When I flipped to a new tab on my browser this afternoon to perform a Google search, I was greeted by an image of a tribe of monkeys, with each monkey doing its own thing. It strikes me that this is how many of us feel at the beginning of the work week: a little scattered when focus is required, and altogether too busy. Some people refer, jokingly, to the first working day of the week as Blue Monday, especially if they donâ€™t care for their job. Because I donâ€™t fall into that categoryâ€”I do enjoy my jobâ€”I guess I might sometimes refer to the beginning of the week as Madcap Monday, simply because thatâ€™s when I find myself juggling priorities to determine what, when and how much will be accomplished during the week.
Mondays are generally busy days for nearly everyone I know, but I wonder if they might feel less so if we sit back, take a deep breath, and deliberately slow things down. In other words, we might find ourselves becoming more productive by taking a moment to be mindful of something else entirely than the task at hand.
According to Tsh (pronounced Tish) Oxenrider in My break-up with busy, â€œItâ€™s like we donâ€™t even think â€˜busyâ€™ is a unique, situational status in our lives. Itâ€™s strange to not be busy.â€ When our schedules are so full that we cannot even breathe, Tsh does what on the surface seems counterproductive: she takes a walk. I have found myself doing the same at work, to be honest. The building in which I work is campus-sized, and it takes a while to walk from one end of the building and back. When I return to my desk, I have a fresh outlook, a new store of energy, and focus.
Itâ€™s not just in the traditional business world that you encounter that phenomenon of being too busy. You can work at home and have so much to do that you donâ€™t know where to begin. Thatâ€™s when itâ€™s probably best to simply take a break and do something that gives you pleasure. Maybe that means youâ€™ll read for 30 minutes, take a walk, listen to some music while you close your eyes and think about absolutely nothing, or maybe youâ€™ll pull out some colored pencils and color in one of those adult coloring books that are so popular right now. Possibly youâ€™ll take a few moments to water your plants and trim the brown leaves.
Whatever you decide to do to beat back that sense of being too busy, youâ€™ll want to give it your full attention. Maybe you will decide to do nothing. So, give nothing your all, and just let the moment stretch out. I have never meditated, at least not officially, but I suspect thatâ€™s what meditation is all about.
Possibly your way of taking a proverbial walk is to think about what makes you happy. And thatâ€™s what I am going to do in this post . . . Iâ€™d like to share with you three small pleasures that simply make me feel calm, appreciative, or glad. Youâ€™ll notice that each pleasure involves the sensesâ€”sight, sound, scent, and touchâ€”as well as movement or the lack of movement.
Sitting in front of a fire, whether itâ€™s indoors or outdoors, is a wonderful way to practice mindfulness. I like to move my rocking chair close to the warmth, listen to the crackling flames, and allow the wood smoke to drift my way. And then I think about nothing at all. The result is often clarity about some issue or problem, likely because you’re giving the subconscious part of your mind space in which to work things through.
For my birthday, my husband presented me with a tin of 72 PrismacolorÂ® colored pencils. I canâ€™t wait to try them out on the designs inside the adult coloring book below. The pencils are butter-soft with rich colors, and blend beautifully. When I color, itâ€™s not just about what I see in front of me, but also the sensation of soft lead pressing into the paper, that makes me feel calm and surprised, by turns.
You can practice mindfulness while enjoying flavors. It doesnâ€™t take long to mix up a fruit smoothie, topped off with a ball of vanilla bean ice cream. The first swallow is pure pleasure, so take it slowly and enjoy each sip through your straw. For just a little while, donâ€™t think about anything but the flavors rolling inside your mouth and sliding down your throat. When you’re finished, you’ll have new energy for your next project.
Whenever you feel overwhelmed, whether itâ€™s at the beginning or the end of the day, take a few moments to stop. Stop shuffling papers, stop taking calls, and stop making lists. Change gears, and just live in the moment, at least for a while. Youâ€™ll be glad you did.
Â© 2016 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.
5 thoughts on “Madcap Monday vs. Mindful Monday”
Great ways to destress and clear your mind. Now that things have slowed down, I am back to using my elliptical and I love that time where my brain can slip out of work mode for a little while. I put on a good TV show on Netflix and forget about everything else.
I walk on a trail near our house almost everyday. Yoga is also another go-to for me. And of course, the core of my job, art! Yes, those Prismacolors are quite nice! I like to color the coloring sheets I design with them. They are so buttery. Enjoy! 😀
I literally go for a walk, too, weather permitting. If it’s too cold or raining, then I take a Netflix break and let myself zone out for 20 minutes. Aren’t Prismacolor products great? I had the markers and pencils when I was in design school, but sold them recently because I wasn’t really using them. I kind of regret it now because they were so high quality. Oh well!
Prismacolor pencils are so nice! We treated ourselves to a set for Christmas. I recently started trying to establish a basic meditation practice. Sometimes it is difficult to make the time, but I always feel so much better after I’ve taken a few minutes to just sit.
Great advice Judy! I often do something to forget what I’m in the middle of for a bit. Even if it’s only a spot of hoovering!