The Introduction of Project OverFlo.

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There is silence. There is suffocating silence that seems to take over when many are in need. Perhaps they choose not to tell you or maybe it is hidden as taboo or maybe we are blind to it. According to Data USA, in Rhode Island, 13% of the population lives beneath the poverty line. The largest demographic in this group are females between 25-35, next are females ages 18-24, and then males ages 25-34. There are some other pivotal issues hidden in plain sight including human-trafficking and domestic violence. There is no simple solution to these issues, however, this does not mean we cannot strive to help.

Project OverFlo. is an empowerment project focused on the wellbeing of the community by collecting feminine hygiene products for both impoverished and previously human-trafficked women. Project OverFlo.’s goal is to educate the community about homelessness, human-trafficking, violence, and puberty through workshops that will be held in October and November. The inspiration for this project came from Bustle’s documentary “How do Homeless Women Cope With Their Periods?”. In the midst of my own bad periods, I realized that “Wow, someone else is going through similar surprises and the cramps.” The next questions were, “How can I help?” and “Where do I start?” With that being said, I partnered up with two amazing ladies and got to work.

The motivation to continue this work comes from the Bible’s message found in John 7: 37-38: “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water (New King James Version).’” We believe in putting our faith into action by helping those in need, knowing that within us is the capacity and the Spirit to help and inspire our community.

Below are the workshop dates, times and names:

Saturday, October 7th - 9am to 12 pm - Grand Kick-off
Saturday, October 14th - 9am to 12 pm - Domestic Violence and Prevention
Saturday, October 21st - 9am to 12 pm - Women’s Health
Saturday, November 4th - 9am to 12 pm - Empowerment Day

All events will be held at Ebenezer Baptist Church at 475 Cranston St, Providence, RI 02907. Donations will be accepted at the events. We will be accepting menstrual pads, tampons, panty liners, period underwear, menstrual cups, etc. Donations will be made to the Providence Rescue Mission and Sojourner House’s Trafficking Housing Empowerment Immigration Advocacy Project (THEIA). If you have any questions or you are interested in volunteering or donating please write to our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/projectoverflo/ or call Kou T. Nyan at 401-626-8256. We are excited to have you all there!

Kou T. Nyan is the founder of Project OverFlo. She is also a writing content creator who loves words so much she has her own blog called Forever A Student; forever a teacher. Check it out at https://beginningwiththeword.wordpress.com.

Lucky For You, You’re What We Like

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In search of the perfect dress for my first big fundraising event, I was desperate to find something that would magically transform me into what I thought an effortlessly badass PR woman would look like. What would she wear? And how did I find the right dress to become her?

“What about this one? It’s kinda edgy, right?” I was trying on dresses with one of my best friends, and was eager to know what she thought of my latest selection.

Her face twisted and she reluctantly offered, “Well, yeah, but… it’s not… you.”

I was used to faking it to make it. When I observed women on various leadership panels or at networking events, I found myself studying their clothes, their demeanor, and their speech…

But that can be dangerous.

From the time you’re in kindergarten, you’re told to BE YOURSELF. But in a world where personal branding is so important and everyone is eager to differentiate themselves, how exactly are you supposed to do that?

HERE ARE THREE KEYS TO BUILDING A CONSISTENT AND AUTHENTIC BRAND:

#1 Don’t be afraid to rock the boat.

In an effort to win more customers, clients, or followers, we sometimes try to cater to everyone. But a safe, all-encompassing message or brand that everyone likes is not only boring, it holds no value.

When you take a firm position, one of three things could happen:

a.     Increased loyalty among those who share your viewpoint and appreciate your perspective.

b.     Some in your audience disagree with you, but remain engaged because they respect your (thoughtfully crafted, confidently presented) opinion.

c.     People disengage, which is fine because not every client, partnership, or follower is meant to be maintained). You’ll avoid wasting time and other investments on connections that are not a good fit.

#2 Watch your mouth.

Whether you are negotiating, tweeting, selling, or networking, use language that reflects your real personality.

Avoid using words or phrases that you would not use in real life. If your target audience is a younger crowd, don’t use “lit” to try to connect with them if it’s not a word you would normally incorporate in conversation. Even worse, it’s obvious that you’re trying – and there is no bigger turn-off then the stench of desperation. Working to communicate your professionalism and expertise? Avoid using words simply to impress clients, because that can be equally unappealing. Ironically, it could also expose you as a novice and paint you as unexperienced.

