Do I Need Another Attitude Adjustment?

Okay. So I was on my exercise bike the other day pedalling, listening to an audio book, and leafing through magazines and I came across an article in an old issue of Shape magazine. About making exercise fun. The benefits of looking at exercise as something enjoyable. And I started thinking about how I exercise. And how I discovered many years ago that I need to be entertained while I exercise. Doing something fun while I exercised eventually changed my attitude towards it. I used to think of exercising as a chore; now I look forward to it. I simply needed an attitude adjustment.

Make Exercise Fun article from Shape magazine.

The article in Shape cites a study which found that when we look at exercise as fun instead of a chore, we benefit not only from the exercise but also from what follows. Apparently we eat fewer treats afterward. Researchers said they believe that “when you frame your workout in terms of the effort it requires, you may search for ‘compensation’ in the form of food. But when you view exercise as an enjoyable part of your day, you’re less likely to turn to treats as a reward.” Huh. That’s pretty cool, I’d say.

But aside from the added benefit of not eating snacks afterward, changing our mindset about exercise can get us out there moving our bodies. That’s the main thing as far as I’m concerned. One very difficult year at school, when I had huge classes, including two rambunctious grade ten classes of 34 and 36 students, I remember cherishing my exercise time. I’d take my running gear to school and run on my lunch hour. Besides the actual running, listening to music on my headphones and getting outside really helped, giving me a much needed thirty or forty minutes of alone time. Time where I didn’t obsess over my classes. That semester, I never once thought, “I have to go for my run.” I always thought, “Thank god I get to go for my run, today.”

I remember one day many years later when Erica, a young colleague, was heading home from work. She trudged to the door, shoulders slumped, saying, “I have to go for my run when I get home.” And in my best older colleague, pedantic voice I replied, “Now, now, none of that. You should say, “I GET to go for my run.”‘ A few days later, as she trudged off home, she said, “When I get home, I have to…” Then she stopped, glanced over at me, and sighed. “When I get home I GET to go for my run.” And she rolled her eyes. Okay, I don’t think we made any headway there in attitude adjustment. Ha. I guess it doesn’t work with everyone.

But I wonder now that Erica has two small boys at home, and has been teaching her classes from home, and wrangling her students on-line for three months, if she feels any different about “getting to go for her run.” Hmm. I must remember to ask her.

Some exercise, though, is hard to view as anything but a chore. Like sitting on an exercise bike. That’s why I distract myself with something fun. Like listening to audio books, and searching for new haircuts and make-up for women with white hair on Pinterest. And since the pandemic, I’ve also been making phone calls when I’m on the bike. Checking in with my sisters or with friends. One day when my sister and I fell into discussing clothes, I pedalled way longer than I’d intended. Now why doesn’t that surprise you?

And a couple of weeks ago, when walking by myself or with Hubby began to get a bit same-y, I resuming my weekly walks with a friend. Albeit, physically distanced walks. Walking with a buddy, who is NOT my husband, worked wonders for my mental state. Partly because yakking can be sooo comforting. Partly because we could discuss our respective partners with whom we’d been locked down for months. And funnily enough, each time we’ve walked, we’ve overshot our turning spot on the trail because we’ve been so intent on our conversation. I think I mentioned in a previous post, the last time we walked, we looked around and said, “Where the heck are we?” Ha.

And thinking about my attitude adjustment with respect to exercise, or changing up my exercise which then changed my attitude, lead me to think about the whole growing out my roots thing. How my white roots were such an affront to me two months ago. But since I’ve started playing with hair styles, and make-up, and wardrobe choices the whole thing has become kind of fun. My mindset changed. And thus my attitude towards my natural colour became less, uh, combative. Ha.

So, I seem to be on a number of journeys this year, of mindset change and attitude adjustment. I guess, in many ways, we all are. And I began to wonder where else in my life I needed an attitude adjustment.

Of course the Black Lives Matter movement and the on-going protests have triggered an examination of my attitudes towards racial inequality. And started me on a journey of education and hopefully better understanding. But I’ll get back to you on all that at a later date. I’ve barely begun that journey.

