I went for an early morning walk today and took some pictures while it was still quiet & the snow was fresh and crisp. Ordinary landscapes become transformed with a dusting of snow but with several inches of snow the local park becomes a landscape reminisce of Narnia; a magical wilderness with nothing but the crunching sound of snow beneath your feet & the sound of birds rustling in the trees above your head. Here are some of the pictures I took; I hope you like them.
Did you leave the house this morning under the cover of darkness, scrape an inch thick layer of ice from your car (last used on or around the 19th December) and begin that trudge to work on desperately quiet roads?
Did you see a warm glow emitting from the houses of your neighbours, inside blissfully unaware of your imminent commute and probably not yet even surfacing from under their duvets? Did you attempt to head to the shops for a quick lunch but had to turn back as you were overrun with smug shoppers, still on their holidays with days to kill and wandering at a snail’s pace around Marks & Spencers?
Then A Big Welcome to you my friends! You are in good company. Read on and I will attempt to get you through this difficult period of the year, using a powerful combination of bitter experience and some rather amateur attempts at positive mentality.
Yes, this is my top tips for Working Over Christmas or a being a WOC (apologies for rubbish acronym but I couldn’t help myself being back in the workplace an’ all) from a WOC Veteran of 3 years (and counting…)
1. Ease yourself back in to your pre-Christmas food regime
Now, just because you’re back in ‘work mode’ with respect to attendance and actually having to do work, this does not mean you can’t reward yourself with the odd indulgent snack throughout the day to take the edge off the post holiday blues. It’s still far too early to be starting any New Years Heath Kicks. Save that for when ‘the others’ have come back. Treat yourself to a giant pastry (like me this morning) or even a mince pie (erm, also me) and at least your digestive system can still feel like it’s still on holiday.
2. Snack Attack!
You know the tonne of snacks and general Christmas treats everyone brought in just before they left for the holidays? They’re still here. And guess what? No one is going to want to touch them when they get back after they’ve had a fortnight of chocolate selection boxes and cakes. Do them a favour and remove the temptation before they get back and complain about them.
3. Ever Chaired a Meeting but never been senior enough to do so? Now’s your chance!
Now, since nobody is around, use the opportunity to make some important decisions around here. You have the rare opportunity to simultaniously be the Chair, minute taker AND core attendee of your very own meeting! Now don’t let the power go to your head!…
4. Perfect that ‘post holiday’ conversation
You know the one…
‘Did you have a good Christmas?’
‘Yeah, it was good thanks, what about you?’
‘Yeah really enjoyed it thanks, it was a bit quiet but it was nice to have a break’ etc etc BLAH BLAH BLAH
Use the additional week to your advantge and enchance that post Christmas exchange of words. Rehearse some Christmas holiday stories that will astound, entertain and perhaps even concern your colleagues. If you’re short of ideas, simply steal a plot from a recent soap opera storyline and (as long as your colleague doesn’t actually watch said soap) have fun watching your colleagues awkward reponse.
‘Do you have a good Christmas?’
‘No, not really actually.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Well, this might sound a bit far fetched, but I found out on Christmas Day that my sister is actully my Mother.’ (REMEMBER TO KEEP A STRAIGHT FACE AT THIS POINT)
‘Oh right…um, I don’t know what to say’. And from this moment henceforth, no one else will dare to ask you how your Christmas holiday was. (You’re Welcome WOCs!)
5. Last but not least, the quiet…oh the peace and quiet
This week, my office is down from 30 to erm, 3. And this means the office is practically deserted. No, I’m not suggesting doing anything untoward here, because after all you have professional standards to maintain. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t introduce just a leeeetle bit of fun to break up the long days of loneliness. For example, haven’t you always wanted to sing Celine Dion ‘My Heart Will Go On’ at the top of your voice in the open plan office, or wear a Mullet wig and feather boa whilst sat working at your desk. For no other reason than you can. And it would be mildly amusing.
Now my fellow WOCs, if you have managed to get this far in this article, I’d love to hear from you in my comments section…what silly thing have you introduced to bring a teeny tiny of joy to your working day whilst everyone is still shoving down the last remnants of the turkey and watching the third repeat of the Miranda Christmas special on the TV. The Fools.
I hope this article helps get you though this difficult period. And please, follow me if you’d like to read more from me. I’m fairly new at this Blogging malarky, so would really appreciate your likes and or ‘feedback’…or what I like to refer to as a sh*it sandwich; a slice of negativity in between two big thick slices of positivity!
And last but not least, I wish you a very Happy 2015!
Something you should probably know about me is I do a LOT of running. I started a few years ago, not for your usual weight loss reasons, but to improve my mood. After a difficult start, it ended up having a phenomenally positive effect on my life and significantly reduced my stress levels. If I’m in a bad mood, I’ll decide to go for a run thus completely forgetting what I was in a bad mood about in the first place!
The thing about runners however that can really irritate non runners is that they can become quite evangelical about running. Google ‘inspiration running quotes’ and you will see what I mean. I’ve selected a few here for your viewing pleasure (or annoyance depending on how inactive you have been of late!):
Here’s my personal favourite for when I’m having a ‘slow’ day:
So when my friend Sharon suggested I sign up for the Loftus Poultry run just before Christmas because it would be ‘fun’, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. You see, I sign up for races probably every few weeks as they always have a really good atmosphere and having something to aim for keeps you motivated to keep training.
And I knew at this one there would be Christmas fancy dress.
You will see from my previous running post that there are some ‘unusual’ costumes which can appear at these events. Jesus was my personal favourite this year. Other than the Santa hat worn at my previous race, I haven’t worn a costume as such for a race before so thought I’d give it a go; it is Christmas after all! So ‘Mary Christmas’ was born. I customised my existing lady santa costume with the following:
1. Present bows
2. Christmas Gift Tags
3. Plastic cake decorations that I’d found in a cake tin 5 minutes before I set off which I’d sewn into the skirt, my personal favourites were Mr Reindeer and Mr Robin.
I drove to pick up Sharon from the main road and found her stood in full Santa costume complete with beard. We got some funny looks on the drive there!
Loftus Poultry run (http://www.poultryrun.info) has been going for over 30 years now and attracts both serious and comedy runners purely out to enjoy the day. On this occasion, I was in the latter category. The race has got it’s name because the main prizes consist of Poultry from a local butcher; when I arrived I saw a series of chickens and turkeys being loaded onto the a table for afterwards (don’t worry, they’re already dead!).
So after having a quick catch up with my running friends (we are rather a sociable bunch!) we all set off from Loftus leisure centre for the 8 mile mainly uphill slog which is a loop around the surrounding villages. It was a very tough race. I spent the first two miles trying to keep pace with a man who was playing Christmas music from his phone (it can be surprisingly motivating!) and was keeping up with the main crowd until about mile 5. The I hit massive wall. Thoughts going through my mind consisted of:
‘Why is it so windy?!’
‘Where has everyone gone?!’
‘This is NOT fun!’
‘I wonder if I’ll win best costume?’
On this occasion (and this happens some times in races) I just lost all motivation to continue and just started walking. This is highly unusual for me, but I always refer to the quotation below in rare circumstances such as this:
Towards the end as I ran through the housing estate behind the leisure centre, some little girls were stood on the window sill in their bedroom and were cheering me on to finish and shouted ‘Merry Christmas!’. It’s moments like this that keep you going to the finish and I was spurred on to start running again (albeit slowly).
‘Merry Christmas, Mary Christmas!’ Shouted the crowds as I did a last sprint towards the finish line.
‘Never AGAIN!’ I said through gritted teeth to Sharon as I ran through it.
As always however, once I’d had my post race cup of tea, I was feeling rather euphoric and very quickly changed my mind about the whole experience,
‘Now I know what to expect from the course, I’ll definitely do it again next year!’
I didn’t win best costume in the end; there wasn’t a best costume prize but were instead giving bottles of wine away to those who finished in fancy dress. They’d run out of wine by the time I showed up!