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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 December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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