Before working in public relations, I was the chair of the English department at a local high school. I was promoted to the position at the ripe age of 24, eager and determined. But I spent my first department meeting PROVING that I belonged there (using so much education jargon that my head was spinning), and I failed to let my true self shine through. I spent months getting comfortable with my own style, and eventually garnered enough confidence to be myself. Whether I was speaking with students or principals, I used language that was appropriate, yet natural. It earned me even more credibility and respect, and I wish I’d done it sooner.

Know your audience. Know yourself. And speak accordingly.

#3 Offer only what you value.

Writing a blog or newsletter? Crafting a speech for a conference? Imagine yourself as an audience member and assess what it is your care about. If you were reading that newsletter or listening to that speech, what would you be looking to take from the experience?

I recently began thrifting and reselling vintage jewelry for fun. I only invest in the pieces that make me swoon, instead of offering items that I think others will like. At one point, I questioned whether or not I was limiting myself by only selling what I like. But at my first weekend market, several people made remarks about me having a “good eye” or liking my “style”.  

Pursue the things you care about. When you do, the connections you’re building and the business you’re getting become more meaningful.

It also makes your brand more memorable.

When working to express an authentic brand, resist the temptation to copy what other women are doing. Admire them, take notes, and follow their advice—yes.

But remember that the strongest, most unique brands emerge from authenticity.

Be yourself. Chances are, we’ll like it.

Style is Self Expression

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Once upon a time, my favorite item of clothing was an old sweatshirt my dad wore when he was in his 20’s. I loved that it had the name of the town I was from on it, that it was from my dad, and mostly because it was comfortable and hid my body. I never thought much about fashion or personal style for most of my life because I was either trying to find ways to hide my body or I was too busy to care about what my body had on it.

Looking back at almost every picture of myself, from high school all the way through to grad school, I was in almost the exact same look – a pair of way too big jeans, a cami tank, and a hoodie. I guess it shouldn’t be that surprising that this lack of style followed me into adulthood and my career, and it doesn’t help that I work in a field that can enable this type of dressing – technology. So, for a long time, I was able to continue to wear what my friends and family lovingly dubbed “the Katie uniform.”

Before recently I wasn’t really sure where my lack of style came from. Did I think that clothes were superficial? Maybe. Did I lack the self-confidence to think that I could look good? Probably. Did I just have no clue where to start with dressing myself? Definitely. Was I (and maybe still am a little) viewing myself as not worthy of nothing more than a disposable wardrobe? Absolutely. But after really thinking about it, what I failed to see before is that style and fashion is a form of self-expression, an outward reflection of what’s beneath.

While doing some research on this topic, I read an article on the website Ignant by Charmaine Li that struck me: “When it comes to other forms of self-expression, such as painting, writing or dancing it’s readily accepted that the more you care, the more likely you are to fall into a path of personal exploration. So what is it about dressing the body—another form of self-expression—that makes it different?” This statement sums up how I now feel about fashion and dressing myself. That style is not some frivolous endeavor but instead an outward celebration of art, a way to celebrate the beautiful uniqueness of my own form.

So maybe now you’re wondering how I went from someone who at one time owned more than 20 (yes 20!) hoodie sweatshirts to someone who believes that fashion is a visual manifestation of where one stands and an important conduit to inventing or reinventing oneself? I met someone. A couple of years ago I met my friend Kristina and she has made a huge impact on how I now view style. It should be no surprise that she’s an artist. Her striking and colorful paintings hang on the walls of her home. She listens to jazz music and loves the soulfulness of New Orleans. She is ethereal with the kind of effortless style that looks together but not too together all at once. Kristina was the first person who told me to invest in good quality shoes and that I could pull off wearing bright red lipstick. She’s helped me think about my shopping habits, my addiction to cheap and easy buys, the emotions behind what I wear. But the most valuable thing I’ve learned from Kristina is that fashion and style is and should be about reflection and expression.

My journey the last couple of years has been more emotional than I expected. I realize now that I wasn’t expressing myself very well and I certainly wasn’t feeling like myself. In fact, I think I was afraid. It took a while to sort through different looks, materials, colors, etc. to figure out what made me feel like I was bringing the best version of myself out. I’m still a work in progress, and I’m still figuring out who I am and what my personal style is, but that’s ok. I know that the clothes I wear are reflective of the point I am at in my journey and will always make me feel like a beautiful piece of art. And art is undeniably conducive to happiness.

