Welcome to the first Monday of 2019! By now I bet you’re back to work or school (or maybe not, our undergraduate students don’t return until a week from today), and you’re wondering how the heck you got by before the break happened. Maybe you have no idea how you had so much energy and life at work before when now you constantly feel super burned out. On the flip side, maybe you’re feeling like being home for the holidays was a lot of work and your job is a relief. Either way, I bet one thing felt better the the other. So now what do you do?
What really helped me was thinking about what made me happy during the holidays. Was I happy to be in lab, even though it was empty and unfamiliar? Or, was I happy sitting at home powering through books trying to reach my 2018 goal? For me, I came back from vacation both ready to work and ready to have a vacation from my vacation. I had really rough time staying in the lab all day long, partially because it was empty and partially because I had been away from home for almost a full week and I couldn’t stop my mind from wandering to things that could get done at home. I’ve finally had enough time to get through everything I wanted (with the exception of a few choice Christmas decorations not making it back to the closet). I am now back at work, and I am feeling great. I showed up for my experiments both Saturday and Sunday and things seem to be going great, but I had to get here somehow.
In my example, it’s clear that it didn’t take me long to realize that reading felt like a chore, but lab felt easy and fluid. It only took a few experiments and a few more books to realize that the rewarding feelings came from an experiment coming to completion (even when a few things seemed amiss) whereas a finished book was just a finished book. I had to realize for myself that lab was where I wanted to be. But what if you’re the exact opposite? What if your side b*tch is where you want to be? GO BE WITH YOUR SIDE B*TCH Y’ALL!
I’m serious, if you do not feel fulfilled at work, figure out what things fulfill you. We live in a wonderful time where you can make money doing just about anything. It might take a lot of work and a lot of time, but I bet if you find happiness you will feel the it was more than worth it. Start making lists of things that bum you out and things that make you really happy.* Try to figure out how to do more of the happy stuffs and less of the bumming stuffs. Once you figure out what makes you happy and is something you can do more of, start researching how to use that to your advantage. Make a vision board if that’s something that will help you. For me, I have a vision board which I am looking t s I type this, but I also have a white board exclusively for my Etsy stuff (ironically, the white board is larger than the vision board). I have a calendar, and an inventory, and ideas. I erase things that I don’t want to pursue as I think more about them, but I write everything down so I have a record. I put a lot of energy into that, but I love my day job, so I really make sure to keep it on the side. For you, the might have to be different. Whatever it is that makes you happy, you need to go for it. Make 2019 the year that you leave fear behind.
There may be other things that are holding you back from being your most confident self. Have you completely ignored workout plans? Is your holiday waist yelling at you to get yourself together? Are deadlines sneaking up on you and perhaps even sneaking bye you? All of these things are natural. Why you need to know is the you aren’t going through them alone. Even if nobody is willing to talk about it, that doesn’t mean that you’re not in good company. Social media is such a burden in this aspect because you only see the people who didn’t fall victim to these things; you see the people who ate a salad for both lunch and dinner but not the person that got fast food. We hide our authentic selves in favor of sharing the uplifting things. It’s not even that we’re hiding intentionally; we just share what makes us feel good and usually we know that the fast food is “cheating” so we don’t share it because it bums us out. Oh! Look at that phrase that just came back… that means we should do what? LESS OF IT! (I totally said that in a like a happy Andre Johnson voice in my head, and if you don’t watch Black-ish you should start now).
Moral: Do more of what makes you happy by figuring out what makes you happy and what makes you unhappy. Turn your side b*tch into your main b*tch if you need to. Smile often, and comment on this post with a 2019 goal for being happier!
*You may already have an idea, dream, desire, etc. for what you want to do instead. In this case, go on and do it! I still think lists are useful, particularly because you may find some connections that you didn’t see possible (personal example: book-inspired knitting themes). Still, if this is where you’re starting then your list is going to be different from the person who just needs to do something.