I have a major allergy. I am not talking about any food, drink, or drug. This can’t be found in a restaurant or store, nor is it on any “DO NOT bring to school” list. It’s not airborne, and there’s no antihistamine to temper the horrible reaction. Some may consider it an aversion, but because of the toxic effects, I think it needs a stronger category. Let’s consider it an ailment, maybe?
What is it?
The same old, same old, same old thing day…after day…after day. Once you’ve been infected with monotony, then starts the ripple effect. It creeps in, ever so slightly that you may not even notice until you’re neck deep in the mind-numbing drudgery. Monotony, if unattended, can fester into a real joy-killing poison.
Hey – I’m all for routines. Routines keep me sane. Habits keep me healthy. But there comes a time when the humdrum schedule of everyday life slowly begins to snuff out my enthusiasm. Same meals. Same work. Same laundry. Same arguments with my kids about iPads. Same outfits I’ve been wearing for half a decade. The same roads I take to school drop-off and work. The same…everything.
This is where I seem to find myself of late: trudging forward through the manure-of-the-mundane; slogging through the daily mess, feeling like most of my choices reflect the diversity of a color wheel filled with beige, cream, and off-white. Ufda.
What’s a girl to do? Well, there are two choices: 1) Sit in the poo-pile of resignation and hope it gets better soon, or 2) Take action and get the heck out of boredom-town.
I choose option two.
While an all-expense-paid vacation would be my first choice, no one’s offered yet. So, below are my alternatives. A list of little changes that make a big difference in a small way.
Change up your food. Food has such an impact on my demeanor. In my opinion, food is meant to be enjoyed, not endured. For some time, my palate seemed so apathetic, everything tasted exactly the same. Before I even took a bite, I knew precisely what I was going to feel, think, and taste. The joy of savoring was gone. So, at the recommendation of a friend, I bought a cookbook. Recently, I’ve been making my way through the pages, following the recipes exactly (which for me is a great feat). Yes, it’s tedious, time-consuming, and entails more trips to the store for ingredients I previously never knew existed. But it’s brought excitement and life back to my taste-buds and my dinner table. Even the kids have noticed – and approve!
Change your attitude towards the weather. Yep, I said it. That means, Minnesotans, we need to find something to like about EVERY season. When it’s winter, relish the feel of a warm drink in your hand, walks in the evening when it’s snowing (and above 0 degrees), and days when it’s so cold we have a great excuse to just stay inside and be lazy. Spring is muddy and unpredictable, but the sound of a good rain from my perch on the porch is like a comforting salve for the soul. Summer can be humid, but you can’t beat the lush green of the Mississippi River Valley – go for a drive in your air-conditioned vehicle and take it all in. Fall may be shorter than preferred, but those vibrant colors the tree leaves turn? They bring me to tears when I take the time to really look at them. Don’t complain about the weather, find the parts you enjoy and revel in them.
Change who’s at your table. I love my family and wouldn’t trade them for the world, but sometimes we have had too much “togetherness.” It’s time to bring some fresh faces into the fold. Make a double-batch of chili (or whatever your most stress-free meal to make is) and invite someone over. Don’t like to cook? Order pizza or make popcorn and invite people over for games or a movie. Choose people who feel like family or someone new you’ve been wanting to know more about. Feel paranoid about your messy house? Get over it! Or find a good Groupon and meet at a restaurant. It’s a fact: Life done together is better.
Change your focus. When I am melancholy, it’s hard for me to see beyond myself. I sink waste-deep in the sewage of my own thoughts which soon turn to my shortcomings and unfulfilled goals. BUT, when I change my gaze to others around me, I take the focus off myself – my problems, my downfalls. The best way to change my focus is by becoming a Day-Maker. Need some ideas? Bring someone flowers, just for the fun of it! Send a card in the mail – add a $5 gift card to sweeten the pot. Bring your kids Jimmy Johns for lunch at school, just because it’s Tuesday. Call a friend and leave a message, just because you were thinking about them. No agenda, nothing to say – just I love you and “you’re the best!” Trading in melancholy-me for the Day-Maker version has medicinal magic that is a sure cure for a case of the doldrums. 100% guaranteed!
So, when that listless, lifeless feeling of monotony threatens to steal away your joy, don’t let it. Make some changes. It’s in your hands. What will you choose to do?