How I Found My Creative Outlet (And How You Can, Too)

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When I was in high school I fell into a group of friends who were all very artsy; they were incredible singers, passionate musicians, and talented painters. I went looking for a form of creative expression for myself, and so began a really, really frustrating journey.

A lot of my friends were in theater. I was (am) way too introverted and anxious to perform on stage, so I joined the tech crew. Cleaning up the stage and building sets was definitely not my jam. Then I tried joining my singer friends in choir. The purple polyester robes were ugly and itchy, and my singing voice is mediocre at best (though I did stick it out long enough to take the yearly field trip to DC). Finally, a friend of mine brought me to New Urban Arts, an after school arts program right across the street from our school, and I fell in love with the dark room.

Maybe I didn’t have the natural talent of my friends who could draw or paint or sing. I definitely didn’t have the patience or will to put in the time in to get good at any of those things ‒ I didn’t want it that bad. But I am extremely observant. My parents and teachers have told me this since I was a kid. I notice a lot of things that most people don’t, and photography helped me show others what I saw.

I learned about both sides of photography at NUA: the artsy part where you capture the perfect moments at just the right time, work with and manipulate your light, and interpret everyday ordinary things into something special, and the technical side from f stops and shutter speed to proper darkroom procedures and chemical usage. I was putting my natural talent of being ultra attentive to work while also learning new skills that helped me express myself.

My main form of creative expression now is writing, but photography is still a hobby and will always be my first art love. Nothing beats the feeling of holding a hefty DSLR camera in my hands, hearing the shutter go off, seeing the crisp image pop up on the little screen. With writing, as with photography, I am able to translate the quiet, hidden moments I see with the rest of the world, who may have otherwise missed it. 

Finding a way to creatively express yourself might not be so obvious for you, as it was for me, but I promise it’s there. It might take some trial and error, and you might have to think beyond the typical ideas of what art or creativity actually is, but everyone has something special and beautiful inside their brain. Don’t keep that all to yourself.

Expressing Grief

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You can erase ink. You can wash out hair dye. You can even paint over the colors on your walls. But you know what you can never erase: an emotional memory.

Despite knowing that, our culture has determined that in order to properly express grief and loss, we must seek closure and “get over it.”

A simple Google search of “expressing grief” will give you results about the stages and steps of “getting over” loss. As if when your heart is shattered into a million pieces on the floor, you should simply look around, assess the damage, and take a few carefully planned and proven steps toward “getting over it,” never looking back.

Expressing grief is not a process.
Expressing grief does not have finality.
Expressing grief isn’t something to “get over.”

Expressing grief is different for you and it will be different for me each and every time I find myself faced with loss… because every emotional memory leaves a different memory every time.

My grandfather passed away on August 20th. He was so sick. He couldn’t fight the cancer anymore. I was sitting with the sun on my face at the beach when he took his final breath. I didn’t cry. A boulder landed inside of my chest and I thought, “I need to hold it together. I need to keep myself strong until I am alone. I need to remain steadfast until I can get my mother through this.”

As a result, those closest to me struggled to understand my grieving process in the days that followed. In fact, many didn’t understand whether or not I was even grieving. “You seemed fine until just now,” they told me, two days later when I had a breakdown. What do you mean? Of course I’m not fine. I just lost my grandfather.

The way we express grief is not formulaic, though we wish it was.

I cried in the shower, but not in front of my loved ones. So therefore, how could they know I was grieving? I cried all the way from Providence to Long Island but quickly put a smile on when I walked into my parents’ backyard on Tuesday afternoon. So therefore, how should anyone know I was in pain?

Photos, flowers, food, hair, makeup, ironing ties… those were the things I told myself I needed to do. That was how I was going to express my grief - by being the best daughter, sister and granddaughter I could to everyone who needed me.

The way we express grief is not routine, though society would like us to think it is.

The thing about emotions and loss is that they are triggered throughout our lives. They are a song. A voice in your head. A birthday. A holiday. A joke. A story. They are a Saturday ritual phone call that you’ll never have again. They are the familiar voice and the first person who ever really helped you understand your anxiety.

Expressing grief will never be about getting over those things. You can’t get closure on emotions. You can’t get closure on memories. But you can learn how to respond to the memory and express something less painful.

