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Angela Hoxsey House in Order: Best of times, worst of times
House in Order

Angela Hoxsey House in Order: Best of times, worst of times

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If COVID-19 has left you unemployed, your moods are probably swinging from elated to not have to work and to have more time at home to depressed to not have work and have more time at home.

As the famous Dickens line goes, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” When you’re experiencing the “best of” moments, it’s helpful to make a list of things that trigger motivation and good moods for you. Prepare in advance to kick past the blues when things shift to “worst of” feelings. In case you’re currently on the down rollercoaster, here are a few things that rarely fail to re-energize me back into a productive mode.

Clean something. I remember once in my early 20s I was feeling particularly powerless over some situation—probably love- or money related. I got up out of bed in the middle of the night and scrubbed my kitchen floor. It didn’t change anything about the situation but somehow I was able to go back to bed and fall asleep with a smile on my face. Additionally, I woke up to a sparkling kitchen floor. When you don’t know what else to do, cleaning something or exercising is almost never a bad idea.

Great music can change my mood significantly. I have a lot of playlists ready for workouts, gardening sessions and housekeeping. For me, silence is necessary for paperwork and anything that requires thoughtful planning, but for tasks requiring physical energy, music really helps. If you didn’t prepare playlists in advance and depression hits, services like Spotify can recommend a huge variety of “radio” stations and playlists based on the mood you want to shift into or your favorite musical artists.

Another method that has really worked to motivate me is to follow that old saying “fake it ‘til you make it. One life coach suggests listing 10 people who have lives you envy or that inspire you. What are they doing that you want to do? Can you fake it ‘til you make it? Maybe it’s not wearing sweatpants every day. Even something as simple as smiling has been scientifically proven to help shift a person out of depression. There’s a theory that people who get Botox to ease their frown lines and forehead furrows actually get angry or worried less. Facial expressions we habitually wear can affect our feelings.

Organize something. This takes more brain power than cleaning, so I probably wouldn’t organize as a “can’t sleep” cure because it tends to activate the mind and doesn’t tire the body enough. Organizing is more of a 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. activity, and pairs better with caffeine than with alcohol. Choose a drawer, closet or room that has been bugging you (depending on how much time you have), set a timer for 20 minutes and start processing through it one item at a time. One small step toward order is a giant step towards a better mood.

Fix (or have fixed) something that has been broken. Are there any stopped clocks in your life? Sometimes a fix is as simple as a battery replacement.

Toss something you haven’t used in more than a year. Lightening up your stuff equals lightening up your mood. Toss into trash, a donation bag or a consignment box. Now toss something else.

Get some pampering or pamper yourself. A massage is probably off the table, so how about investing in a massaging neck and shoulder pillow or trading foot rubs with someone you live with? An OPI UV light to cure gel manicures is not very expensive. I feel strangely empowered when I can do my own manicure and it saves a ton of time and money. A pair of exfoliating gloves to use in the shower is also a low-cost, high-reward way to make yourself feel renewed.

Listen to a motivational talk. Tony Robbins, super famous self-help author and speaker, recently hosted a seven-day personal motivation week called the Seven Day Comeback Challenge. It was free and I just happened to see an ad for it on YouTube when I was researching water pressure flow regulators for drip irrigation systems. Listening to Tony’s most tried-and-true advice on relationships, wealth management, health, business and other topics was the jumpstart I needed four months in to the new COVID-19 lifestyle.

He also knows how to pivot. As a person who traveled the globe giving in-person seminars to thousands of people, suddenly he is stuck at one of his homes with his wife, his chef and his personal trainer, maybe on his hundred-acre resort in Fiji. But does COVID-19 or the temptation to soak in some Fijian sunshine stop him? No. He adapted his seminars for Zoom and is reaching more people than ever. Google Tony Robbins for more information on his seminars, books and podcast.

Tony is one of the many successful people who recommend cold therapy for lifting the spirits, healing the body and sharpening the mind, all leading to higher energy and better productivity. It works for me. Cryoaid, our Napa cryotherapy provider, is terrific, but if you can’t afford cryotherapy, dump some ice in your bathtub and just chill. Then attack the garage.

Watch it now: How to Start a Self-Care Routine and Stick to It!

Angela Hoxsey is a professional organizer based in the Napa Valley. For information about her services, go to www.houseinorder.com or call 707-738-4346. Follow House in Order on Facebook for more organizing tricks and tips.

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Binge watching old TV shows or staying in your pajamas all day aren’t going to ruin your life but allowing these behaviors to become habits is likely to make you feel guilty and miserable. Plus, it will be so much harder to get back into a productive work mode when the shelter in place is over and you can’t button your pants.

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