I have had a rough week so far, and it stems from my inability to say no. My weekend was nonstop and my evenings have been scheduled to the point where I'm trying to get daily chores in before I head to work, arriving late to the irritation of my boss, and still falling behind on everything I need to do to keep life running smoothly. When my days are 7am to 10pm and the laundry hours in my building are 8am to 9pm, it's no wonder I've got a laundry crisis of overwhelming proportions happening in my bedroom this very moment. I've been raiding the freezer for a week and baking "quick" breads in the morning because I haven't been to the store.
It really stresses me out, and while I'm militantly protecting my workout time like a bulldog at a junkyard, I still feel out of control of the rest of my daily life. This puts a giant weight on my chest, as though the breath is being squeezed out of me. I don't like having this negative attitude, and in my role at work where I am constantly interfacing with vendors, clients, consultants, and staff, it is imperative that I suppress my desire to grumble at everyone who seems to get in my way and instead put on a happy face. So I'm coping.
For this, I turn to music. I learned as a choirgirl that even when I was in a terrible mood and stressed about this, that, and the other thing, going to choir practice and just singing made me feel a whole lot better. I can't be in a bad mood when I sing - it's physically impossible for me. However, singing isn't necessarily appropriate when, say, I'm at the gym, or sitting at my desk in our very resonant office. Because of this, I have a similar outlet: dance - also not office appropriate. Even when I can't dance, though, I imagine dancing and this seems to work.
I learned this coping technique when I was on the treadmill, believe it or not. It was mile 5 of a 7-mile run and even though I had my ipod cranked, it was grueling. Then a song came on, and I found myself envisioning choreographing a dance to the song. I became so engrossed in this imagined dance, I stopped paying attention to how tired I was and the way my shoe was rubbing on my arch. I tried this with the next song that came on. It was like magic!
Today, I'm employing the "fantasy choreography" method to my day. My co-worker Carol lent me her We Got The Funk cd for the day, and I am currently imagining a spirited dance to "Let It Whip." It's helping. Rather than grumbling through the afternoon, I am grooving and shaking to the lyrics: Whip it baby; whip it right; whip it baby; whip it all night! You should see the dance I've dreamed up. On second thought, I'll keep it to myself.