Relax, And Read This

When we recently interviewed a favorite motivational speaker of ours – Gabby Bernstein – on how to transition into fall, she told us three things that stuck with me: Make moments in your week joyful (think of them as you would a vacation), do a media cleanse, and realize you can pivot in your day at any point.

Post-labor day, there wasn’t really anything that didn’t stress me out. Somehow even getting my coffee on time sent me into a huff reminiscent of Seinfeld’s George Constanza looking angry at work simply to look busy. I decided to take a few days to try out Gabby’s advice. Why? Because after interviewing her, I had felt empowered for all of one day, and then as they say: “All good things come to an end.” Or do they really have to?

Gabby’s first piece of advice was create joyful moments in your day-to-day life that you can look forward to like you would a vacation. The idea being that there shouldn’t be just two versions of you – the summertime carefree person on the precipice of a getaway versus the miserable work person. Meaning, if a manicure is your version of a vacation, get one in the middle of the week. If dinner with friends is something you only associate with a Saturday night, make it happen on a Wednesday. I decided to try this out and think about what brings me joy that I only associate with “break time.” I’ve always been a movie fiend, and Woody Allen is my crack. So rather than waking up in the morning to Good Morning America or The Today Show at 6:30 AM, I did something different: I began Monday morning with Midnight In Paris – a Woody Allen movie I only associate with lazy Sunday’s or wine-filled Friday nights with Seamless. I’m not saying I didn’t work in the morning or get up and get ready as diligently as I always do – I did my routine as normal. But instead of doing it with a background of news on ISIS, reports of controversial tweets between Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj or interviews with Chelsea Clinton about her new book, I did it to great dialogue plus the backdrop of one of my favorite cities in the world. I can honestly say I got the same amount of work done, and went to the office twenty-five-percent lighter, and seemingly (probably only to myself) with a glow reminiscent of someone who’s just returned from a weekend getaway. The next day I did Annie Hall, and Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona the next. I had managed to make a Sunday afternoon ritual a weekday early morning routine…and it wasn’t making me any less efficient. Who knew?

Next up was the media cleanse. In this day and age all we’re hearing about are juice cleanses, detoxes that get us to our goal weight, ingredients to cut out and the like. What about people we follow online that we should cut out? What about cleansing our social media feeds? At Gabby’s suggestion I was perplexed; I was convinced that no one I was following on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram was negative or insulting…not in the traditional way at least.

Then, scrolling through my social one afternoon, I realized all the ways in which people can be negative that aren’t exactly obvious. I won’t give detail as to what or who I wanted to delete, but let’s just say it was the accounts that gave me one of two feelings: A pang in my gut that didn’t make me feel good or empowered (rather bad about things in ways I couldn’t quite put my finger on) or, like I was part of a clique in middle school that I was both relieved and ashamed to be in. I deleted anything that made me feel either of the above, and for a few days all I looked at was @fuckjerry, quotes on Jennifer Fisher’s Instagram, food shots on The Infatuation, dog photos on @toastmeetsworld and @thefatjewish. It was a miraculous three days. I again felt energetic, empowered and focused.

Last on the list was the idea that you can pivot at any point in your day. So, when you wake up in the morning and no outfit is right, it takes you three hours to put together blue jeans and a white t-shirt, and you run out flustered, somewhat sweating with coffee dripping from your to-go cup for no explicable reason, you usually give up on your day. Starting a new day within an existing day seems impossible, but Gabby said otherwise, so I decided to try my hand at it with a few deep breaths (a way to reset). While the breathing helped, what really made a difference was when my dog Scout tried to climb up on my chair at the office. He does it every day, and every day I haphazardly throw him into my lap between sips of a smoothie, afterwards scratching his ears between emails. But this Tuesday was different; this Tuesday I was feeling kind of spiritual and realized I don’t even take five minutes in a day to enjoy my dog. I don’t mean it in the traditional sense – by all accounts I’ll admit I’m a good dog owner – but when I think about how many times a week I actually look at him and think “Man, I have a ridiculously cute dog, and I’m just going to focus on cuddling him for the next five minutes” I’m at a loss. So that’s what I did. I looked into scout’s eyes and called him nicknames while Danielle rolled her eyes (but couldn’t help but join in the fun). Sure enough, in under seven minutes I’d done it: The whole office was in a better mood.

The moral of the story is to figure out what your own personal Gabby Bernstein transitional journey is. If meditation isn’t working, perhaps look into your Australian shepherd’s eyes for five to ten minutes. If you’re less of a Woody Allen fan and more a Metallica type, try blasting it at 6am on a Thursday for no good reason at all. You do you, because you’re great, and all potatoheads deserve to feel like they’re on some sort of potatohead vacation at all times…

– Laura Kosann