words by nerissa

…observations, thoughts and questions

Archive for the month “June, 2013”

Tell me why….I don’t like Mondays

Monday. All you need is Monday

What’s your reaction to that word? It’s just another day of the week, isn’t it?

Apparently not.

Because most posts I see on Facebook on Mondays are negative ones. In fact, there are far more negative quotes about Mondays on the internet than positive ones.

So what’s going on?

Are our weekends that fabulous that we can’t face the thought of it all coming to an end on a Monday? Are our jobs that bad, that the thought of going back to them is almost unbearable? Or has it become the norm to whinge? Just because it’s Monday and everyone else is doing it?

So to find out the answers, I turned to science. Yes, there are scientific studies for this kind of stuff!

In 2005, a study carried out in Japan (which was later published in the American Journal of Hypertension), showed that many workers suffer a significant increase in blood pressure as they return to work after their weekend.

A few years prior to that, a study in Britain showed that there was a 20 per cent rise in the number of heart attacks at the beginning of the week. It was believed that work-related stress was to blame.

Recent studies in the UK have focused on which day of the week is more ‘dangerous’. And guess what? Monday is relatively low on the danger scale. It’s on Friday that you should be more careful!

More recent studies in the US have shown that there really is no difference in mood between Monday and any other day of the working week, except for Friday. Funnily enough, mood tends to rise on a Friday afternoon. So why does Monday get such bad press?

One researcher believes it’s because the contrast in mood from Sunday to Monday is the greatest, which leads to Monday being singled out.

And therein lies the key. The contrast in mood between your weekend and your working week.

Which leads me to this question — what is it about your working week that is so bad? Is there no purpose, no meaning, no joy in those five days? Are you only enjoying two days of the week?

Because that’s only about 104 days of happiness each year. And at last count, there is 365-366 days in a year. To make matters worse, I am sure that not every weekend of yours is bursting at the seams with happiness, joy and purpose. So how much of your life are you really enjoying?

Why are you wasting your time complaining about what day it is?

It’s really childish and self-indulgent.

There are many people in this world who would give anything for another year of Mondays. But unfortunately, their terminal disease means that’s not possible

There are plenty of people who have lost loved ones — who would probably live through a life-time of Mondays if it meant they could have that person back.

I realise that some people out there may be going through life-saving chemotherapy (or any other necessary medical treatment) on a Monday. In those cases, I totally understand why they may not enjoy Mondays. However, on the flip-side, they are probably the ones who can see the positive amongst the negative.

Wake up and realise what you’ve got.

You need to realise how lucky you are compared to so many other people. Mondays come around every seven days. So grow up, get over yourself and change your attitude. You’re not the only one who has to live through a Monday (or a working week for that matter).

There. I said it. End of rant.

Now for some more positive thoughts about Mondays.

  • Without them (and the rest of the working week), you’d be broke, have nowhere to live, and would probably be terribly bored.
  • Mondays can be a time when you recommit to a healthier lifestyle. The working week can be when you focus on eating well and exercising, so you can let go a little on the weekends, without compromising your overall health.
  • Routine is good. Without it, we probably wouldn’t get much done.
  • Mondays can represent a brand new slate. New beginnings, new goals, new focus.

However, if the above is still too hard to get your head around, then try incorporating some of your weekends into your working week.

Why save going to the movies for a Saturday night? Go mid-week instead.

Cook French toast on a Tuesday, rather than saving it for Sunday.

Go for a walk on a Monday instead of the usual Saturday.

Hit the shops on Thursday night, instead of waiting for the weekend.

You need to find the miraculous, the pleasurable, the inspirational throughout your whole week. Not just on the weekends.

Life really has so much to offer. However, if you spend five out of seven days with your head in your hands bemoaning the fact that it’s not the weekend, then you are missing out. Big Time.

What will you say on your deathbed?

“Man, I hated Mondays”?
OR
“Gee, I wish I had enjoyed more of my life”?

Are Mondays really that bad?

References:

http://edition.cnn.com/2005/BUSINESS/02/03/monday.pressure/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19316104

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/may/29/most-dangerous-day-of-week

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Beefy boys?

I’m health conscious.

Part of my routine involves resistance training three days a week — usually Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. As long as my husband isn’t away for work, I am there at 5.30am, rain, hail or shine (or in the case of this past week, in sub-zero temperatures!)

It’s no big deal. It’s just what I do. I started going that early, because it was really the only time I could fit it in. Now it has become so much a part of my routine, that I am no longer shocked at the time the alarm goes off.

Part of my workout routine involves listening to my ipod. Without it I feel lost. It’s almost like my training partner. It helps me focus, and helps to drown out the odd grunt and moan that come from the ‘men’s area’.

However, a few weeks back, I forgot my ipod. Not quite a catastrophe, but I was put out. After all, gym music is not very inspirational.

So I decided to make the best of it and (shhh), listen to other people’s conversations! Well, I had to do something to fill in the time between sets.

Surprisingly, there are many regular gym goers at 5.30am, but most of them are men.

Two of them I had dubbed ‘the beefy boys’. Not that they are huge, but they are strong. I would guess they are in their late to early 30s. They always train together, and NEVER bring a water bottle. Probably because parading back and forth to the water cooler provides a better opportunity to show off their muscles to the people who don’t train near them.

Anyway, it turns out they were on the machine next to me.

“Great,” I thought. “Now I’ll probably get to listen to them talk cars, compare muscles and generally big-note themselves.”

Well, you could have knocked me off the chest-press when I stopped to listen.

