Raise Your Morale: A Little Friday Zen (with a Side of Animals and Music)

In my previous blogs, I provided some shop talk about working as hard as you can for your future. This week, I want to say “Happy Friday!” by celebrating the lighter side of the work day. Let’s clink drinks and enjoy the sunshine (such as it is). Success is only worthwhile if you enjoy life on the way to achieving your goal—how else to perfect the art of happiness? It doesn’t hurt to feel grateful for the everyday elements that beam a little proverbial chlorophyll into the job experience.

Those of you who are lucky enough to hang out with animals while you work will be with me on this one: animals are special. Three of them roam around my house in shafts of sunlight while I write or paint or make coffee, and sometimes they even notice me. They are so used to each other that they’re almost like colleagues in an office hallway or kitchen. No one gathered around the water cooler at my previous jobs, for the record, but the kitchen was usually packed with people making coffee or pretending they weren’t looking for leftover cake in the fridge.

The kitten at my residence is so small that the dog can stand right over her without touching, and sometimes they ignore each other as they pass by on the stairs. This is amusing because the “wordless walk-by” is such typical office behavior, or perhaps more reminiscent of a Warner Brothers cartoon; either way, it certainly makes me appreciate the simple things. A dog or cat curled up in a patch of sunshine can be a revitalizing sight (as long as you’re immune to Nap Danger Zone) and much more endorphin-inducing than your laptop screen. A soft, furry friend who falls fast asleep on their back is a co-worker I’ll take any day! I applaud all workplaces that allow animals (and Benadryl).

Another work-day improver is melody. If you’re like me, music is essential. If you look closely at my DNA (you can see it if you squint), music notes hum and vibrate there. Working at home can be isolating if you don’t have a reason to leave during the day, especially in the winter when it’s dark at 4:30 p.m.! A favorite album makes for excellent company. On an overcast day, I can light incense and play Black Mountain’s epic self-titled album—suddenly I feel thankful to be surrounded by a rich atmosphere that smells like a temple and sounds like thunder. Even if I’m not particularly happy about a pressing deadline, arousing the senses stimulates the mind, which elevates mood, productivity and quality of work.

I use Songza.com to listen to mood/behavior-matching playlists. I can vouch for improved creative workflow, and as a bonus I’ve discovered that I love writing with instrumental hip hop in the background. You can check out any of my playlists here, as “whacon”: http://songza.com/user/8898281/.

TGIF! I wish you a wonderful November weekend. You get to play for two days of the week—make it count!

Allison Whalen

Allison is a freelance writer and multimedia artist based in Chelsea, Quebec. Since completing her MA at Carleton University, she has focused on professional and creative projects that aim to provide both efficiency and joy.

Twitter: @EclecticRoyale

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