When shelter-in-place orders went into effect in early March, the workday for many office workers changed completely and may be the “new normal” for some of us longterm. Makeshift desks have popped up on kitchen tables and in weird crowded nooks filled with books, plants, and nik naks. Screaming children and barking dogs now interrupt zoom meetings on the regular. The commute is thankfully gone, but many of us have replaced it with more hours in front of the computer, unable to separate work life from home life.
Most of our non-work and extracurricular activities are either on pause or relocated to the home. School is at home, workouts are in the living room, happy hours now require an internet connection, and when it comes to dining, every. single. meal. takes place at the same restaurant – your home! And you always have to do the dishes.
All of these factors can lead to a sense of monotony, or as my BFF so eloquently put it: “Every day feels like Groundhog Day” (Where are all my Gen-Xers and children of 80s friends? )
Do not despair if you are unsure what day of the week it is, or month, or year (yes it’s still 2020). With a little imagination and intention, you can break the cycle of monotony and add a little more fun and variety to your days. Here are some ideas to get you started.
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1. Switch Offices
Take a call from your porch. Walk around the block for a 1:1. Bring your laptop to the couch or the floor. Or if you don’t require the internet, bring your work to a nearby park. No need to go all day. Just a little time in a different environment can make a huge impact. You might get inspired too. I often have my best ideas and breakthroughs in writer’s block while walking my dog (that’s what notes apps are for).
2. Get Creative on your Zoom Calls
Odds are your coworkers are feeling a little out of sorts these days too, so make it a group effort (work and company culture appropriate of course). You could even make it a group challenge. Try new Zoom background images, have everyone dress up fancy or in costume, or just bring something fun to the meeting. Showing off pets is usually a hit too. The Snap Camera can also now link to Zoom adding a wide array of altered faces and backgrounds.
You can also declare a non-work meeting. My husband’s team did an online escape room afternoon and loved it. Just a fun way to collaborate and spend time together with no work talk involved.
3. Spend Breaktime in the Great Outdoors
Even 10 minutes a day of outdoor time improves your mood. It allows you to connect with nature and physically change your location which can inspire your work and lift you out of the doldrums.
Walk around the block between meetings. Sit on the balcony or in the backyard to eat lunch. Replace some of that old commute time with a morning and/or evening walk.
4. Explore a New Neighborhood – or a Different Part of Yours
Sometimes a quick trip outside your immediate neighborhood is all it takes to feel refreshed. It’s like taking a microdose of the “feel goods” you get when you travel. We went 3 neighborhoods over to walk last weekend and it was like a whole new world. New houses and landscapes and shops to explore.
Even if you’re confined to your immediate neighborhood, pick a different direction to walk or bike, or go at a different time. The same street may look very different at 6 am when everyone’s asleep than it does at noon.
While you’re exploring, notice the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations around you. Stop to see little things, like a butterfly on a flower, or admire the creative way a neighbor chose to prop up a dilapidated fence with driftwood. Slowing down to notice the little things can turn time outside into a meditation, allowing us to put our monkey brain on pause and see the true abundance that is flourishing all around us everywhere.
5. Sign Up for a Class
What do you want to learn? Dance? French? Yoga? World History? Cooking? Painting? Tai Chi? Brush up on your kid’s level of math? There are online classes and books for EVERYTHING. Carve out a little ME TIME for personal enrichment and learning. It will take your mind of all that stuff that keeps you up at night and you’ll come away with a new skill! Or make it a family affair and learn together.
6. Get Dressed Up – For You
You haven’t put on makeup or a bra in 4 months. You last showered, um, wait, 3? no 4 days ago. Initially, this mode is a win (seriously the bra thing)! Over time however one can forget how empowering it can be to feel polished. Take it from a health coach and yoga teacher who’s work uniform is literally YOGA PANTS, dressing up even when you don’t have to can be fun and make you feel a little more confident and on your A-game!
Do it your way of course. I like to get dolled up to grocery shop since that’s the only place I go these days. It’s also fun to wear something nice for dinner, or for a non-yoga client meeting, just because.
7. Throw a dance party in your living room
Did you know, shaking your booty can literally improve your mood? And it’s, in my humble opinion, one of the most fun ways to get exercise. Dress up or stay in your PJ’s, clear away the coffee table, dim the lights, crank your favorite playlist, and dance like nobody’s watching.
You can also make it a Zoom dance party with friends and pump the music into everyone’s house through the app. If you miss the club scene or want some live entertainment, Twitch is a great place to new discover DJs from all around the world.
8. Make an Ordinary Dinner Extraordinary
Use the “good plates” and the “nice napkins”. Make (or order) something divine and decadent. Plate your meal like a restaurant would (Instagram and Pinterest can inspire). Light a candle, put on some music, wear something nice, turn off the phone, and really enjoy your meal. I recommend this even if you are cooking for one. YOU are worth it. All of it. Treat yourself to something beautiful, healthful, and delicious.
9. Declare a Theme Night
This is one of my favorites! You can do this solo or as a watch party with friends in other houses. Start with a movie you want to watch. Dress up to match the movie. Select a dinner/snack that fits the theme of the movie. Bonus points if you add some decor to your living room to really seal in the mood. Start the movie and transport yourself out of your house and into a faraway place for a few hours.
Every day is a gift and an opportunity to create something new and exciting, even with work and school and to-do lists as part of the equation. I hope this list has inspired and sparked some new ideas for you to try. How will you infuse some excitement and variety into your today? I’d love to hear your ideas. Please comment with them, or message me.
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Here’s to graduating past Groundhog Day and into your own amazing day. Stay safe everyone!