I chatted with my sister on the phone today about the idea behind this post. And she said she’s been on a sort of attitude adjustment journey herself since the pandemic began. About her own life. About retirement. And about taking better care of herself, not putting everyone and everything before herself. She said she had taken a break while cleaning their bathrooms, to call me today. I guess our chat was her treat, so to speak.

“Ah… cleaning,” I said. “Now that’s where I really need an attitude adjustment.” As you might know if you’ve been reading my blog for while. I hate cleaning. Really, really hate it. And what makes that problematic is that I hate mess almost as much. I tidy every morning, but put off the actual cleaning as long as I can. I wrote a couple of posts about this years ago. And someone suggested a blog called Fly Lady. One thing the lady said that stuck with me is that we can do anything for fifteen minutes. Even if we hate it.

So I tried that. Doing a little bit of cleaning each day. And it worked for a while. Except the darned cleaning was never done! I never had the “thank god that’s done and I don’t have to do it again for a while” feeling. I’ve tried listening to my audio books while I clean. And that alleviates some of the pain. But not enough. I tried stopping for breaks, a cup of tea, and a bit of a read. That works okay, especially if Hubby is golfing and is out of the house for hours and hours. I can be as slow as I like, without him interrupting me. I can leave the vacuum in the middle of the floor and sit with my book and tea for twenty minutes or so, then sigh and go back at it.

I’ll tell you people, I am such a drama queen when it comes to cleaning. I groan and moan and sigh when I have to do it. Silently, of course. And you know what I’ve decided? I don’t need an attitude adjustment here. I’m pretty good at changing my mindset over some things. But no way, no how am I ever going to be able to convince myself that cleaning is enjoyable. I simply need a house cleaner. I need to hire someone to clean my house. Period.

Yep. The search starts today.

Phew. That felt good.

So now it’s your turn my friends. Are you in need of any attitude adjustments? Any un-fun chores that you have convinced yourself can be fun?


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39 thoughts on “Do I Need Another Attitude Adjustment?”

  1. Sue, your house, yard and garden is so beautiful-living by the river is like in a fairy tale (I hope, there are no floods)
    I feel sometimes as a Queen of Adjustments…. some situations in life (like right now) we can’t change, so, life is easier if we adjust. I’m the first one for a change, if it’s possible, and/or for a fight for better or against the worse, but sometimes….. One has to pick one’s battles

    1. You are so right. Adjusting was very necessary this year, for everyone, more or less. Stu and I are lucky to have had less adjustment required than many others.

  2. Think I might have an attitude problem . I’m never going to enjoy ironing as you’re unlikely to ever enjoy gardening. Best to avoid it to my mind . Like sport & running It’s easily avoided . Housework , not so much unless you don’t mind living in a mess but hubby shares the work there . In fact he does more than I do – he’s better at it you see 😉I’m happy cooking though .

  3. Dusting and polishing – I detest both with a passion but give me silver to polish and I’m a happy bunny. Same goes for washing and ironing I love them both.

  4. I’m with you on housework. Simply cannot stand it–there will be no adjusting. Tidying, yes. Deep cleaning…arghh.

  5. Well I have to say I don’t particularly like house cleaning. To be honest, my husband does most of it, the vacuuming and the washrooms. I’m in charge of dusting. I don’t mind it. But, I have a lot of trouble getting that initial push. Then I’m good……..
    I’ve had a huge mindset change during the pandemic with respect to my hair and my exercise. I’ve created an exercise routine for most days that lasts about 3hrs. And a love it. It’s a mix of cardio (via online and YouTube classes), stretches and strengthening. I absolutely look forward to it every day. I challenge myself with my steps and with the intensity of the exercise………
    Finally my hair. I had my first hair appointment yesterday after months of missing my dear hairdresser Tina. After much debating with myself and, seeing how so people responded positively to my “COVID hair”; and also, after a lengthy discussion with Tina, I decided not to colour nor highlight my hair. I’m going to let it grow out grey and see if I like it. I’m actually two coloured – the front is light greyish with a bit of colour left and the back is a darker salt and pepper look. Tina says I’ll need two more cuts before all the colour is gone. Then we’ll take it from there. I may change my mind but this way gives me more options than if I coloured it now…… Oh, and I’m letting it grow a bit longer as well………That’s it folks – sorry Sue for any run on sentences or split infinitives!! Lol.

