Word of the day: cozy

pug in the rain cozy stylish blankets cozy sweater allergy free gluten free vegan blondie recipe friends and teaThe combination of rain and Monday equals late starts, lethal traffic and even later arrivals. Add the mountain of catch-up-from-vacation work I still have in front of me with a dash of lethargy from too much fun and food (obviously I lead quite the deprived life), and you have a recipe for seemingly insurmountable odds and the kind of insufferable self-pity that can only be had by someone (me) who really doesn’t actually have a whole lot to complain about in the grand scheme of things.

But some days, I think it’s okay to acknowledge when the world feels like it’s winning more than usual and you just need a piece or five of chocolate already.

I promise Chicago pictures are on their way…In the meantime, I’m going with a favorite mood-boosting tactic of mine – visualizing my perfect day right now a la the images above. How would you like to be spending your Monday?

 

Finding…mindfulness.

mind over matterliving in the present quoteSigh… Mondays.

See, I’m not usually one of those people who dread Mondays and complain about their jobs. But I’m not going to lie, I started this morning groaning out of bed and maybe getting just a little bit sassy at other drivers. But reality finally checked in, reminding me just how much I have to be thankful for. It’s easy to get bogged down in all the things that don’t go exactly the way I want them to, which in my case consists largely of having an uncomfortable, embarrassing and altogether exhausting allergic reaction going on the three month mark.

As an interviewee said on NPR this morning, and I paraphrase: It’s like when you’re driving. You don’t think much of the green lights because you just keep going. But those red lights make you stop, make you wait, can even make you late. People invariably end up saying, “Ahh I hit some red lights,” not “I hit some green lights.”

I know I need to spend more time meditating on my own green lights to get myself through the red ones. And I think practicing a little more mindfulness is just the thing to help me do that.

I’ve been reading a book called My Year With Eleanor, in which author Noelle Hancock writes, “Mindfulness is a technique where you concentrate on the present experience without judging or trying to control what is going on. To be fully aware….It helps you stay in the present, where fear does not exist.” One Apartment Therapy article calls mindfulness “an accepting and kind attitude toward yourself and your present moment experience…that will change your relationship to life.”

Here are some tips for practicing more mindfulness, which are all part of my plan this week to try staying gracefully in the present and practice more acceptance:

Change the day’s first words. Waking up and indulging groans and dread for the day sets my attitude, and therefore, perception for at least the next three hours. Complaining is a habit, and I’d like to train my brain to not jump straight into it every morning.

Put. the phone. down. How many times do I re-check email, refresh Facebook on my browser, scroll through Twitter, and when all that still fails to entertain, turn to other apps to see what latest GroupOns are featured and which new pug is on @PugsofInstagram, only to repeat the process? I waste so much time with absent-minded scrolling.

Be thankful for waiting. It’s so easy to fall into a pattern of going and then get frustrated when something jars me out of that by making me wait. Instead, this moment that I can’t force into productivity is a fantastic opportunity to breathe and think without feeling guilty.

Dedicate time to just sit. Not in front of the tv, with a book, food or even a cup of coffee. Just me, being still. A word of warning, when you try this one in bed, at night, with a relaxing cool eye mask on…this also turns into a fantastic way to accidentally fall asleep. As I learned from personal experience.

What helps you relax and think more on the positive side of things?

Finding…Motivation.

to do list

Is there anything quite as cozy as clutching a hot cup of coffee to warm up on a cold day?

I realized it’s been an awfully long time since my last “goal” related post. Perhaps not so coincidentally I’ve also been feeling uncharacteristically unmotivated lately. Quite frankly, I’ve also been scared to tell you all that I’m going to do something because, well….then I’d actually have to do it! This reality hit me hard this weekend when I woke up Saturday morning with precious hours to use however my heart desired…and all I could do was lay around in my bed thinking about how bored I was but how I was feeling too lazy to actually do anything to change how bored I was.

Snap out of it, self! It’s time for some tough love, so I’m waking up my brain to make some goals for this week and most importantly, share them with you.

strong-beautiful-and-brave-an-encouragement-note-for-the-weary-traveller

Stop thinking about how tired / sick / unattractive I feel. This week I’m having a plan of attack for those self-conscious thoughts that make me feel unmotivated and self-conscious. Whenever these thoughts come up I will replace them with something good like, “I’m tired” becomes “I am so grateful for friends who want to see me, the financial ability to do fun things and a job that leaves me feeling fulfilled at the end of the day.” As for the appearance thing, reminding myself that no one notices (or cares) about minor details or off-days like I do will help, along with countering those thoughts with something I do well that is far more important than looks like being nice, smiling, helping someone, etc. This pity party is over.

the tipping point book by malcolm gladwell

FINALLY finish this book. I can’t even tell you how happy it makes me every time I open up The Tipping Point and start reading. I just love Malcolm Gladwell’s analytic yet engaging writing style. The problem is, every time I do get motivated enough to open the book (it’s quite daunting when I think about all that’s left to read) it’s usually on the later side and I end up falling asleep within a couple pages. As a result, it has taken me forever to get about 1/5 of the way in. This week I commit to start reading every day with the goal of reading 10 pages. Just 10, then I can decide to stop, keep reading, whatever I want. Take that, self-discipline.

I think that’s a pretty good start for now. I would also love to hear how you keep yourself motivated, re-motivate yourself, etc. Anyone else feel like they needed to recharge this Monday?