark feelings of well being, even as we wait for sunshine and flowers. 

Create joyful spaces

In a thoughtful and uplifting blog post called “7 emotional lessons for a more joyful life,” Ingrid Fettel Lee writes, “Because joy is small, it’s accessible. I might not know how to be happy on a particular day, but I know that I can find one or two moments of joy that I might not have had otherwise.” I love this idea. Some days, I’m not sure how to pull myself out of a funk but I do know that I can hold gratitude for a flash of color or a pretty bake brought to the office by a co-worker. Small moments that spark joy are everywhere, and they can be intentionally created. 

Ingrid’s words speak to the concept of joy-making that I recently stumbled upon in my own life. I never realized it before, but by the small act of placing something that evokes loving and joyful emotions, I can completely transform how I feel about a space.  Slowly, oh so slowly, I’ve been bringing me-things into my office. Plants and artwork and most recently, a framed photo of my daughter wearing a sweet, knit fox hat. That picture was the missing piece; it turned my office into a place I like spending time. Every time I look at her face, positive feelings fill my mind and body.

You can spark joy in any of your spaces, too. That all-black outfit could have some bright earrings or a scarf. A bright layer of paint or art could make the bathroom a space where you feel energized. Maybe scents or musical sounds from special pieces of your past could be brought into your present, ready to help you transform your mood. 

Make New Beliefs About Yourself

Here’s another inspiring bit of writing that can make the best of spring fever. It’s so full of love and hope for all of us – wisdom on how to follow our hearts to our joy. “How to Create Joy Today: 7 tips for a Happy Life,” by Sarah Maude over on the Tiny Buddha blog. It’s hard to pull just one quote from this, but I will say that the section on spring cleaning your belief system resonates. Sarah writes, “Many people believe they have to live with the cards they have been dealt, that life is tough, or if you want something you have to fight for it. Yet beliefs are only thoughts that we keep thinking. No belief is set in stone.” 

Isn’t that on point? We build beliefs because they seem to fit circumstances. Years later, those beliefs still whisper to us even if our spirits and lives are calling us to do and be and believe something totally different.

Personally, I straddle two worlds – a researcher by day, and a creative writer and singer by night, slowly forming community. I dream of more time to bake and play with new art forms; discovering parts of me that are waiting to be born. Through it all, I have started to wonder, what limiting beliefs are holding me back? What limiting beliefs might be preventing me from the fullness of who I could be and the experiences I could have?

Sarah challenges us to ask ourselves: “Where has this belief come from?” “What does this belief cost me on a daily basis?” “What would happen if I let go of this old belief?”

Sarah Maude on Tiny Buddha

Good thoughts to ponder as we wait for spring. I know that the longer days ahead will bring with them a boost in energy. Perhaps you and I will be prepared to use that energy to rewrite those limiting beliefs into something powerful and true. 

Love that body of yours

It’s a strange thing, isn’t it? How we consider our bodies separate from our selves, like a thing we own instead of the thing we are. The body is entwined with our moods and thoughts and beliefs. A healthy body can overcome a lot of spring fever blues. It becomes easier to think thoughts, create joy, and re-frame limiting beliefs. 

This Forbes article has some spot-on suggestions for beating the winter blues. Among them are exercising, eating healthy, sleeping well, making meaningful connections, and engaging in healthy activities like mediation. Also, don’t forget that supplements can make a difference. Vitamin D sits at the top of the list in this Mindbodygreen article. It’s key in supporting our immune systems and boosting our moods.

For all you post-partum mamas out there, keep in mind that a blood panel can help you figure out if your body needs extra support. Pregnancy takes a toll and a personal blood-panel can be the thing that kick-starts a path to wellness. Even women who had their babies years ago might still carry an imbalance from their pregnancy.  

Here comes the sun

Spring is coming, I promise! In the meantime, I hope the resources provided today give you some mood-boosting inspiration as you move through spring fever. And wherever you are, whatever you’re up to this week – know that I’m cheering for you. We are all blessed because you’re here on this planet, loving and living and shining light into the world as only you can. Stand tall, sister.

