Tuesday, May 1

How to Brighten the Darkest of Days

A slow fire season in Arkansas—sans motorcycle, the trill of flying on a fire, or the company of anyone tolerable beyond two and a half minutes—drags on like a root canal performed by an overzealous intern. There are limited ways in which to convince yourself that you are there for the greater good. The mind continually gnaws at its protective cranium, relentlessly conjuring up visions of more useful endeavors. In efforts to maintain my own sanity, I've stumbled upon a few inexpensive tactics that (sometimes) make a bad day better.

Lighten Your Load
* Write your "to do" list with your favorite color crayon. (Felt pen, chalk or paint will also do.)
* Turn off your cell phone, I dare you.
* Accomplish one thing that you’ve been meaning to do for at least a week. (Pull that weed by the door, drop off household donations, read the email that continues to get skipped, mail that package, etc.)

Ease the Pain
* Eat ice cream for breakfast. My favorite!
* Call a friend. The magnitude of the friendship will dictate the effectiveness of the call.
* Eat from the "good" dishware. For me this means "matching" silverware. Thanks Mom!
* Tune out - to some really great music

Get Silly with It
* Wear socks that don't match. Remember younger, freer days when you were—intentionally—different.
* Lie on the floor with your pet. They will dig it even more than you.
* Curse your source(s) of frustration with childhood name calling (smelly head, burrito farter, stupid pants, etc.). The sillier you make the insults the better.

Cheer Up
* Do something nice for someone. Hold the door open for an extra person or two, bring home flowers, or just smile. “Someone” can also mean you.
* Participate in something you love that you rarely allow yourself. Take a walk in nature after work. Submerge yourself in the tub for a wrinkle-inducing soak. Nurture your adventurous side with a motorcycle ride. Crawl under the covers for a good read.
* Find success in the simple act of breathing.

Certain days may require more than one action to dismiss 24 hours of anguish. If these efforts don't modify your mood, even slightly, then you must really want to feel crummy . . . unless, of course, you're in Arkansas during a really slow fire season.