downtime.

I am foraying into the world of self-employ.  While I’ve been freelancing for almost a year, I am now at the point where the work I’m doing is enough to cut back my office-work schedule to 3 days/week, and I have more than enough work to do the remaining 4 days/week for my main client.  I’ve fantasized for years about working for myself; it’s quite a different story when confronted with the reality of the thing, am I right?  I don’t say this as a negative, it’s simply an adjustment in both daily habits and practices, and in mentality/perception. I’m loving it so far, and getting more disciplined about my work habits, primarily because I can see how easy it is to simply work all the time. Although, this isn’t really anything new for me, I’m fond of being a busy-busy-bee! I can also see the necessity of getting out and spending time with people, ie volunteering, and participating in a writing group (of which, incidentally, I found a really great one last week! through the Hennepin County Library system.  Have I ever mentioned how much I looooove the library? Home away from home for this word nerd!).

What I love about working from home, more than anything, is that I get to decide my schedule.  I do not enjoy the necessity of being at an office for a prescribed number of hours during a set time frame. This has always made me a little cray-cray, though I’ve spent years trying to convince myself that it’s what I need to adjust to to make a living in this world.  I’m soooo happy to be finding out that there are other options- and they’re even viable options!  What I love about freelance writing is, well, writing.  Because the more you do of something you love, the more you do of something you love! Or, something to the effect of, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” While some may debunk this as bad career advice, I say it’s completely true!

At the moment, I’m taking a break from writing about various types of cancer for clients (just a little light writing for a Monday, thank you very much!).  These are the ways I like to give my mind a rest:

  • More writing, ovbi.  Though it’s nice to be able to vent the randomness in my brain
  • Trail running.  Today @ Lebanon Hills Regional Park, which is a bit of a jaunt, but definitely worth it.  It was grey and dreary, which made the leaves still clinging to the branches scream their vibrant colors.  I f’ing love autumn in Minnesota!
  • Regular running, too.
  • Or walking along the mighty Mississipp’, which is nearby.
  • Doing headstands, a la B.K.S. Iyengar. Like this:   Ha!  No, more like this:Except sh!ttier, with a lot of confused adjusting happening throughout.
  • Playing Words with Friends with a guy I used to date.  I suppose he would be considered some sort of ex, though he wasn’t technically a boyfriend (of course, this is my attitude about our relationship now. Had you asked while we were dating, he probably was considered a boyfriend.  Still, there needs to be some sort of nomenclature pertaining to people you formerly dated.  Ex… datees? No. Come up with something and leave it in the comments, if you would!).  Anyhoo, it’s weird because we don’t talk, but I soooooo want to beat him, so we keep playing.
  • Eat food.  Make food.  Think about going to get food or ordering food.  Looking at food in the cupboards. Making more coffee to drink for when my break is over.
  • Facebooking, tweeting, et cetera.  Truly, an addiction.  (Feel free to friend ‘n’ follow, btw.)
  • Daydreaming about getting a French Bulldog.
  • Perusing adopt-a-dog sites, searching for vicarious puppy-love
  • Many, many other interesting things.

What do you do on your breaks, peeps who work from home and otherwise?  I’m always fascinated by how people spend their downtime… or procrastinate-time.

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today, part II: and then. (or, how to shake the blues!)

This afternoon, I had a little shift from the wackiness of the morning, and I just felt a little down.  In a nugget, moping. You know how sometimes you just feel it?  Probably just the lack of chocolate in the week’s diet, but it just stuck around.  And wouldn’t go away.  So, I just let it be there, and went about the business of working.  Which really is the best way to get through it anyway.  Much better than lying on the bed, listening to old Cold Play songs that, perhaps, remind you of happier days, say 10 or so years ago, and approximately, oh, 9,000 miles away.  With palm trees, and sunrise diving, and midday hammock time…

Digressing.  Self-pity.  Pity party.  It’s so pathetic, because you can identify it, and you know it’s not rational, and YET.  I was on my way to a friend’s house, to visit her newborn, and I really f*cking needed to shake it, at least a little.  So I started employing some tactics, and I thought I would share.  Yes, I still feel a bit blue, but not so much as earlier.