Right now, my heart is broken thinking about the fact that I’ll never again be able to pick up a phone call on a Saturday and hear “Theresa, it’s your grandfather.” But next Saturday, I’m going to make damn sure I don’t sit in my car crying the way I did last Saturday, and instead call my mom, or think about a funny story my grandpa told me.

What will you do when those emotional memories are triggered? How will you express your feelings, how will you express yourself?

What Cooking Allows Me To Express 

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For me, cooking has always been the ultimate form of expression. It is such a simple act, and yet, it can convey so much. Everything from the foods we choose to prepare to the people we prepare them for says a lot about who we are. Some of my earliest memories involve food. My current cooking habits have been influenced by those memories, but they have also evolved as I have aged.

One of the most obvious things that a cook can express through the foods they choose to prepare is a passion for their culture, heritage, or history. Within a mile of my house in Providence, I have access to more cuisines than I had ever experienced in the first two decades of my life in Virginia. And I have yet to encounter a person who owns one of these restaurants or who prepares the food for them that doesn’t have a story to go along with most, if not all, of their dishes. Most of them are eager to share these stories with their customers, and upon learning the history of the food I am eating, I feel transported and find that I love the food even more than before. 

For me, cooking is, first and foremost, an expression of love. This belief is deeply rooted in my memories of my parents preparing meals for me when I was too young to do so myself. It goes back to those days where I would come home sick and someone would place a bowl of chicken noodle soup in front of me, or how I would always be given my favorite meal on my birthday, or those special holiday dinners. Because I associate cooking so strongly with love, it is always the first thing I feel I should do for a friend, coworker, or neighbor who is experiencing some kind of hardship. I don’t think the gesture has to be huge to be impactful; a batch of homemade soup or freshly baked cookies could be all it takes to turn someone’s day around. I will never forget one of my work friends who brought me a cup of tea while I was working a long day with a cold! It wasn’t so much the warm beverage that got me through the day as the knowledge that she cared.  

As I said before, my cooking habits have evolved as I’ve gotten older. When I cook, it will always be an expression of love at its core. Maybe it’s because of that core that I have grown to hate cooking out of obligation. I hate thinking of cooking as a chore because it takes away from the joy I once associated with it. And while we’re on the subject, I also hate that it is a chore that is, more often than not, still associated with women. The diehard feminist in me balks at the idea of cooking for that reason. Maybe it’s because, in those early memories I described, it was never my dad doing the cooking. It was my mom, and honestly, she did not love cooking, likely because she had to do it. My mother always had dinner ready and waiting for my dad when he got home from work; I don’t feel the need to do the same for my boyfriend/possible future husband. My priority is, instead, creating an egalitarian household in which the chores are split as equally as possible. We have room for improvement, but he is beginning to understand that when I cook, or don’t cook, as the case sometimes is, it is an expression of my feminist values and desire for a balanced relationship.

On that note, I have to say that I no longer eat a lot of the foods that my mother prepared for me as a child, despite my loving memories of them. I feel like that’s true for a lot of people my age since we are learning as we get older that a lot of the foods we grew up on in the 80’s and 90’s weren’t super healthy for us. One of my favorite lunches as a kid was a bowl of instant ramen noodles and a grilled cheese (on white bread from the super market with a slice of American cheese, no less!), and I can’t even remember the last time I ate those foods. The reason these foods no longer have a place in my diet is because I can now cook a variety of healthy versions rather than relying on corporations to do so for me. For me, cooking has become a way to take control of what goes into my body and express the desire to reclaim my health.

Cooking my own meals also allows me to express my values as an environmentalist. I did not know a single vegetarian or vegan while I was growing up. I didn’t even know anyone who was all that concerned about eating local. It just wasn’t something people seemed to worry about back then. A lot of the food choices I make these days are with those values in mind. I will admit that I have a very long way to go before I can consider myself either a vegetarian or a vegan, and I’m not even quite sure that’s what I want my end goal to be. However, I am being more conscious about the foods I eat and purchase. Locally sourced and organic foods are very important to me, and I feel like I am making a powerful statement by consuming them. 

No matter what personality changes occur throughout my lifetime, who I am will always be rooted in my love of cooking and my love for the people I cook for. That feeling is universal, reflected in the pride people feel when they present a dish to their dinner guests. I will always see cooking as a powerful way to celebrate my past and express my evolving values.