  6. Ok, I’ll go off the path and admit I like cleaning. (I know, it’s nuts.) And I love looking around at a clean house. But I don’t do it as much as I used to, and I hate doing it unless I’m home alone. For some reason it calms me. Maybe because it’s putting thing in order, maybe because it reminds me of Saturday mornings when I was still at home and my mom would knock on my bedroom door: ” OK, you can sleep until 10 and then you have get up and help clean.” Or maybe I’m just looking for something I can control in this crazy world. Ha!

    As for hair, I decided to leave most of my Covid length at the latest cut and see how it goes. I’m not thrilled, but it’s growing on me (groan). We’ll see how long I go before I run back and say “Pixie, please. Pronto.”

  7. Good morning
    Attitude adjustment…oh yes, so badly need one.
    I have my husbands bike set up in the dungeon/ basement and I avoid it…the seat is to small..ha! That’s my excuse!
    I wish I could motivate myself.
    We sold our home recently and housework was a huge must and I believe it paid off. I don’t mind it as I enjoy the instant results.
    I’m not in a rush to see the hairdressers as it’s long, goes into a pony or now a bun and it’s great for hot summer days.
    Enjoy your hot Sunday…x

  8. Oh yes. Lockdown has forced me to change the way I regard a lot of things in my life and it has resulted in a much more relaxed mind. I like all kinds of housework and bringing order to my small world has helped me process the bigger world outside the front door. And exercise is important but I don’t drive myself, tutting if I don’t get round to it. I intended running today but it is chilly and grey and wet so I am sewing instead. The biggest change of all is that I no longer permit myself to feel guilty if I don’t care to do things, and I do what I please now, within the new guidelines. Staying home, keeping my distance, entertaining myself. Basically what I have always loved doing and now not having to explain. Enjoy your cleaner.

  9. Hi there! I discovered your blog earlier this week and have so enjoyed reading your posts. I also love books(gentle) and fashion and have discovered some new authors based upon your recommendations. I am a teacher in the southern U.S. and it was sad to be unable to close out the year with my kindergarten class. I must admit I have enjoyed the down time, but have felt guilty when thinking of so many who have suffered. One thing I love about my husband(also a teacher) is that he always helps me clean because he wants me to have down time with him-so sweet! P.S. I loved your tea post about tea making. There is a ritual to iced tea making here in the South as well. Have a great day!

  10. I am with you on the cleaning. I keep things quite neat (sometimes neat piles), but getting to the cleaning – not so good. And, to add to that, I love dishes, furniture, books, etc., so there is a lot to keep clean. I am fortunate to have a husband always willing to help. In fact, if I start puttering around, getting the dusting cloths out, he is right there saying, “what can I do?”. I really appreciate it, but sometimes I just want to putter undisturbed.
    Since Covid I have tried to have little improving things going on. I am keeping a journal of this unusual time, we are reading a book on history together and playing music every day (me on piano and Larry on his double bass). These are all new habits and do help.
    I also have to enjoy exercise. I watch BBC series while I walk on the treadmill each day, my little treat. I am determined to keep up my strength. My Mom always said, “ you have to keep moving.” And, she did until the day she died at 87.
    Some days I really need an attitude adjustment, as even with all my little new habits, I sometimes feel much anxiousness and anger come over me. Uncharted territory.

  11. Hi Sue,

    My attitude adjustment needed to happen with exercise, housecleaning and ironing.

    Exercise became much easier once I got into a routine and time of day I liked. It is has become a habit now and I like the results. I also have a Fitbit and have fun challenging myself with steps and active minutes.

    When it comes to housecleaning, similar to Wendy and Arlene, my Husband and I do it together. He does washrooms and vacuuming and I do dusting, laundry and give the kitchen a good wipe down. We do this every Saturday morning. I quite often say to him “can’t we just call Steve” a good friend of ours who started a housecleaning business when he retired. My Husband will roll his eyes at me, start cleaning and off we go. My adjustment comes when I touch all the beautiful to me treasures I have accumulated over the years. They bring back such wonderful memories of places we’ve visited and the next thing I know I am enjoying myself.

