How often in your daily life do you get to experience Joy?
I’ve been thinking about this concept lately; the Joy Ratio.
The Joy Ratio is a mathematical assessment of your general life happiness level.
It is the ratio of minutes of joy that you get to experience per day versus the minutes spent doing performative adult tasks.
Doing the laundry, working your required hours of work per day, and stopping at red lights in your car all count as performative adult tasks.
Now think about it. Realllly think about it.
Do the math in your head for your own personal life. What is your Joy Ratio?
I was trying to compute mine last night and this is what I came up with.
Playing with Sadie after work brings me joy. Playing with my dog gives me joy. Ryan works away, so any minute that he is home and I get to be around him counts as joy. Long, hot showers after Sadie goes to bed bring me joy. Eating yummy food brings me joy. And on a daily level, that’s about it.
There are things during my workday that bring me joy, like my amazing coworkers, or a kind email from someone I’ve helped, or a lunch break spent trading life stories with my work wife, Tammy. Those moments count too.
There are awesome, wonderful pockets of joy that we get to create on weekends, and those count A Lot. Camping is 48 hours of Pure joy. The sister sleepover I just had in Banff was pure joy. Catching up with an old friend on a Sunday is pure joy.
But I was mostly thinking about the Joy Ratio as it applies to the work week, and when I got to thinking about it, I wondered how many people might feel like I do.
And how do we all just put up with the system if SO many of us must feel this way?
Song lyrics like ‘everybody’s working for the weekend’ and ‘it’s just another manic Monday’ exist for a reason.
It is because there is So Little Joy in our daily lives that everybody is just waiting for the weekend. Can’t we do better than that??
Spain gets it. Spain knows that the Joy Ratio has everything to do with increased productivity, employee retention, less sick time, and less days off due to stress/mental health concerns. According to businessculture.org, Spain has 14 public holidays each year AND employees are normally entitled to 30 calendar days of paid holiday each year.
A typical Spanish working day tends to be from around 8:30 a.m. or 9 a.m. to around 1:30 p.m. and then from 4:30 p.m. or 5 p.m. to around 8 p.m., with the time in between shifts for siesta.
“Siesta is a mid-afternoon break, usually around three hours, which gives employees a break from work during the intense midday heat. Most people tend to go home for lunch, spend time with their family or relax during this time.” (https://businessculture.org/southern-europe/business-culture-in-spain/work-life-balance-in-spain/)
Doesn’t that sound beautiful? The words ‘relax’ and ‘family’ woven into your everyday work life, and at Least 44 paid days off per year, with the possibility of even more paid days off per year based on your contract and tenure?
The law also ensures there is a minimum of twelve hours rest between working days and that employees cannot work more than eighty hours of overtime in a single year unless there is a collective agreement in place.
More so than the benefits to the individual- imagine an entire Culture where everyone values the words ‘family’ and ‘relax’ and ‘holiday’ over the words ‘productivity’ and ‘overtime’ and ‘success’.
So- back to my Joy Ratio. Here’s the breakdown:
I wake up. I get myself dressed and ready. I get Sadie dressed and ready.
I drop her off at dayhome. I go to work.
Let’s give me one hour of cumulative joy at work on any given day.
I pick up Sadie. We go home. I cook, walk the dog, clean the kitchen, do laundry, feed myself and the small human.
Somewhere in there, there are some pockets of joy and laughter. Let’s give it 30 minutes.
I give Sadie a bath. Sometimes I crawl in with her and we fill it with bubbles and splash splash Splaaaash. Let’s give that 15 minutes of joy.
I get her dressed and sing her songs and snuggle her. 10 minutes.
Then I get our lunches ready for tomorrow, clean the kitchen, do some more laundry.
If Ryan’s home, we get to watch a show together and talk about our days. 30 minutes of joy.
Then it’s bedtime.
So in a day where I’ve woken up at 6:00 a.m., I’ve had a total of 145 minutes of joy by 9:00 p.m.
That’s my Joy Ratio, and that’s on a best-case scenario day when Ryan is home, work was easy, and Sadie is happy. 16% joy.
I think that’s insufficient for optimal human health.
I think we as a society can do better. Must do better.
I think I can do better.
I want to find more pockets of joy in my day. I want to create them.
I want to make space for working out. I miss yoga. I miss running. I miss the gym.
I want to make space for creativity. I want to take more pictures. Write more blog posts.
I want your help- how do YOU create joy in your daily life?
What brings YOU joy? I want to hear it! I need all the inspiration I can get right now.
I’ve been leaning a little too heavily on the ‘yummy food makes me happy’ joy-grab lately, and I need some better ideas.