Update 1: Taking myself less seriously

Soul-searching is a good and valid endeavor, but so is lightening up. This month, in honor of my birthday, I’m giving myself new challenge—a mini-Camino—to practice taking myself less seriously.

Day 1: Say “Well, everyone needs a hobby—including my brain.”

Referring to my obsessive inner dialog as a “hobby” tickled my funny bone. I was in the middle of mildly complaining about a habit of my partner’s. When I noticed it, I said aloud, “Oh, yeah! This is my brain’s hobby—getting annoyed at stupid stuff! Forget what I said. You’re all good.” And I honestly felt better and amused!

Less serious score: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Day 2: Spend time with children

I did this at the grocery store at the peak of evening rush-hour shopping. While Mary and I ate a slice of pizza, we watched families check out (in a non-creepy way, obviously). We saw kids from infants in the shopping cart seat to older ones helping bag up groceries. What struck me was how uninhibited kids were. One was singing to herself, another was hopping down the lane, not stepping on cracks, another was twirling around in circles wearing a fabric shopping bag on her head. All masters at taking themselves lightly!

The other thing I noticed is how much loving and respectful touch these kids received—in contrast with the adults. I wondered aloud what the world would be like if everyone got that much touch. Then I asked Mary to pat me on the head. It was good. 🙂

Less serious score: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Day 3: Say “It’s just… and you’re doing the best you can.”

LOVED this one! This was my actual birthday and I was showered with surprises by my coworker/friends—flowers, cupcakes, a streamer-filled sign on my door. However, my inner critic didn’t take a day off. “It’s just an email, Jen. Go easy. You’re doing the best you can.” Saying this t lightened me up immediately, made me crack a smile, and helped me feel at peace with whatever was happening.

Also tapas! We went to Andaluz, a local tapas bar in town for my birthday dinner which was wonderfully reminiscent of the Camino. My dinner companions indulged me in Camino story-telling as we sipped Tempranillo.

Less serious score: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Day 4: Snark at self-snark

This one was too meta for me. I mean, it’s hard enough on my spirit when I snark at myself. To snark back in humor just made my brain shut down. Couldn’t do it. If I were more fluent in sarcasm this might have been more fun. I’ve lost that edge having lived in Oregon for two decades.

Less serious score: ⭐

Day 5: Walk outside

I love to walk. I love being outdoors. It’s all the more ironic then that I procrastinated doing this activity all day. At sunset, I realized I was running out of time and finally went outside. After watching the sun set, I walked around my yard, looking at pretty flowers and trees. I loved it.

2015-03-05 18.01.55

Less serious score: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Day 6: Hugs

I read somewhere once that the longer the hug, the more oxytocin is released. Since Mary and I went away to a cabin at the coast, she got to give me all the hugs. I loved them. Hugging for life. Hugging for world peace. Hugging definitely makes me take myself less seriously.

Less serious score: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Day 7: Narrate whatever’s stressing me out and over-exaggerate it

Although I did this just once during the day, it cracked me up—and Mary too. Laughing at annoying stuff lightens the mood. Although this is a little complicated to remember to do, it fulfills my need for healthy drama.

Less serious score: ⭐ ⭐

Day 8: Dance breaks

Oh, yeaaaah. These hips were born to swing. Back story: before I could even walk, I’d hold myself up in my playpen and dance to the Bumblebee Tuna commercial.

At lunch, I danced in my chair when I had the most delicious crab cakes I’ve ever eaten. I danced in the parking lot at the beach. The cats got a little freaked out when I was dancing in the living room with a bowl of cereal, but hey! It was fun. In fact, even just imagining myself moving to music made me lighten up. Note to self: use this!

Less serious score: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Lightening Up: Week 1 summary

Of everything I’ve tried this past week, humor and movement seem to be the most effective at getting me to lighten up. For best results, the movement must be fun (not forced) and the humor silly and gently self-deprecating. Throw in a little beauty and some good food, and I’m a happy camper.

Hmmm… sounds oddly like my Camino!

Stay tuned for updates on the next week’s not-serious activities!

3 thoughts on “Update 1: Taking myself less seriously

  1. Great post and it sounds like a fun week.
    And a scoring system?!
    Oh wow, that *is* organized!
    I feel like daring you to find some other way (less structured, more playful?) to evaluate your next week of activity. You know, something that involves taking the process itself less seriously and lightening it up a bit more!
    It might get a bit “meta” but I think there’s an argument in favor there somewhere! 😉

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