Avoiding the Grind

Well, the holiday season and that lighthearted feeling of escape from the daily grind has evaporated. It’s gone, finished, kaput, shuffled off this mortal coil, now that most of us have landed back in the real world of schedules and deadlines with a resounding thud. Cranking out last minute English essays about fear and loathing in Henry XII, Part Nine (note to self – double check this before submitting – editor getting cheesed with all the errors) and some other work of so-called “literature” that we’ve been meaning to read; working nightshift at coffee bars and crematoriums; bustling the kids off to after-school kickboxing and terrorism awareness classes; picking up Kraft microwaveable organ-meat-and-powdered-cheese casseroles for supper (note to self: change corporate brand name before submitting – uptight editor very upset about numerous lawsuits): the demands on our limited time and energy can seem overwhelming. It needn’t be that way, though. Following are a few helpful suggestions that will allow you to live a more leisurely and centred existence.

1) Be inventive about creating “wiggle room” for yourself in your daily schedule. Sometimes phoning in sick, taking a “mental health day” as I like to call it, can be just what the doctor ordered. If you’ve used too many sick days already, try phoning in a bomb threat or enrolling in some form of witness protection program. Faking an attack of flesh eating disease or sudden paralysis at the front door of the workplace, causing customers to step over you, can also be quite effective. Remember not to look too healthy and self-satisfied the next day, though. And definitely (take it from me) avoid any accidental mention of time spent at the race track or body rub parlour.

2) Try to eliminate unnecessary and time-consuming tasks from your schedule. The key here is to “think outside the box.” Come on, do you really need to brush your teeth every single day? Does it make sense to boil water for those dehydrated mashed potatoes, or is it equally nutritious and just as delicious to simply empty the powder into your mouth right from the pouch? Must the housework be done, or is it more effective to just burn the place to the ground, collect on the insurance money, and then take out another policy under an assumed name? Only you can answer those questions.

3) Always remember to make time for your “significant other.” Set aside a special block time each week for just the two of you to spend together. Do the things you used to do before your lives became so complicated: a walk in the park; a candlelit dinner; an autopsy or a cockfight. Whatever it is, it should be something that both, or at least one of you, really enjoy. Too often, caught up in the maelstrom of daily activities, we lose sight of the fact that a neglected marriage can be an endangered marriage. One day everything seems to be going along hunky dory. Then, without a word, you find out your spouse has run off to Scarborough with a greasy mutual fund consultant named Stan, who spends most of his spare time shopping for Speedo thongs, doing abdominal crunches, and teaching tantric sex classes at the community centre. Or something like that. Anyway, the point is that you should always remember to pay attention to your loved one, even if you suspect that she may have been seeing this Stan guy for quite some time, which would really explain a lot of things, come to think of it…

I hope that these few simple insights will help all of you to enjoy a healthier, happier lifestyle in the coming months. If you would like to share any of your own experiences or concerns, please don’t hesitate to try to contact me.

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