    My Husband does like to iron and I did hate it. Now that I am retired, I find I don’t mind it as long as I can put on a good murder mystery to listen to while I’m doing it.

    My hair appointment was this past week. It was wonderful to see my Stylist and and get my very short pixie back again…woohoo!

    I hope you Ladies are enjoying your Sunday. All the best,

  12. OK, I need help with exercise.I need to do it. I used to be really strong and climbed mountains. Now??? I’ve started walking up in our hills. I wind up absolutely exhausted for the rest of the day. I’ve got a treadmill but it is not as beautiful as the hills. Help! Get me motivated and in shape again. What’s your routine? I need to know.

    1. Hmmm. Well, I walk about twice a week, for a 60 to 80 minutes. Then I pedal my exercise bike the other days for 40-50 minutes, or Hubby and I ride our bikes. I do something every day, and every couple of weeks I take a day off. I hate exercise classes, so I don’t do those. I try for 300 minutes of cardio a week. Having a number as a goal works for me. And I always listen to a podcast or my audio books when I pedal or when I walk on my own. That keeps me moving. I try for a weight workout at least once a week. I should do that more often, and am currently trying for every 4 or 5 days. When I first made exercise a priority, I was running but I can’t do that anymore because of my knees. Hubby taught high school Phys ed and years ago he advised me to make sure I kept moving for 30 minutes at a time, if I had to slow down that was fine, just keep moving. That really simple advice helped me get started. I’m not a natural, but have found a way to keep going by entertaining myself. I get my books from They have everything from Jane Austen to murder mysteries and the narrators are wonderful. I just lose myself in the book and forget I’m exercising. Why not ration your hill walking, and do something easier in the meantime. Think of the treadmill as training for the hill walking, maybe. I’m no expert, I just know what works for me. And I know that for me to keep motivated I need a measurable goal, one I can count. Like 30 minutes 4 days a week, or 300 minutes, etc. Otherwise I slack off. Hope this helps Sandra. 🙂

  13. Housecleaning? I guess I could write a book on that; I know I should write a book on that.

    My husband and I owned a residential cleaning business. We got to a point in life when we wanted to do some volunteer work that required 70 hours a month. He had worked for a steamship agency for decades and I was a questioned document examiner. I couldn’t do bills of lading; he couldn’t analyze handwriting. But, we wanted to work together parttime, have only one car, and enjoy our secular choice. What to do? We looked at each other and laughed. “Cleaning, of course!” we said in unison. We enjoyed the work and the result. We had done it in our own home and had trained our two sons to do it. (We gave them “responsibilities” instead of “chores” and the benefits of that training spilled over into their adult lives.)

    It worked out great for us. At first, we had to take anybody. First, “Miss Piggy” who left unwashed dishes on every horizontal surface she owned. Week-old petrified food removal ate up half of the time we were there. Within a month, we fired her (nicely) as a client.

    For some, their favorite sport was haggling over price. Not our game. Through referrals, we built a clientele of fair and appreciative people who paid what we asked for doing high-quality work. The key is to match the right worker with the right householder. A frank interview helps to clarify that.

    I kept careful notes on what I learned about the work, dealing with clients, including their attitudes and ours.

    It is a more complex subject than it may appear to be. Many people see cleaning as a distasteful but necessary evil to get done with so as to get on with what really matters. As some commenters have said, there are tasks that are easier to take on, even enjoy, while others are dreaded. Emotions get tied up with the whole thing–very evident in the remarks here.

    Yes, hiring a cleaner is a good option if you hire wisely. Good cleaning work takes brains, interest in the project, and the ability to analyze and prioritize. Most good ones work by the job, not by the hour. It is best to hire someone who likes the work and gets satisfaction from doing it.

