Embrace joy!

What brings you joy? Is it achieving a major milestone in life or your work? Is it time with your family? Is it your pet or going to your favourite get-away spot … with your pet? Is it getting that phone call from the other side of the world and hearing the voice of someone dear to you?

Joy can sometimes be difficult to pin down. It’s like happiness, but a little more than that.

Think about the last time you had a hearty belly laugh. Hold that thought! Now think about the feeling that washed over you and the effervescence that bubbled up inside you, like popping the cap on a cold soda that you accidentally shook up. That’s a bit what joy is like.

In the past year, you may have navigated many difficulties, setbacks, and curveballs. You may have experienced a major life transition or an unwelcome health diagnosis; lost a job, a friend, a co-worker, a neighbour, or a family member; and you may have begun 2024 with a heavy load of grief and stress. Add to that the ongoing wars in the Middle East, Ukraine, and Sudan, and other conflicts raging across the world, with nonstop news broadcasts providing a minute-by-minute flood of information featuring all the bloody, painful, distressing details, and you may be having a tough time embracing joy right now. 

I invite you to ponder a few reasons to not write off joy this year, which I hope will help you.

Celebrate resilience

You are still here! You are alive! You got up, you bounced back from failure or setbacks, you didn’t quit, you kept going — and for that you need to celebrate and tap into the joy that comes with it. You are resilient, my friend, so celebrate! Savour it. Pause, reflect, and allow yourself to feel. 

The act of celebration has a way of unlocking the joy valve. How you decide to celebrate is totally up to you. I like to celebrate by sharing my successes and stories of resilience with family and friends. I enjoy a great dinner date or a party, a chance to gather with others to commemorate these moments. Other times, I quietly reflect in my journal. Choose what works best for you. Give yourself some credit and some self-compassion.


As a successful woman, you may find rest is sometimes elusive. However, you can’t go far or for very long if you don’t seriously unplug and disconnect for a while. Be intentional about rest. Sit or lie in a quiet place where all you hear are your thoughts and heartbeat. Take a nap. Watch a movie. Have a no-technology day. Or go for a walk outside by yourself and enjoy some much-needed alone time.

Let go of guilt

Don’t feel guilty about feeling joy. When you look around and see others suffering in your community and across the world, you may feel guilty about feeling joy or about enjoying life. But joy is an emotion no lesser than another — though at times it may feel either evasive or invasive. Let go of the guilt! You deserve to feel and experience deep joy.

I encourage you to embrace joy — when you see it in others and when you feel it in yourself, lean into joy. Not choosing joy is to deny yourself from fully and truly living. To choose not to live fully is not helpful to others, nor does it provide relief for others. The opposite is true: when we choose to live fully, experiencing the full breadth of our emotions, we become more authentic human beings and better able to advocate and speak for others.


The honest talk