They were talking recipes!! Yes, real recipes. Not what protein mix they use, but how they cook their meals. And it wasn’t simply throwing sausages and chops on the barbie either. I’ll admit the conversation was very ‘meat orientated’, but they were talking marinades, salads, and how they cook their veggies to go with their meat. I was tempted to invite myself to dinner.

They also discussed how different cuts of meat were better in different dishes, and then concluded by comparing notes about their butchers.

They were probably better versed in meat than most of the current contestants on MasterChef. Except for Lynton. He’s from a cattle farm.

But the point is, that I had been making assumptions about these blokes for months — purely based upon what they looked like (and to some extent how they behaved). Never in my wildest dreams did I think they could cook.

I found myself wondering what other people in the gym do during the rest of their lives, and whether I had been making assumptions about them.

How many people do we make assumptions about?

Do these assumptions prevent us from engaging with that person? Or being nice to them? Or letting them go before us in the supermarket queue?

Lesson #1 — People can surprise you, if you take the time to eavesdrop, (I mean listen).

Lesson #2 — Gym music really is bad, so always remember your ipod.

The cupcake

Last week, my children’s school had a special ‘Winter Lunch’ day at the Canteen.IMG_1823

For $7.00 (or was it $8.00?), they could order a hot roast beef roll, two mini cupcakes and a can of drink.

My 10-year old son was on board with the offer. (Awesome! That means only packing half a lunch box the night before. )

My daughter was not so thrilled. “I don’t like hot roast beef rolls. I just want the cupcakes”. (Damn! That means I have to pack the full lunch box).

Of course she only wants the cupcakes. She hates meat! $7.00 (or was it $8.00) for two measly cupcakes that were most likely to be the awful, dry, tasteless ones available in the supermarket. So I said no. “No, I’m not paying all that money for two little cupcakes.”

She was devastated.

When I asked her why she was so upset about not getting a lunch that she didn’t like, she replied, “I’ll be the only one without a cupcake”.

Oh dear.

So I quickly promised that I would make some cupcakes the day before the ‘Winter Lunch’, so she would definitely have a cupcake in her lunchbox — and one that would taste nicer than everyone else’s and would be bigger.

That put a smile on her face. Phew! Problem averted.

For a week or so at least….

You see, the day before the promised cupcake, turned out to be a very busy day. I won’t bore you with the minute details of my life, but needless to say, baking cupcakes was the last thing I wanted to be doing, or had time for, for that matter.

I really must be more careful about what I promise.

But a promise is a promise. And it was all tied up (or iced up) in a single solitary cupcake. If I had promised to bake cupcakes, then a bought one — no matter how expensive or which exclusive bakery it may have come from— simply wouldn’t do. So during the course of the mixing, and baking and icing and decorating, (which were all interspersed with other pressing chores), I wondered: how many other seemingly mundane, ordinary things in our lives represent something more than what initially meets the eye?

You see, to everyone else, that cupcake was just that — a cake. Nothing more than flour, sugar, butter, eggs and milk, with a bit of icing and sprinkles on top.

But to my daughter, it was a promise fulfilled. It was the security of not being the only one without a cupcake. It was more evidence that she can count on me — that my word was worth something. And it showed her that I loved her enough to squeeze in yet another task in my busy day, because it would make a difference to her.

When I asked her on the way home from school if she enjoyed her cupcake, she said “Oh yes Mummy. Thanks so, so much for making it!”

And so with a smile on our faces, we continued our journey home, where a container of cupcakes were waiting.

After all, you don’t bake just one cupcake, do you?

Who are you?

On the surface, it seems like a straightforward question. I mean, we all know who we are, don’t we? Or do you think you know who you should be?

Because to me, there is a difference.

Many people don’t like who they are. They don’t think they are good enough. They don’t feel they deserve success. They don’t believe that they are capable of achieving or being more than what they are. They put down any success they have as ‘luck’. Furthermore, they are often jealous of other people’s successes, without even thinking about the sacrifices required for that success. They compare their ‘inner stories’ with the perception they have of someone else’s life. They are simply not happy people.

It’s so very sad.

But why is it like this for so many?

Perhaps they had abusive parents who only put them down. Maybe they have a physical disability that limits them in some way. Perhaps they were bullied as a child. Maybe they tried to do something once but failed, and then were taunted because of their failure.

Or maybe nothing has happened. Perhaps they have just been bombarded with unrealistic images in the media telling them how they should look or dress; where they should work; how they should interact with their family; how they should spend their spare time; how they should spend their money; what their house should be like; or how happy they should be all the time (cue ad of well-dressed housewife smiling as she goes about cleaning an already spotless house).

No matter what your circumstance, there is one universal truth — we are all good at something. Actually, we are all good at many things.

While we can’t be the best at everything, we are all born with different gifts (or abilities if you prefer). Some people are great at listening. Others are natural athletes. Some are brilliant cooks. Some people’s minds (not mine!) are wired for complex numbers. Other people are creative. And on and on the list goes.

What is it for you? What are you good at?

It’s probably the things you do without effort, things you like doing, or things that, (heaven forbid), people actually compliment you on!

When you find something that you are good at, notice it, nurture it, and keep looking until you find another. Because the more good things you see in yourself, the more you will be able to find. And the more good things you find, the more you find yourself. Your true authentic self.

Sure, you have weaknesses. We all do. But don’t let them be the focus of your life. Don’t let the negative things define who you truly are.

Stop comparing yourself with others. Stop focussing on what you can’t do, or wishing you could do what someone else does. Because when you do that, you start to paint a picture of who you think you should be. And that leads to unhappiness.

Dare to be YOU. The very best version of yourself.

To quote a wise man:youer than you

“Today you are You,
that is truer than true.
There is no one alive
who is Youer than You.”

By Dr Seuss.

Are you brave enough to let others see who you really are?

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