Letter From The Editor // Expression

Recently I was asked what is my favorite part of being the editor of The Lady Project Blog. I like giving women a forum to use their voice and speak their truth. To me, The Lady Project is special because we ask women to show up as they are and we celebrate their voices as they are. From the recent college graduate trying to find her way to the woman in her 30s who just quit her job to make her side hustle her full-time career to the woman in her 60s who is retiring and is starting a new chapter of her life and wants to make new friends. We all have a story to share and they are all worth listening to. 

Sometimes when I get submissions, I get a follow-up message saying that they were happy I posted their article and they’re happy I liked it. Thankfully I have yet to get a submission that I don’t like but honestly, it doesn’t matter if I like it or not. This is their story. This is their journey. And I will give them that platform to share it and express themselves. 

Even though I am a photographer, I still struggle with expressing myself through art. From what I have been told, I am extremely good at expressing other people through my photography. I’ve been told that my portraits of people feel alive, that their personalities exude from the photo. Other people are better expressing my photography than I am. It’s almost hard to listen to. Not that I don’t like listening to compliments. I love compliments. But don’t ask me to repeat any of them about my work. I can’t remember them. It feels like there is a block in my brain that is preventing me remembering. I can tell you what you said three years ago word for word but I can’t remember a compliment I got about my work that was said to me last night. Maybe somewhere in me, I don’t think of my photography as a form of self-expression and more of a job. 

I express myself best through teaching, activism, and advocating for others. There was a time when I didn’t know my worth and felt like my voice didn’t matter. Now I know my voice carries and people are listening. I have a way with words. I am by no means a great writer or public speaker but I know how to get people to listen and to act. That brings me the most joy. That makes me feel my expressing myself is inspiring others to do the same.

Self-expression for women is vital for our mental health. Be it through art, dance, writing, personal style, or whatever speaks to you. Let’s be honest. We can bottle in our emotions for the benefit of someone else. That’s not going to fly any longer. Get it out. Follow along this month to see how Lady Project members express themselves. I'll leave you with Madonna’s Express Yourself because why not? Have a dance party at your desk.

Warmly,
Brittanny Taylor
Editor-in-chief

A Quick Wrap Up Of Joy // How You Can Help Houston

Image via GlobalGiving

Image via GlobalGiving

It's hard to be joyful when there is so much suffering in this world, in our country, and in our own backyard. I'd like to dedicate this post to ways you can help the people of Houston right now.

What everyone can do: Share links to reputable organizations

Not everyone may have the funds to donate but you can absolutely share links to organizations that are directly helping the people affected by Hurricane Harvey. You never know who may come across that link and will donate because you took the time to share it.

What many can do: Donate money or items

If you do have the funds to donate, there are numerous organizations that are directly helping the people who need it. Refer to the links listed at the end of this post.

What some can do: Go and help

If you are near Houston and are capable of helping, please do. Volunteer with organizations on the ground helping people in need. If you are on dry land, take people in. If you have boats or jet skis, help people evacuate their homes. And of course, don't forget about the pets.

Here are reliable relief efforts helping the people of Houston.

The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund of Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, which is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

Houston Food Bank and the Food Bank of Corpus Christi are asking for donations.

The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center is reporting a critical shortage, and has extended hours at all of its San Antonio-area donor rooms. To donate, call 210-731-5590 or visit their website for more information.

Carter BloodCare covers hospitals in North, Central and East Texas. To donate, call 877-571-1000 or text DONATE4LIFE to 444-999.

To help animals suffering from the disaster, visit the Houston Humane Society or the San Antonio Humane Society. The Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has set up an animal emergency response hotline (713-861-3010) and is accepting donations on its website.

The Texas Diaper Bank in San Antonio is asking for diapers and wipes, which can be dropped off in person or mailed to 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, Tex., 78238.

The United Way of Greater Houston flood relief fund will be used to help with immediate needs as well as long-term services like minor home repair. Visit their website to donate or text UWFLOOD to 41444.

The L.G.B.T.Q. Disaster Relief Fund will be used to help people “rebuild their lives through counseling, case management, direct assistance with shelf stable food, furniture, housing and more.” It is managed by The Montrose Center, Houston’s longtime community center for the area’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population.

For more options, the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends checking with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster for a list of trusted disaster-relief organizations in Texas.

Links sourced by The New York Times.

The Black Women’s Defense League is a Dallas-based organization that is working with Houston activists to determine what underserved communities need. Click here for a list of supplies that can be donated; head here to donate money.