    So, Sue, I’ll share a few observations in a list, which may be helpful in your search.
    1. Hire wisely by thinking beyond the obvious. Cleaners come to know a great deal about their clients. “Chatty Cathys” may enjoy talking about you to others. Discretion is a valuable trait. (In our case, we never revealed the people we worked for or anything about them.) They also may want to chat while they work. That gets habitual if it is not business-like from the first.

    2. During the interview, householders often feel a little apprehensive because they realize someone new will be in the home and have access to most areas of it. We found that the woman of the house tended to talk a lot because of nervousness. Try to listen more and see how you feel about the person. If you are comfortable, allow the potential cleaner the option of walking alone through the house so she can get a feel for how she would set up her system to do it. Then, afterward, ask her how she might proceed if she worked for you. She should be able to tell you. Of course, her method would evolve as she gets to know the house and your living pattern. It takes a few times to achieve rhythm.

    5. If you must be in the house, in your case, two of you? (I am speaking of post-lockdown once it comes) figure out where it will be convenient to be during the cleaning time. It is very difficult to work around clients who move around in the house. It cuts down on the efficiency of the cleaner because it upsets a good routine.

    6. Talk about equipment and products. Who supplies what. An independent contractor usually brings her own machine(s). In our case, we did that since we maintained them well. We also brought our own products. Some clients had a particular product they asked us to use, which they purchased themselves.

    5. I provided a spiral notebook (nice paper and pretty :)) to the householder. “This record of your house belongs to me.” The client kept it in a specific drawer with the pen. All communication about the cleaning was written to ensure each person knew what was said. It obviated misunderstandings. Brief notes. Sometimes longer. Many were funny from both sides. I used to pop cartoons inside from time to time.

    If they needed to replace a product, I mentioned it in “the book.” I also alerted clients to anything we observed that might lead to a bigger problem. A small leak under a bathroom sink, etc, for example. They appreciated it.

    6. Decide before you hire what matters most in your house. A cleaner cannot do everything. We did not change beds, do laundry, clean inside cabinets, wash dishes, clean the oven or refrigerator, or clean areas that were not ready to be cleaned. Our clients prepared the house before we came: they agreed to tidy and pick up so we could devote our time to cleaning. Some of our clients took vacations lasting even three weeks. They still had us come. Then, we did projects that were out of the ordinary, such as inside kitchen cabinets, the refrigerator, etc. If they were gone for 3 weeks, we spent the first two times doing internal projects. We always stayed longer at the house when we had full access. We spent the last cleaning preparing the house for their return.

    7. I usually specified that we did not touch personal desks. We left that to the client to care for unless it was always clear of documents. We needed to take great care around spaghetti cords on the floor. One client accused us (the correct verb) of disconnecting her cord. She announced that as soon as we came in one morning. Before I commented I asked my husband to come into her office and simply asked him ‘if he had vacuumed under her desk the week before.’ He thought and said, “No, I do that every other week so it is due today.” She still looked dubious. I said, “If we are responsible for a mishap, we will own it. If not, someone else owns it.” Later, she found out her sneaky stepdaughter had used her computer (and located her list of passwords in her desk.) Stepmama had to lock her own bedroom door when she left to prevent the robbery of her duds and makeup.

    It is wonderful to enjoy a clean house so I hope you find the ideal person. It might be good to do interviews with both you and your husband present. Even though you get referrals from others, you both need to feel good about the person you hire.

    I look back on those years with fondness. I recently connected with a couple we cleaned for almost 20 years ago. They had no idea I had moved to Ecuador. Our good memories of knowing one another are mutual. They hired me to organize a lot of areas in their house and then to teach their teenage kids how to clean. (It was an offshoot business.) “Both have been married for many years and are still using the same methods to train our grandchildren that you taught them.”

    Best wishes.

    1. Wow. Thanks so much, Elaine. So great to have the view of a professional. I will come back to this wonderful advice when the time comes.