How to: Debbie Downer

  1. Say thank you.  Say it out loud, or in your mind, or in the windows-up radio-down seclusion of your Ford Focus.  For whatever damn thing that comes to mind: your car, the fact that you have a pair of shoes that fit, whatever.  And not in a smart-assy way.  Say it genuinely, or as close to genuine as you can get.
  2. See the opportunity, if applicable, in the situation that upset you.  In my case, I recently lost a client.  If you can remove yourself from the situation (e.g. it’s so damn nice to have a regular gig), and gain some perspective on the actual situation (I didn’t feel particularly good about the type of biz said client was in), you can see that it might, somehow — in even the minutest sort of way — be a good thing.  And really, it is just a matter of allowing yourself to see the tiniest speck of light that can make all the difference some days.
  3. Get the hello out of the house!  Depression equals wanting to sequester yourself and bask in the badness of it all.  If you can, get your butt outside, even if you’re only going to scowl at people at the library.  Just get away, if only briefly, from the energetic raincloud you’ve been inhabiting.  Stare at a tree.  Buy some notebooks and new pens at CVS.  Eat 15 samples of homeopathic-organic-vegan brioche at Whole Foods.  Make fun of hipsters getting lunch from the food trucks.  Just. get. out.
  4. Exercise.  This should really be higher up on the list, because it’s the best one.  It’s hard to cry when you’re at the gym, watching reruns of House Hunters.  Also, you just feel better when you’re doing something great for yourself and your body.
  5. Go to sleep.  Sometimes it’s just better (unless it’s a habit, then you need to talk to someone).
  6. Listen to a good/inspirational/high-energy song.  Faves include “I can only imagine,” by MercyMe (a disclaimer here, this song is highly, highly religious, but it is bound, indelibly, to Team Hoyt [see vid below], and that is one amaze-balls story, right there.  Much inspiration.), maybe a little Eminem, and loads of other either cheesy or horrible songs that I’d prefer not to make you privy to.  Start paying attention to songs that make you feel good, that give you a little boost when you’re driving, check the interwebs for exercise/running playlists to get some ideas.
  7. Write it out.  I tend to express myself better in writing than I do with the speaking, so it’s always worked for me to have a come-to-Jesus with some loose leaf.  I like a little Q&A, though it can just be a rant, or a drawn-out wallow.  Simply expressing it outwardly can extricate it from your body, and leave you some room for relief.
  8. Scream.  Preferably where no one can hear you.  Again, the car works pretty well for this particular option.
  9. Talk to someone.  A friend, parent, spouse, whomever will listen.  Don’t go on and on for an hour, or they may never listen again 😉 but if there’s a trusted someone you can talk to, see if they’ll lend an ear.
  10. Spend time with an animal.  I love dogs, because they just love you.  Cats sometimes let you get close to them, and they might let you pet them, and it’s possible they’ll purr.  Pets don’t carry around the stuff we do, they just love.  You know what they want, and they want to give it right back to you.  I hug my roomy’s dog as often as I can.  I kiss him between the eyes, I talk to him and call him stinky, I’m intoxicated by his dog-smell.  There’s nothing more joyful than watching him swim in the lake.  Even just thinking about him makes me happier.
  11. Find a way to gain some perspective.  I lost a client.  In the scheme of things, so what!?  As I drove away from the house this afternoon, the aforementioned song “I can only imagine” song was on the radio and I was instantly reminded of the video below.  Lost a client?  Boo f’ing hoo.  This dude runs/jumps/swims/bikes in IRONMAN competitions with his full-grown son in tow.  I like to call this method buck-the-f@ck-up, because sometimes the touchy-feely shite doesn’t work, and you just have to knock it out of yourself.  Which I think is what just happened for me (finally!).
  12. Which leads to the last suggestion: help someone else.  Volunteer, stalk old people in parking lots to help them carry things, wait at a door somewhere and just open it for people.  It feels good to help people out, and it moves your focus away from what’s bothering you.

I know I have more than this, so I’ll update when I can think of them.  What works for you?  Leave your suggestions in the comments!  (Also, see if you can make it through Team Hoyt without crying…)

21.

I had dinner last night with some old friends from CSB/SJU last night, and I feel, in honor of that little gathering, I should post some BoDeans, or DMB.  But I woke up with Journey in my mind (sadly, not uncommon), so they’re today’s SOD, 80s attire and all.

The TOD will have to concern a bulldog, since I’m dog-sitting this week.
Yes, what could be better than a babysitting frenchy.  Perfect.  My charge this week is Diesel, the 7-year-old English Bully.  He is very sweet, generally pretty mellow, and very much a bed hog.