Monday, January 7, 2013

List #4: Back to Work Monday.

It's the first full Monday back since the holidays. Last week, we prepped for New Years Eve. Two weeks ago we stared glossy-eyed at a tree. And today, I stare glossy-eyed at my computer.

Mondays can be full of potential and also a blow to productivity.

So here's my list of favorite pick-me-ups on days that seem to suck the life out of me drag on. For the days when you feel like it's all heavy, and you're having a difficult time shedding burdens, give your body and mind a mini-break. (These are not meant as spiritual disciplines, or any replacement for deeper stuff going on in your heart. There's a big difference between starting my day feeling like my heart has been dragged through the mud, or starting my day complaining because my blankets were warm. Big difference. These are for my-blankets-are-just-right-and-I-don't-want-get-out-of-bed days.)

1. If you have kids, start your day before they do. I find a major difference happens in my heart and mind and general attitude when I've had time in the morning to walk quietly in the dark, turn on a tea kettle, look out the windows at a cold, silent world, and just let my eyes open gently. This is instead of a jolting wake-up call to, "Moooom! It's morning! And I'm hungry. And I have to pee. And can you get up now, please?!" That has a way of really getting the grumpy Andrea out of bed quick.

2. Don't fill up on everyone else's noise. As tempting as it may be, don't check Facebook and Twitter first thing in the morning. Chances are, if there is something going on that you absolutely NEED to know, someone will call you. Otherwise, it's just extra noise. Don't add it in until you've filled your heart up with better things first. And then when you do go on? Love others. See people. 

3. Fill up on good "noise." Scriptures. Good music. Whispered prayers of gratitude. Tiny songs of humming and swaying while the coffee is poured. Easy silence that settles into souls and hands and hearts while we pace ourselves. I love, love, love putting this song on first thing in the morning. Really. Love. 

4. Ask your kid what they dreamed about. If you don't have kids, ask your spouse. Or your roommates. Or try to remember what you dreamed about. This is for pure entertainment. My daughter told me this morning that she dreamed about mermaids who sang a special song and then were able to become fairies with blue wings and fly out of the water, and I was all "That sounds like an amazing sleep you had!" 

5. Mid-day — dance. At some point. In your car, office, bedroom, kitchen, sidewalk. DANCE. Madeleine and I frequently do a train around the living of dancing. She has no idea that I'm not that good, so to her, it's still good ole fun and I'm not embarrassing her yet. Some favorites in our house: 

6. Take a break from a long workday to do something you love. Sketch. Write. Read. Run. Snack. Read entertaining stories. Give yourself legitimate breaks in the day.

7. Do something you wouldn't normally do. Take an online IQ test. Watch a 20 minute tv episode on Hulu in your car on a smartphone. Go to a park you've never been to and take a walk. Jump out of the norm and shake up what your head things is next. Normally go one way home? Try a new route.

8. Just go read all of @prodigalSam's tweets.

9. Search "kids laughing" on Youtube. If this doesn't brighten your day for even 30 seconds, then you have no soul.

10. At the dinner table, try "Mad, Sad, Glad". Everyone gets a turn saying what made them mad, sad and glad for that day. Ask questions about the answers. Learn things about your family and friends. And as my daughter says, "No copycats."

I'm not saying these are cure-alls for bad days. I just know I like to have back-up-plans in my pockets for those moments when I'm desperately announcing at the office, "I feel this day slipping through my fingers. Someone help me. I am losing all motivation to continue to care about any of this work that I am currently doing and that's not good because I can't blame it on anyone else. Send help, or chocolate, or a youtube video."

Enjoy your Monday friends! Happy dancing. :)