I am sipping my first Monday morning coffee on the first work day of the new year. Getting up on time was no challenge; the alarm was set. As is so often the case the night before I return to work after a break, though, I slept restlessly and lightly, waking often. I used the hot shower to ease the stiffness in my joints, and put on a lively playlist to start my morning, dancing to the Kongos as I made my coffee.

The night stayed cold, and the snow remains from yesterday; the walk to work will be icy. I am unconcerned. I will stay comfortable today with a hiking base layer under my work clothes, good boots, and my handy “Yaktrax” for the icy walk. I’m not enthusiastic about getting back to work, honestly, and I am at risk of being highly distracted by exciting things going on for me outside the office – a good practice today will be basic mindfulness applied to work tasks; being fully engaged in each work task results in improved efficiency, better quality output, and less likelihood of daydreaming or my mind wandering. I’ll have to balance that with basic good self-care practices to ensure I take appropriate breaks, get calories and medication on time, and set clear expectations with myself and others about working hours. It can be so tempting to work long hours ‘getting caught up’ – but it is a poor way to treat the woman in the mirror, and there is no assurance that such an effort matters in the slightest to anyone else.

I sip my coffee and think ahead to the work day, distracting myself from my morning without meaning to. I let it go and come back to this moment, to the music, to the morning. I look around and see a couple of things that I’d rather not see when I get home from work and smile; there is still time to do some chores before I leave for work.

Today is a good day to take care of the woman in the mirror, she certainly does a lot for me.