  14. Hi Sue, I wish I could have an ordered house without having to do the work too! 😂
    I look back on a time when I dusted downstairs / upstairs, alternating each morning, while the kettle boiled for my coffee, before work. ( so much more organised then!) Consequently the house was pretty much dust free which made dusting so easy. Now, however good my intentions are, I never seem to be in that sort of a routine and I’m so easily lead away from the housework. Something better always comes along! Even during lockdown, there’s been cooking/ baking , walking, sitting in the sunshine, reading, exercising, zoom chats etc. So easy to procrastinate. I’m not even sure that I hate it really, other than how repetitive it is and it feels as though it’s never finished. I had cleaners for a while, when the children were babies/toddlers due to back problems and to be honest I stressed so much that I wasn’t able to get the house clean before they arrived!
    The biggest adjustment I’ve made I guess is just to relax and enjoy being at home with no plans at all to travel. I’m compensating by travelling vicariously via the monitor on my treadmill! ( I’m sooo glad we bought one at the beginning of lockdown! ) I’ve hiked in Switzerland ( of course! 😂) France, the Grand Canyon and the area around Lake Tahoe. These incline hikes as well as being fantastic exercise are just so interesting , making exercising seem fun, even if my body doesn’t always agree!
    Have a good week Sue, glad you’ve finally got a hair appointment with Carmen. Hoping hairdressers here will open in early July.

    1. Some days I revel in the idea that I don’t have to be making plans or finalizing travel dates etc etc… on others I am so restless that I’m annoying to be around. Your treadmill monitor sounds like a good way to travel these days.

  15. Sue, I believe the $$ we spend on our cleaner contributes more to our quality of life than anything other than food and utilities! When both of us worked full-time, it “gave us back our weekends”. Ours comes every other week, on Thursday. On Wednesday evening, we make sure everything is picked up and tidied (NOT cleaned), and that in itself makes a HUGE difference. It’s not a big house, and there’s only 2 of us, so one person can do a really thorough job in 4 hours. We strip the bed and put our sheets in the washer when we leave that morning. She puts them in the dryer when she gets there, then makes the bed before she leaves. Thursday evening is a DREAM to come home to! As I don’t have to spend time scrubbing the bathtub, I can do things like empty the bugs out of light fixtures, etc. So many good suggestions from others, that if you follow, you’ll get the right person, and never regret it!!!

    1. I’m with you, Mary Katherine. I allot a day or two for cleaning every two weeks, aside from regular tidying. And I never get to the little things that I might do if I didn’t have to do the big stuff. I will use Elaine’s helpful advice when I finally find someone who cleans in my area.

  16. Good post and some good responses! I was interested in your reply to Sandra re exercise / motivation – so thanks for that! And Elaine’s info re hiring a cleaner was extremely comprehensive – wish I could afford to hire someone – like you, I love a clean, tidy house, but not the housework!
    Did you watch the TV series of Belgravia?

  17. I’m not a big fan of cleaning either but I think if I had your pretty pink Miele at least vacuuming would be a little more fun. 🙂

  18. Hi Sue. Your blog is my absolute favorite. I’ve been here for years, but I think this is my first time commenting, although what I have is a question. You mentioned running on your lunch hour back when you were teaching. Could you explain how you managed doing that in the middle of your day, as far as getting sweaty and generally disheveled when you needed to return to the classroom? This is literally my biggest problem with exercise–the need to shower and wash and dry my hair afterward. I have to plan on an extra hour AFTER the exercise to do all that, and there’s never a convenient time to lose those hours. How did you do it in the middle of the work day? Looking forward to your insight! And thank you for your blog!

    1. I probably should have clarified all this in the post. Early on, I ran on my lunch hour if I had my prep time the period just before or just after lunch. And if I didn’t have a duty or I didn’t have to use my spare to fill in for teachers who were absent. The phys ed office always had lockers for the phys ed teachers and a bathroom with a shower. So I borrowed a locker and used their shower when I was done running. It was a squeeze sometimes if my spare was only 50 minutes because I’d have to run, shower, and eat my lunch in an hour and a half. It was easier when we became a semestered school with 75 minute classes. I would run on my spare whether it coincided with lunch or not. But I taught High school, and if you’re an elementary teacher I realize that your prep periods might be less regular than our were. And probably a lot fewer. Sometimes I’d run on my lunch hour and eat my lunch on my spare, just to avoid all the “shop talk” at lunch. “Alone time” in teaching is something to be cherished. Ha.

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