Hmmm, you may be wondering. What is she talking about? This is the year of the shutdowns and social distancing. And, today is Monday. No dance parties on Monday you say.
Au contraire. Thirteen songs have been written with Monday in the title (according to this site). Manic Monday performed by the Bangles (penned by Prince) is my Monday go to song. The lyrics remind me of how out of sync this year is from pre-COVID reality. No busses for me, no trains, no car even. Waking up at six to be to work by nine? What am I going to do with the extra 2 hours and 50 minutes? And having to figure out what I’m going to wear? Now it is down to two hoodies.
Some days I forget what it was like to get up and go into the office, to go out to eat, to go see movies. But I still have days where I need some help to appreciate and get the most out of this current situation. On these days, I’m grateful to have the Agile Best Self framework and my North Star to keep me focused. Taken together, these things help me unabashedly turn up the good; make intentional decisions and focus on building and incorporating daily self-care habits.
Build daily self-care habits.
When I think about all the things I’m supposed to do on a daily basis – move more, get more exercise, focus on the positive and still get the boring, never-ending tedious chores done – I’m not incredibly motivated. It is so much easier to scroll through the endless Buzzfeed click bate. Are there 22 items I absolutely have to have on Amazon? Are these the funniest tweets of the week? By now the answer is usually meh.
So a couple of days ago, I tripled down on 3 Agile Best Self principles. I started with the daily self-care habits, then added in a heavy dose of two more:
The most effective way to be your best self is to be mindful and intentional.
Investing time in yourself is the primary measure of progress.
I was not investing enough time in myself and getting things done that I wanted to get done. My new cooking hobby takes about an extra two hours every night, and I frequently have a full dishwasher by the end. It is fabulous to learn new recipes, make new sauces and pick up some new skills (like learning how to braise scallions and how to make kale edible). The kale trick involves some lemon juice and a 2-minute massage. Unfortunately the massage is for the kale, not for me.
Essentially, I was doing some of the right things. Eating healthier foods and actual meals created by chefs; learning new skills and having fun. But something was still missing. I’m new enough to fancy cooking that having multiple timers and pots going is stressful. I can’t tell by lifting the lid if the the rice is done or not; I’ve been too tentative with the medium heat setting so my lemon crusted tofu isn’t properly browning, etc.
Even though I was being mindful about being healthy, and intentional about cooking, something was still missing. I tried tuning my iPad into Amazon Prime Videos to multi-multi-task. That lead to burned almond gremolata and the lemon I was zesting flew out of my hands into my pups waiting mouth. They are always hovering when I cook because I drop so much stuff.
A couple of days ago, I turned on my JBL portable speaker and hooked up my tunes. Rather, I hooked up the account my teenager uses to stream music, so I got to listen to Juice Wrld and some other people I don’t know. Then I got the hang of the interface, ditched the rap and went down memory lane.
While cruising down memory lane, I ran smack dab into the Bangles and decided to embrace the classic ’80s music. This was the missing ingredient to my current solitary stay at home lifestyle. As a connector and a catalyst, I frequently need a catalyst. And music connects me to joy and energy. Of course I already knew this. I frequently listen to music when I am working out. But I had pigeon-holed music into that space of “working out” or “painting a room” or “while I drive to work.” How limiting!
My insights from this small tweak are simple. First, if something makes you happy, see how you can incorporate it more into your life. Turn up the good! Second, If there is something that I lack the energy or motivation to do, I make it dance party.
- Cardboard box break down dance party
- Laundry folding dance party
- Making dinner dance party
- Loading dishwasher dance party
- Picking up the stuffing from Thor’s latest shredded pillow dance party
- Writing an Agile Best Self blog post dance party
Lastly, I can’t play Don’t Stop Believin too many times. This video has 100 MILLION views. Find your fav song and turn up the good, then do it again!
Copyright © 2021 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson