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Treat Yourself and Others!

My first link up for Treat Yourself Tuesday, hosted by the lovely (and local!) Becky of Olives and Wine

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A slight lack of sleep means that Susie has little motivation or ideas. Furthermore, the amount of work I have been doing the past few days means that I have had very little time to myself! That said, I have been able to sneak a few treats into my days. Here are a few of the (non-food-purchase-related) ways that I put some pep back in my step:

  • Starting My Day Off with a Good Workout.
    • I am an early riser, but NOT a morning person.  IE: I will be up at 6, but I do.not.want.to.talk.or.move. But when I get my a$$ moving first thing (ie, an hour after I’ve waken and eaten), I feel ready to conquer the day after.

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  • Lazy Morning Followed by a Sweaty Workout
    • So those days that I don’t have to immediately get up and shake my tailfeather are lovely because it gives my brain and body a bit more rest (particularly important with the current sleep issues). But it is equally as important for me to get myself up and going at some point, otherwise I will just sink into a malaise, and all of my relaxing and recharging will be for naught.
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  • Eating Out with Alex or Friends
    • I generally much prefer to cook for myself and others than to go out, but I have to say that going out is such a great experience for me. I tend towards solitude, so grabbing me by my ears and taking me along is a great exercise in pulling me out of myself and whatever funk I might be in.  Once I am around others, I usually pop up (and sometimes I don’t!), find myself enjoying myself, and feel re-energized.
HO-ly crap you are an actual person.

HO-ly crap you are an actual person.

  • Cab Ride Home from Work 
    • It’s late, I’ve been on my feet all day, and I just want to go HOME, not make my way gingerly through the snow. And it will cost me $6 and shorten my commute by 15 minutes. Done.
  • Creating Something
    • Whether it be in the kitchen, on the blog, around the city, or around the apartment, I am driven in life to be productive. And when you spend as much time as I do feeling like you have little to contribute, being able to contribute to something, any thing, is a huge boost.

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  • Going Beyond Myself and Paying It Forward
    • Any person (except for the greatest crabby-pants-McGee) can attest to the mood boosting power of doing something for another. These actions can be large–going to a 3rd world country as a volunteer, taking in a family for the holidays–but they can also be small, but potent–having a cup of your coworker’s favorite coffee ready for them when they arrive, taking care of some chores or errands that have been piling up (no, this does not mean that you are “giving in,” it means that you are recognizing that they have other things that are taking priority at the moment. Usually the fact that someone is unable to take care of their normal responsibilities is very bothersome for them, and so giving them a mental break really is a treat).
Get and give support.

Get and give support.

    • I only want to hint at this now, but I do consider my Marine Corps Marathon experience an exercise in paying it forward. I will explain later, but I wanted to bring up the idea of charity races as a great way to find mutual benefit in a real and potent way. Raising funds, awareness, and taking care of your own health so that you can continue to do good work is a beautiful way to spend an hour of your life.
    • I loved cooking extra food from Thanksgiving for my coworkers and dropping them off at the start of dinner service that Saturday. And, their rave reviews and requests that any time I feel like making it again, I might bring them extras, truly made my day several days in a row–every time I thought about it. In total, I expended about 1 hour extra, from cooking to walking and dropping off, and it made 2 other people very, very happy, physically and emotionally.

So how will I be paying it forward this holiday season?

Well, Alex and I try to go through our clothes, etc, seasonally, but I did a major overhaul at the end of this summer as well as at the beginning, when we moved in.  All of those clothes went to the Salvation Army, and our old running shoes went to SA and to KindRunner. So, I have a paltry selection of donations, but I will still take advantage of all of the collection boxes around the city.  The fact that I am not taking them to Plato’s or otherwise gives me an even greater psychological return, as I am not profiting in the least beyond the additional space.

Philanthropy and taking care of others was heavily instilled in me throughout my childhood–I was even president of our YMCA Teen Leadership volunteer organization, and I traveled for 3 weeks of volunteer service the summer before my senior year. Unfortunately, the hectic nature of my schedule in college (and the fact that I was pretty much always spoken for on the weekends for shows) and now that I am out of school makes it difficult to find opportunities for philanthropy that require me to be physically present.

So I think that my next PIF project will again be food related: to bake holiday cookies for our building staff. They are the nicest group of people–they are always happy to see you, ask how you are, ask if they can carry something for you, how my running is going, joking about the weather and when they’ll be able to enjoy (summer) or run away from (winter) it–and have really become friends. I’m going to have to come up with a few different options, flavor wise, as I don’t know dietary restrictions, but I think that this will be fine considering I have about 20 people to make cookies for. 

I know that I could do so much more, but I also am realistic in the amount of time I have and am willing to give to my various pursuits. The holiday season is about being selfless as much as we can be, but I sometimes have to be a little selfish in order to benefit others (ie, saying no to volunteering so that I can spend time with Alex, or cook dinner for him, or do laundry). Sort of the “put your air mask first before assisting others” concept, but remember it isn’t “put your air mask on first and laugh at the others passing out.”

I had already written the majority of this post when I realized that it fit perfectly in with today’s assignment for Round 2 of Elf4Health! I am so excited to be paired with Katie of Talk Less, Say More for this round, and I will fill you in on her later, because she is nobody’s afterthought!

Round 2, FIGHT

Round 2, FIGHT

Talk to me, Goose:
What are the little ways that you are reaching out beyond yourself?
 
What type of cookies should I make?
 
How do you perk yourself up when you’ve got the blues?

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