RAICES, a Texas-based nonprofit legal advocacy group, has been working with Texas shelters to find housing for woman and children stranded by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after being released from detention centers. To send clothing, toys and toiletries to these woman and children, mail boxes to the Collins Garden Library in San Antonio.

ICNA Relief, also known as Muslims for Humanity, is a nonprofit that has committed aid to residents of Southern Texas after the devastation of Harvey.

BlackAmericaWeb.com Relief Fund benefits individuals and families who are victims of publicly declared disasters. Tom Joyner founded it following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and he has donated $20,000 to it in the wake of Harvey.

Living Hope Wheelchair Association serves populations with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities, and the bulk of their members are immigrants and low-wage workers. The organization has also been conducting direct rescues since the hurricane made landfall.

SHAPE Community Center says its organization aims to “improve the quality of life for people of African descent (all people) through programs and activities, with emphasis on unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.” Since the storm made landfall in Texas, it has mobilized to help the people of Houston stay safe and find shelter.

South Texas Human Rights Center is committed to keeping immigrant families intact and preventing migrant deaths along the Texas-Mexico border through community initiatives. The border—and those living on it—were in the direct path of Hurricane Harvey.

The Way Home works to end homelessness in Houston, Harris County and Fort Bend County. It has partnered with a network of area shelters to achieve this. Donate directly to The Way Home or to its partners.

The Transgender Foundation of America has created a relief fund in the Houston-area for trans and intersex people, two groups who are often turned away from shelters during disasters.

Portlight assists people with disabilities who have medical needs or require shelter as a result of Hurricane Harvey.  

The Homeless Period Project of Austin distributes tampons, pads and other period-related items to those displaced by the storm.

Links sourced by Colorlines.

Lady Project Summer Gift Guide 2017 // Tips From A Wedding Photographer

Searching for a wedding photographer? On page 22 of the 2017 Lady Project Summer Guide, Jen Brister of Story and Gold has the best tips + tricks for finding the right photographer for you. 

(Re)Discovering Joy at Work

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Do what you love. Love what you do.

That’s the advice people get when it comes to finding meaningful work. But, what happens when you don’t quite love your job? What if you’re stuck in a position you’re not passionate about? Or, maybe you do love what you do, but the negative work environment and interpersonal relationships feel toxic.

The average American employee works over two thousand hours a year. There’s no need to waste those hours wishing you were somewhere else. According to multiple recent studies, job satisfaction rates have been high in the past few years, and if you’re not feeling highly satisfied, it’s time you find more joy at work.

Don’t Put Up Walls

When you’re unhappy at work, one of the easiest things to do is retreat. Maybe you don’t trust your colleagues. Maybe you’re just cautious or feel uncomfortable being vulnerable. How can joy get in when you’re so walled off? There are many ways to reach out to colleagues and develop relationships, but if you’re feeling anxious, start small. Say hello to people you don’t often speak with. Bring in mini muffins to share in the breakroom. Just take a step to not be so isolated.

Complete Assignments

Feeling overworked or overwhelmed is a joy killer. So, instead of focusing on your long-term projects or goals, make a daily to do list, and keep it short. Can you create a list with 3 to 5 small goals every morning? Accomplishing those little items will make you feel proud of yourself, and give you that jolt of joy you get when you actually complete something. Little actions snowball into big ones, and in no time, you’ll feel pleased as large project get completed, too.

Relish the Little Moments

Did your coworker swing by your desk this morning with a coffee made exactly as you like it? Maybe your boss told you to take off from work a half hour early or the small team you work on decided to throw a potluck dinner after a large project ends. These little moments should be treasured. If you’re looking for joy, start here. Live in the moment.

Suggest Joyful Moments

Do you work in a boring office environment? Have the fun times come much less often than they used to? Be the change. Set up Jenga in the lunchroom. Walk around asking different coworkers to complete a Mad Libs, and then email the final results to your entire office. Soon, your entire team will catch the fun bug.

Who Should You Spend Your Time With?

By now, you know how quickly your energy can drain when you’re around someone who contstantly complains or badmouths other coworkers. Conversely, you also know how uplifted you feel when you position yourself near the kind, caring office motivator. Choose who you spend your time with wisely. Yes, a watercooler chat after a meeting might feel like a way to vent frustrations, but you don’t want to fall into a cycle of negative conversations. Don’t play workplace politics. Be positive and look for the positive, and you’ll find the joy in your day-to-day.