MOTIVATION MONDAY is back with the first installment of 2018! Here are some things I'm finding particularly fun to think about as we go into a new week:
Something to Watch: If you're like me, you've been wanting to see some good performances lately, but your instinct to hibernate in your apartment wearing pajamas has been strong. PBS's Great Performances are plays, musicals, operas, and concerts you can stream for free from the comfort of your couch. Just one of many reasons of my list of why I love public broadcasting. Whether it's Tony Bennett in concert with Lady Gaga, or Noel Coward's Present Laughter starring Kevin Kline, PBS has you covered. Did I mention it's free, and that pajamas are ok?
Something to Listen to on Your Commute: Anxiety may be common among artists (and let's face it, all people), but that doesn't mean that it has to be the norm. I discovered the Anxiety Slayer podcast earlier this fall, when I was nervous about teaching at a local university after a long time out of the classroom, and found the two hosts really lovely to listen to when I was feeling particularly stressed. Many of their tips seem simple, like drinking a cup of tea or reading a good book, but when you're in the midst of intense anxiety, it can feel like a friend helping you through. Plus, the episodes are fairly brief, 10 to 20 minutes long, so it makes the perfect listen for a walk around the block.
A Tech Tool to Consider: As artists, we can find it hard to steal time to create, so why not make technology work for you and help you to streamline areas of your life that might be taking time from your art? This weekend, my husband helped me to set up and log all my passwords for banking, bills, and social media using 1password.com For $2.99 per month, you can create an account and enter login information for any site that requires a username and password. The service helps you to create very strong random passwords that you don't have to remember--the site remembers them for you--and is secure. I can't tell you how much time this will save in the future. Instead of hunting for my passwords and going through the process to retrieve them, I can now spend a bit more time making things. Every minute counts!
A Book to Read: I read Jenna Fischer's new book The Actor's Life: A Survival Guide, in a single sitting on the train from New York to Boston over holiday break and loved the honesty, humor, and hope with which she writes about the path of an actor. After 8 years of day jobs and auditioning in L.A., she landed the role of Pam on The Office, and her book is full of the heart, courage, and compassion that she clearly cultivated during that long stretch of not knowing what would come next. Though I don't have any plans to toss my hat in the ring in Los Angeles any time soon, this book came to me at a time when I am truly missing the stage and needed a bit of a kick in the pants to get motivated for some auditions and projects for 2018. One of my favorite quotes from the book:
"The truth is: Being an artist is hard. Writing is hard. Acting is hard. Directing is hard. Making music is hard. I know your relatives at home think, How hard can it be? It's just like playing pretend, but it's hard. Most of the time it will feel like you are pushing a boulder up a mountain. But if you keep going, the muscle that moves you forward will get stronger. You learn to press on even when you don't want to."
A one pot meal to make: I love to cook, but I realized that spending hours in the kitchen, especially on weeknights, really tires me out. Now I am saving my inner kitchen warrior to tackle one or two new recipes a week, and doing my best to make a big pot of something on a Saturday or Sunday. This week's Soup Saturday was a huge pot of Italian Farmhouse Soup, which is gluten-free, Paleo, and vegetarian (with a vegan) option. The recipe is written for an Instant Pot, which I don't have, so my creativity got to come out and play as I experimented with making this on the stove top. I basically just sauteed the onions to start, then added everything else to the pot and simmered until cooked through. Easy and delicious--especially for the tundra-like weather we are experiencing in Boston at the moment!