1. Make an "I'm Most Proud of..." List: For a twist on a gratitude list, set aside 60 seconds at the end of the day, each day this week, to write "I'm most proud of...." and allow yourself to fill in the blank with the thing that brought you a glow of pride during the day. For those of us with very high expectations for ourselves that creep into perfectionism (I'm raising my own hand up high over here!), this can be a simple way to give yourself credit for the things that you might too often overlook. My therapist suggested I try this a few weeks back, and my items range from being proud of not forgetting the words to a monologue during an audition to being proud of myself for packing a good lunch the night before a work day. it really is the little things that can bring the most joy!
2. Take yourself on a walk this week and ask yourself some big picture questions--and don't expect answers. Though I always need to be mindful of not putting pressure on myself to know the answers immediately, I have been finding it fascinating to let my mind daydream about some big questions lately. A few mental prompts I have been finding helpful:
- If I won the lottery tomorrow, how would I want to spend my free time?
- If I knew I had to work a day job forever, how would I want to spend the free time that I do have?
- If there was a day job description written just for me, what would it say?
- What have I never tried that I really want to? Rock climbing? Playing piano? Learning to sew?
3. Write a quote you love on an index card and hang it on your bathroom mirror. Or your bulletin board, fridge, or wherever else that you can see and read it and let it sink in. Corny? Yup. Helpful when trying to shift a thinking habit or give yourself some hope or inspiration? Yes. We are what we read. My current index card quote by Stephen King, from his wonderful book On Writing:
"Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up."
4. Cook a one-pot wonder to nourish your body, and help sustain your creative soul throughout the week. I've got an intimidating schedule this week with day jobbing, rehearsals, and performances, and know hard hard these full weeks can be on my whole self, so I took ten minutes before bed last night to prep some slow cooker chicken soup for the week. When I woke up this morning to the smell of something delicious, I was so glad I had taken the time to treat myself well in advance.
Melissa's Performance Week Slow Cooker Chicken Soup
1 lb. boneless chicken thighs (that's all they had at the store, so I went with it!)
1 carton of chicken stock (figured this would help make up for lack of bones in the chicken)
4 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. Herbes de Provence
1/4 tsp. oregano
A dash of turmeric
A few dashes of salt (my chicken stock was already salted)
1 bay leaf
I combined everything in slow cooker, and let cook on low for 9 hours (or however long you sleep, hee hee!). In the morning, discard bay leaf and gently shred chicken, and ladle out into a bowl. I added leftover white rice, but you could easily swap this out for cauliflower rice, or go without.
5. Need a laugh? The Ellen interview with Noah Ritter, the "Apparently Kid", is just the ticket. There's a bunch of other interviews with this incredibly bright and spunky kid, but I'd recommend starting with my all time favorite, which is below. I think I want to be this kid when I grow up.