Ah, the first day back after a long weekend. Doesn't it feel great? Nope, not really. No matter how much you like your job, it's easy to find yourself crabby and tired and wishing that you had a bottomless balance on a gift card for massages. And although my life is nowhere NEAR hard, sometimes I find it tough to see the sunny side of things--so I wanted to share with you a few things I do to help myself jolt back to reality--hopefully they will help you have many "better" days ahead too.
A "Good" for a "Bad"
Every time you say something negative about your job, follow it with something positive. (E.g. "I get to make cool shit!" or "I have a pension!") Yes, it's cathartic to rant about that less-than-ideal-thing-you-had-to-do-for-so-and-so, and everyone's jobs can be beyond frustrating at times, but don't get sucked into a black hole of negativity. It's not healthy, and it's really damn hard to find the perfect job. (Even entrepreneurs cite long hours and tricky work/life balance.) And another rule to live by: Don't do something you hate for a living. Most of your life hours are spent at work, so you might as well find a job that let's you complete tasks you enjoy.
Have Something to Look Forward to More Often
Tuesday tends to be a hectic day of the week for me, but know what makes it better? Knowing that I get to go home, hop on my bike and catch an outdoor movie with friends. Similarly, creating a bucket list of things you want to see/do/learn works wonders for those "I'm bored," moments that only boring people have. When you actually make that list, build it on your phone so you can add to it while you're out and about. I use the Any.do app and do NOT put reminders like "Buy more TP," in the same place.
Side note: Get at me if you want to go rock climbing soon. I haven't been in 10 years so it should be very entertaining.
Put Things That Make You Smile Within Eyesight
This might sound a bit twee, but don't knock it until you try it. When you look at something that makes you happy, it signals a mental pause and your brain actually starts feeling happier. This is why I decorate my office in bright art prints, photographs and wrapping paper. This is why I saved an "award" that my former coworkers made me, framed it and hung it up in my home office (amidst Tina Fey and Beyoncé quotes, of course). Give it a shot.
Do Something That You Wish Someone Else Would Have Done For You
Blah BLAH, Alex! We already know that doing good makes you feel good. Yes, but WHAT you do doesn't have to be a big production or hyper-coordinated "Volunteer Event." There are so many little things you can do that I'm going to go ahead and run my mouth for a minute: Volunteer to show a new coworker the ropes. Take your younger cousin back-to-school shopping. Write your grandma a handwritten letter. Clean out your closet and bring the bag of clothes to a friend's house. Buy two coffees and gift one to a coworker. Wash your significant other's car. Babysit for free. Gift those non-refundable shoes that don't work for you to a coworker (thanks Tal). The list goes on, but you really do get back the kind of energy you put out into the universe, so make it really, really good.
Watch "This is Water" Over and Over Again
If you're still feeling down, I recommend watching This is Water. I have a soft spot for commencement addresses (anyone else?) and this one from David Foster Wallace struck a chord. Before you hop in your car and head into rush hour traffic, plug your phone into your speakers and play this audio. I pinky swear you'll feel more composed.
None of us are happy all the time, but we can always work at it.
What do you do when you're in need of a pick-me-up?