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10 Ways to Stay Positive (When You Don’t Feel Like It) During the Holidays

10 Ways to Stay Positive (When You Don’t Feel Like It) During the Holidays

Marketing specialists were onto something when they started using positive words and symbols in their advertisements and logos. We all need little reminders sometimes. Jeep and LG got it right with their Life is Good line of phones, t-shirts, caps, tire covers and everyday products. New England even hosts a Life is Good Company who sells good vibes along with their creative line of apparel, home, and pet products.

Is all this marketing really going to keep your spirits up? Maybe not. That’s where I come in. Having been down on myself in the past, suffered from anxiety, and even clinically depressed, I am determined to share the lifelines that saved me from my own pity party. The holiday season is wrought with opportunities to celebrate, but when you really don’t feel it, all the Christmas carols in the world won’t help (they might, though). You need real ways to keep from letting everyone else’s happiness magnify your lack of it.

Here are 10 real ways to recapture that positive spirit this season (and all year long):

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1. Count your blessings

Seriously. Life, health, a home, clothing, food and family are blessings. Hopefully, you have some of these; if not, keep counting. Don’t stop until you can’t think of any more! Write them down so you don’t forget and add to the list regularly.

2. Have a pity party

I thought we were getting away from this, you’re thinking. Yeah, but allowing yourself five or ten minutes (no more) to feel bad is okay, but then move on to something else. Bad things do happen, but they do not need to define us or our lives.

3. Get busy

Don’t sit around after your pity party. Do your daily activities and you can feel accomplished at least in those things. Let others, like your kids, spouse or your live-in Au Pair or nanny, take some of the work off your list, when reasonable.

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4. Do something for someone else

You don’t have to donate a million dollars or every spare minute of your time. Try to do something nice for someone every day, even if it is just opening the door for them, picking up something they drop, or just smiling and looking in their eyes.

5. Do yourself a favor

You deserve to do something nice for yourself, whether it be getting a manicure, haircut or a small, special purchase, do it. Don’t break the bank, but treat yourself right, with love and respect.

6. Write a letter or make a phone call

It can be a letter or call to someone you’ve been meaning to contact, an old friend or even a letter to yourself. Share your current life and inquire about theirs.

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7. Go to church

The walls will not fall down. Sometimes it is nice to sit and listen to a choir or a sermon to put things into perspective, no matter your religion. Try a candlelight service or midnight mass.

8. Watch the news

You’re thinking, has she lost it? That can be depressing, but here’s the catch: your life isn’t that bad. Compared to the terrible events that make the news, your life might seem more simple and not so bad after all. The old adage, “it could always be worse”, is true. You likely have lots to be positive about in your life.

9. Go for a walk

Now that the weather is not as nice, daily walks are harder to accomplish, but the fresh air will do you wonders, not to mention the beautiful sights and sounds you may discover in the fall and winter.

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10. Embrace the season

Sing or listen to carols, decorate your house or room and remember the reason for the season. The entire world is remembering times and promises of old. Share with family and friends by asking about their happiest times and favorite childhood memories. It will be over soon, with a new year full of new opportunities for you.

If you try all of these and still can’t see a reason that life is good, maybe it’s a good time to talk to someone about how you feel. Emotions can drive our actions, therefore deserve great respect and our attention. Our feelings can change so quickly, but while we are experiencing them, they are all-consuming. Remember that you are not alone, even when it feels that way. Your community likely has resources as well. Reach out to your doctor or find one to help. Even if you don’t believe me right now, I promise you that life is worth living every day and things do get better.

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Joan Lowell

Educator, Writer

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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