When the schools first shut, I immediately thought of our next door neighbours who have three very young kids and the challenge of keeping them entertained.
Feeling that early Coronavirus urge many people had to ‘do something’, I went through our attic and the recesses of my boys’ rooms to find any toys they had grown out of. Looking at the decent pile I’d accumulated, it occurred to me how much more fun it would be for them to get something each day rather than all in one go.
So early the next morning, I snuck out and crept down their driveway (having now agreed this with the parents!) and left some toys on the doorstep.
The photo is of the note I found waiting for me the next morning (now stuck on my fridge) which reads:
“Thank you for all the bord games and the toys we have loved plaing with them you are rilly kind. We also wanted to knoe who is doing this. So please write your name on the sine abeve. Thanks”.
Knowing I needed to call myself something, I wrote back the next day with my second delivery and the ‘Secret Toy Fairy’ was born.
So why am I sharing this?
Because I can honestly say that the excitement I felt when I first had the idea, the joy I experienced that first morning and the joy I continue to feel every time I plan and think about today’s ‘surprise’, is what’s lifted my mood the most through this time of anxiety and worry of the Covid crisis.
And it’s just about the simple joy of doing it. It makes me happy. Joyful. Distracted for a few minutes from all the unrelenting bad news by a little bit of magic and sparkle.
It’s genuinely been the favourite part of my day since this all started and my most positive Coronavirus memory by far.
The science behind it of course is that when we help others, we help ourselves.
But I’m not suggesting everyone suddenly rushes out and starts putting toys on doorsteps. The important thing is to find what brings YOU joy at the moment.
And this is not in any way to trivialise what is going on in the world. Quite the opposite. We all need joy now more than ever to help us in this challenging and uncertain time.
So where can you find or create your joy?
I have a coaching client who’s getting great joy from consciously having banter and craic with his teenagers who he would never normally have this kind of time with.
Another, who is in the quite intense environment of currently living in one house with her parents, her husband and other grown up siblings, is finding herself “having belly aching laughs” at times with her husband as they are “at work” across a kitchen table from each other.
Another, a self-confessed “non-gardener”, is finding himself getting huge and unexpected pleasure digging up the entire garden.
But please don’t feel under any pressure from anything you hear others doing (there’s enough pressure already). This is about finding what brings YOU joy. The things you enjoy doing for the simple pleasure of doing them.
It doesn’t matter if its jigsaws, learning the piano, sea swimming at dawn (within your 2km), sitting in the bath reading a book while your kids are in bed or creating a great Spotify playlist.
If it makes you feel good doing it, then I’d really encourage you to make it a priority.