Moody Monday: How to beat a bad mood, part 2

Change your commute, change your mood?

This summer I started riding my bike to work. I find that I am much more energized when I get to the office, and far more energized when I get home. The physical effort wakes me up and my urban commute requires a degree of focus and concentration that distracts from the petty annoyances that I would mull about if were driving or riding the bus.

Aside from putting me in a better mood the other big benefit of bike commuting is efficiency: my workout time and my commuting time are merged into one, which means I can sleep in a bit. Also it saves a few hundred bucks a week in gas, parking, bus fare, etc. When I was researching this blog post, I found out you can deduct $20 of biking expenses for every month you commute  on your bike from your taxes. Also, some people might feel smug and virtuous because they are saving the planet and all that, but that’s not me. If anything, I worry that people might peg me as an insufferable hipster, or more likely and worse yet, a wannabe insufferable hipster. But I am a bit too old and bit too busy let what people think keep me from going about my business. But I digress.

Luckily, this was a fairly easy transition because: a) I live 3 miles from my office; b) I already owned the essentials: a bike, helmet, bike lock, backpack for my laptop, and c) I have a rather casual workplace–it’s not dressy and the hours are pretty flexible, so I can keep my eye on the weather and traffic and pick a good time to make the trek.

The big challenges I encountered have been a) clothes and shoes that I feel comfortable wearing on the bike and wearing into the office, b) hair – yes, arriving at the office with sweat/wet/helmet head is not the best, and c) make-up.

At this point my post is going to get fairly girl-specific but I found that the best look so far is kind of a french girl vibe that consists of (from the ground up): Scrunch ballet flats with elastic so they don’t fall off your feet, black  “pixie pants” these are cooler than jeans and more work appropriate if you can take yourself seriously as a professional while wearing a garment called “pixie pants”, a tank top, a lightweight cardi (it’s hard to find a quality cardigan that doesn’t just make you look frumpy, but I have had good luck with Halogen brand from Nordstroms), and a gauze cotton scarf.  Aside from the cardigan, which should last for years, most pieces can be had inexpensively from Old Navy, and won’t show grease stains from your bike chain or sweat. The idea is to stash the cardi and the scarf in your bag and put it on when you get to work. I suppose that you could even put an extra and or nicer sleeveless shell  in the bag and change if you need to look a bit more presentable or you get extra sweaty.

I have read and can confirm that you need to wait about 10 minutes until you stop sweating to hit the ladies room, freshen up make the switch, and do your hair and make up. I just do my regular make-up for work. The hair, the hair now that leaves me flummoxed … I can’t say I have a solution … I am due for a trim and a will consult the hair dresser to see if she has any ideas because I sure don’t.

I put together a playlist for commuting for people who can’t commute by bike. I see people riding with earbuds, but yeah, no, because safety.

Anyway I listened to said playlist several times, trying to fine tune it as I do, and it make me sad, so I deleted it but didn’t have the time to come up with something new, so I am reviving an old playlist, called “Roadkill Romance”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Moody Monday: How to beat a bad mood, part 1

Crappy moods. They happen to the best of us. Sometimes it’s because we are fixated on something, and that something is bad. This is called variously: brooding, ruminating, or stewing. In my family, we call this being a “worrier” and what it means is that you have the unfortunate habit of ceaselessly reflecting on painful experiences and fears about the future. Or mostly just petty annoyances. Now, full disclosure. I am a worrier and I come from a long line of worriers. My father was a worrier, his father was worrier before him, and probably the chain of worry goes back to the dawn of time and is somehow encoded in my DNA.There is nothing good about brooding, ruminating or worrying. According to people who should know, brooding actually stressful, paralyzing, addictive and fosters other negative behavior like drinking too much and eating disorders. Nothing good comes of it.

So how not to brood?  I guess if you are aware that you are doing it you can just force yourself to think about something else. But for me that’s like saying, “Don’t think about elephants.” which just makes it impossible to think about anything but elephants.

Recently, the NYT published a study that showed taking a pleasant walk in nature actually stops brooding. By this they mean it actually changes what is going on in your brain when you brood. I decided to try this out the last time I was particularly annoyed. I’m looking at you, American Airlines.  You, and your crazy carrier fees on BA.

Results, well, as a way to alleviate acute brooding, I would give the nature walk two stars out of five. It’s probably something that might be a good idea to do habitually to make your disposition sunnier — not as a way to alleviate acute annoyances. And, it’s not that I don’t love nature–nothing relaxes me like camping. And people who like camping as much as I do are a pretty small club.

But anyway a good playlist for walking. I think it’s upbeat, and quirky and interesting and has plenty of slightly weird stuff that should distract the average person from their internal monologue and help beat a bad mood.

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Top 5 Favorite Labels

1. Merge Records. Mac and Laura and friends have brought us Superchunk. Neutral Milk Hotel. Lambchop. And many other fine brands. Think of all the more lucrative and less annoying things they could have done with their lives. We will be forever in their debt.

2. Matador. Okay, they had this show in Las Vegas a few years ago that sold out in like 3 seconds. I am not quite over that one yet. But still these are the people who bought  Belle and Sebastian to the US. Also, Fucked Up. Interpol. They also have a ton of great heritage behind them: Pavement, GBV, Liz Phair — so there is the nostalgia factor. And I am sure that they have many fine bands that I haven’t even bothered to get into yet.

3. 4AD. These people have had the best taste since forever.


4. Creation Records. Ok, bias, my hubs was once a roadie for The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy (nice guys btw from Oxford, like the college in England) but these guys are funny. Plus Creation also put out “important bands” like My Bloody Valentine.

5. SubPop. Rough Trade.Touch & Go. How could you decide?

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