The Importance of Pointless Joy

India Miles

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The anxieties we have around wider world issues such as climate-anxiety can often produce an inner narrative that fun and relaxation are not worth your time, that the urgency of the situation means that action must be the thing that fills free moments or that if you’re having a good time, you’re not a good changemaker. These inner narratives, while relatable, are false, and it is important that we acknowledge just how radical joy is in the face of challenge. When we do not allow time for joy and rest, our cups will run empty, and you cannot pour from an empty cup.

At The Resilience Project, we are big proponents of a practice we call ‘Pointless Joy,’ and this practice is baked into our workshops and youth programmes. This is simply the idea that we should be giving space to the things that are joyful that may not contribute to a certain output as a means to sustain our changemaking. The word ‘pointless’ is key here as Pointless Joy is truly about doing the things that we do just for us rather than to make our chat more interesting or doing something that also feels ‘productive’.

Some people struggle to think of what is pointlessly joyful for them, and so we encourage people to think about what they enjoyed doing as a child. Children do things simply because they’re fun, and we think this is a mindset we should carry over into adulthood. Even if you’re “not good” at something that brings you joy, you should still do it for joy's sake. Whether you bake a giant cake or knit a very holey scarf, carving that time into your week to do your pointless joy will help energise you. 

Our ability to help others relies on our ability to help ourselves.

If you’re stuck for ideas, here are some pointless joys from The Resilience Project team and our network:

  • Knitting a never-ending scarf

  • Baking giant cake versions of chocolate bars

  • Buying a cross-stitch kit but not following any of the instructions

  • Colouring in

  • Cycling

  • Going on a walk and reading in nature

About The Resilience Project

The Resilience Project is an award-winning, youth-led organisation resourcing young people with the transformational skills they need to become more resilient and effective changemakers for a sustainable future. To learn more about The Resilience Project, check out our website, follow us on social media and sign up to our newsletter.