Sunday, May 11, 2014

Because I'm Happy

Theresa at SubjectVerbObject is inspiring Foreign Service Bloggers (yes, we're an entity deserving of capitalization) to rejuvenate our blogs and get us through the spring slump, if such a thing can be blamed for my writing laziness. This week I chose Prompt #1:   Tell us about what you’re doing to stay happy at Post, even when everything from housing to R&R to your spouse’s work schedule seems to be going wrong.

I love my work and life in the Foreign Service, but there are some days that just leave me feeling defeated. I've had a couple of those in the past month, but thankfully my coworkers and friends at Post and around the world are there to validate my efforts when I need a self-esteem boost. While external validation is wonderful and has been particularly appreciated recently, I also need to do what I can to keep myself happy and healthy, inside and out.

Regular exercise contributes a lot to staying even-keeled, and I've discovered that Zumba after work is a fun, social activity that gets me off the treadmill/elliptical and is well worth getting home later some nights. My colleagues and I keep each other motivated to go, since it's much more fun with a decent sized group, and we make sure to laugh a lot as well. Plus, I'm finally getting the steps to Pharrell's song 'Happy' down, so that's a plus!

To compensate for getting home later a few nights a week, I've been very good at cooking a big meal on Sundays so I have dinners for the rest of the week. I am generally fine eating the same thing for several nights in a row, and this way I don't stress about what to make or how much time it'll take to make since all I need to do is reheat. We work long days Monday to Thursday, and since I need to keep a fairly rigid sleep schedule to stay healthy, every moment saved is precious. My cats agree that more evening cuddle time is important

Regular facials, massages, reflexology, and mani/pedis is another way to stay happy, especially since the services are so affordable here. I really should take more advantage of these opportunities for the remainder of my tour.

One of my favorite things, no matter where in the world I am, is planning and anticipating getaways. I love traveling, particularly if it involves seeing animals, and right now I have a lot to look forward to. TripAdvisor is an instant pick-me-up as I read reviews of the places I'm going soon and get giddily excited. The NYT did an article about the importance of anticipation for vacations this week, and it definitely struck a chord.

Finally, I have my awesome friends to rely on. Whether it's high tea, venting sessions, or teaming up to find homes for neighborhood kittens, my friends at Post play a big part in my happiness. While I'm very sad to bid adieu to many of them this summer, it means both that a new crop of potential friends is moving in and that I have more worldly destinations to visit when departing friends get to new posts.

I look forward to learning about other happy-keeping strategies around the world!