***If you liked this post, please share it to social media! The Love Your Mom Life 101 online course is about to launch. I’m grateful to all who help spread the word by sharing links to the blog or website! The course will teach moms how to quickly free up 2 hours per day so that they can enjoy their beautiful lives without stressing over their to-do lists. So thrilled to be launching this amazing resource!

Woman in striped dress walking down beach path

Clear out your closet for new dreams, more time, & self care

The funny thing about letting go of stuff is that you give a gift to yourself. Not only does the absence of something unwanted feel like a relief, but you create space for life to draw in more of what you do want. It’s a physical and spiritual act, this letting go. In the dance of motherhood, and career, and heart, and life, the spiritual side of me needs to be heard and honored more than ever. So this month, as the snow starts to fall in Milwaukee and as light dims earlier each day, I have decided to clear out my closet. It’s a deliberate act of making space for new dreams, and one of self care. The icing on the cake is that it will put more time in the day.   

Use your Closet to Make Space for New Dreams

Recently, I listened to a podcast by Ingrid Fetell Lee where her interviewee shared a story about clearing out unwanted clothes from her closet and not only did they she feel like she had more to wear, but she suddenly felt free enough to quit their job and try something new. That story totally resonates with me. There’s something freeing about removing the physical proof of our past – who we were and what was working for us then – in order to move into a space of who we are now and who we want to be. 

Who is it you want to be? This slice of life has caused new dreams to form in you. So why not send your signal into the universe (and to yourself) that you’re ready for them. Clean out that closet…then the dresser…then the forgotten boxes in the basement. Finally, release whatever else that’s filling your space and making you feel stuck. You are so free, if only you allow yourself to see it

Use Your Closet to Boost Self Care

You are a beautiful human being, you know that? Every inch of you. And getting dressed should be a fun way of celebrating yourself on the daily. However, if you’re like me, you have clothes you keep around because they’re functional, not because they make you feel beautiful or brighten the day. We all do it –  we keep things that look nice, but they show too much cleavage or don’t fit quite right or we convinced ourselves in the store that we can make it work, but never got around to actually making it work. Sometimes we keep stuff because a relative bought it. There are clothes kept for reasons we’ve long forgotten. 

Now imagine – how would it feel to have and wear only clothes that fit right and feel good? How would it feel to spend less time worrying about or adjusting what you’re wearing? Pretty good, right?!?

You deserve the kind of self care that comes without having to think about it. You deserve to wake up to a closet of only outfit options that you are excited to wear. 

Clear out your closet to save time

If drawing in new dreams and self care aren’t enough of a reason to clear out your closet, then perhaps this info will seal the deal: when you make repetitive motion by choosing or finding clothes, you are wasting your time. Think about it – how much time do you spend when you search through a drawer for a shirt two or three times before finding it? How much time do you spend just deciding what to wear? 

In the end, clothes can create a waste of time that really adds up. We blow by the fact that the problem could be fixed in the rush of getting ready to leave the house. And because it’s not addressed, it comes up day after day after day. You’re losing minutes without even realizing it.  I’m tellin’ ya – solving this problem will make mornings run a little faster.

Action Challenge

This month, I invite you to join me in a very loving and intentional act of letting go of clothes that no longer serve us. To help, Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up recommends that you:

  • Thank your “get rid of” clothes out loud. Thanking is a way to honor how they served you and send them on their journey with gratitude. 
  • Get rid of anything you keep out of a sense of obligation, functionality, or guilt. You have permission.
  • Keep what sparks joy (I love this one!)

I also came across this Apartment Therapy blog post by Arlyn Hernandez, which has a quick-hits list of stuff to toss like those shoes that always hurt, old bridesmaid dresses, and things that you kept last time you cleaned out your closet but haven’t worn.

I hope you enjoy yourself as you clear out your closet to make space for new dreams, more time, and self care. Turn on some tunes. Sip some wine. Enjoy the memories your clothes bring up, even as you thank them and say “yes!” to whatever’s ahead. 

***I’m curious, what dream are you ready to draw into your life? Let me know in the comments! May our lovin’ energy inspire and lift each other up. Thanks for reading, thanks for sharing, thanks for being you. go mama!