I decided to compile a list of all of the tricks I use to get myself out of a funk. When sweatpants and Netflix won’t work because your boss is weird about you wearing them to work and watching Friends when you’re on the clock, here are some other work appropriate ways to get yourself a little happy.
1. Sing the Full House theme song.
This one has been my go-to rather recently. I’ve noticed that when I am having a bad day or just bored with things, I retreat to singing this song, out-loud, for all of my coworkers to hear. This song just came out of me one day and I have to believe it’s because it lives in the part of my brain with all of the other 90’s nostalgia that makes me feel safe and happy, like a kid who is home sick from school. What you will notice with this one is that it is the kind of tune that makes others join in. In fact, the first time I sang this song to soothe my bummed out heart, I realized that I was the only one who sang the lyrics, “The milk man, the paper boy, and Rick Vandeeni.” I just always assumed Rick Vandeeni was someone famous from the 80’s, most likely a golfer or newscaster. Apparently, the correct lyric is “evening TV.”
2. Invent and play your own workplace appropriate game.
I have worn a variety of work hats. One of these hats happened to be a hardhat I wore as a college student summer help where I flagged street traffic while the real men did things with cables and telephone poles. Contrary to popular belief, flagging wasn’t all fun and games, until it was. I decided to put my walkie-talkie to good use and have co-flagger and student worker participate in what I cleverly deemed as the “Nod and Smile Game.” I would let several cars through but just choose one car (Red Honda Civic) to nod and smile at the entire time they drove through. Then, I would radio down to my partner-in-crime who would creepily do the same thing to the same car. Another very simple game we came up with was called, “Props.” In this game, we would see who could come up with the most ways to use a weird thing at work. Find something like this you can do with your coworkers to make Monday’s a little more bearable.
3. Get weird.
I took an improv course this summer that began with a group of us, strangers, all making the weird noises animals make and contorting our bodies to fit said animal. It was wacky and wonderful. It broke the ice, relieved the tension, and got us laughing. Some places of work may not allow for such wild behavior. However, you can still get a little weird with a coworker you feel close to, one that you know you could surprise by growling as a response to a question and then laughing it off. Bravely play your animal noise, but do it in a subtle way that will catch them off guard and make you think about it later and laugh all over again at how weird that was.
4. Respond to work emails with song lyrics tucked within the message.
I was having one of those days that end in a complete re-evaluation of my life and my choices up until that very day so I decided to respond to an email from a coworker with a lyrics from a 1998 Barenaked Ladies song, “Chickety China and the Chinese Chicken, you have a drumstick and your brain stops ticken” may have been the one but I’m not positive. It’s one way to have fun and still maintain “professionalism.” For me, it was silly enough to get myself out of a negative spiral and make my coworker laugh.
5. Create a playlist that is for the sole purpose of pretending you are in a music video when you drive home.
This one is two-fold. Create a happy playlist. You’ve heard this one, but I like to make it interesting so I choose songs that will allow me to make dramatic faces in the rearview mirror and make my hair blow in the wind like I’m in a Luke Bryan music video. Like most things, this one can be enjoyed as a shared experience. You can make your shotgun rider your love interest, the Carrie to your Miranda, or the Ariana to your Iggy.
Growing up, my mom and I would always turn on the radio and do whatever dance move came out our mind right away. It’s always strange to see how your body responds to music when you are in the privacy of your own kitchen and you just let your funk free. You can always “pull a Robyn” and dance on your own, but you’re more likely to get some good laughter going when you dance with a friend.
7. Treat Yo’Self.
Parks and recreation taught us a lot about life and the importance of having fun in the workplace. One of these valuable lessons was to treat yo’self. For me, it’s a Diet Coke right after lunch. It’s been scientifically proven to improve irritability, boost happiness, and completely diminish cellulite.*
8. YouTube Ellen DeGeneres Prank Videos.
My favorite videos are always the ones where Ellen’s telling different celebrities what to say and do as they socialize with innocent bystanders. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, watching other people in uncomfortable situations always does the trick, doesn’t it? What I would give to be a pawn in Ellen DeGeneres’ game of Hollywood hilarities.
9. Plan a trip.
Long weeks at work can really make me restless. I like to plan little mini-trips, weekend getaways, or dream of bucket list destinations that I could only afford if I was a Real Housewife and getting paid to travel there. It’s important to have something to look forward to, even if it’s just a Saturday day-trip. Do those things that are close-by but you’ve never been. Exploring always makes me feel refreshed and inspired like the way those women look on razor commercials.
10. Brighten someone’s day.
People are dealing with all kinds of things that they will never share. Everyone has something that they may be struggling with, even if it’s just regular workday stress. It always makes me feel better when I reach out and send someone a card that distracted me in the grocery store because it was so funny or so sparkly. Letting people know you see them, you care about them, and that they are doing something good is always the kind of thing that can cheer both parties up.
*The diminishing of cellulite has yet to be proven but I am still working on uncovering the powers of Diet Coke through numbers, data, and excel documents.