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10 Things Anyone Can Do to Cure the Holiday Blues

10 Things Anyone Can Do to Cure the Holiday Blues

The holiday season can be amazing: a time of gift-giving and celebration, when we have meals with loved ones, often witnessing and receiving the blessings of human generosity in full force. For some, it is a time filled with the wonder and magic of a child, and for others, it is a deeply spiritual time that demonstrates a time of renewal and hope. Still for many people, perhaps far many more than we dare to admit, the holidays can be very challenging. This challenge can even be exacerbated by the very belief that we are supposed to be so joyful during this time, and that something must be wrong with us for not being so. This downward cycle of the Holiday Blues can be remedied however. Here are some cures you can try if you find your spirits feeling low this holiday season.

1. Count your blessings

Make it a practice each day to say out loud what your blessings are in this life. Be clear that this process is not intended to suppress any real sadness or blues you might be feeling, as that would be dishonoring part of you that is real. But, it is a way to recognize that the inner focus on sadness is not the only focus worth your time and attention. Start with saying out loud the phrase: “I am blessed that…..” and let your subconscious mind fill in the gap without premeditating your answer. Keep it spontaneous and free flowing, not an intellectual exercise. You’ll be surprised how many times you realize a blessing that you may not have been consciously aware of: the kindness of a stranger, the beauty of a tree you encounter each day, that wonderful cup of tea or coffee you get each day as well as the smile of the person serving it to you. These seemingly small blessings add up, and can shift our awareness to acknowledge the greater blessings in our lives.

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2. Be of service to the world

A great way to heal your own suffering is to help soothe the suffering of others. This is true during the holiday season as well as beyond it. If the chaos of shopping at the mall is getting to you, and you don’t feel the holiday cheer, why not spend that same time bringing joy to someone else? Take the focus off of you and put it on bringing more light to the world. Give a donation of time or money to a worthy cause. Go help a friend with some project. Pick up any trash in the parks and on the sidewalks of your neighborhood. Write a letter to a the elderly. Here is one link that can help. There are many ways to be of service to the world. Pick something you feel passionate about so that it comes from the heart, and help make the world a better place.

3. Give something away for free

Giving away an item you value not only honors the holiday spirit but it also creates space in your life for something new. Think of those belongings that you value and are ready to release, which also might bring joy to someone you know: such as that old guitar you haven’t picked up in years, or that laptop that works great but doesn’t have the latest upgrades you want, or that cherished book in great condition which you have read and love but is sitting on the bookshelf now collecting dust. Give these items away to those who can put them to good use. It will bring joy to that person, and creates space in your life for you to bring in something new.

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4. Plan a feast, and then a fast, for something you want to manifest

Food is a big focus during the holiday season, so take charge of your food experience and give it a purpose. Allow yourself to partake in the festive meals, the holiday work party, or even a delicious dinner you cook for yourself. Each time you feast with others or in solitude, do so with a purpose. Intend that the food is a blessing. Bless it in your mind, or out loud, to represent something you want to bring into your life. Remember, we are what we eat, so visualize that piece of turkey (or tofurky) as the raise you are hoping for from your boss, or something else you want to manifest. Eat mindfully, as if every bite is helping make that dream come true in your mind’s eye. Then, balance the more heavy meals with a fast in the days after, maybe even to start the New Year. It can be a juice fast, water fast, or simply eating only fruit for a day or more. Most of the world’s spiritual traditions give emphasis to fasting for bringing powerful change into your life. So, balance the time you have spent feasting with some time spent fasting, keeping the focus on something you want to manifest for the New Year.

5. Share food with others

Since food is such a large part of the holidays, it is also a great way to create community. It doesn’t have to be complex and can actually be quite simple. If you have friends who live nearby, invite them over to enjoy a holiday dessert or snack. Even hot chocolate and cookies will do! A key ingredient to creating community is sharing food. If your friends are away for the holidays, invite an acquaintance or co-worker over, or that neighbor you say hello to but never get to really know. This is the time to widen that circle of community in your life, and enjoying a holiday dessert is the perfect excuse. Who knows? That acquaintance may become your new best friend.

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6. Say something kind to a stranger

Offering a simple hello or compliment to someone you don’t even know can raise your spirits as well as theirs. Be extra kind and generous with your words and use them to uplift those around you. It’s a very easy practice, and does wonders to brighten your day as well as theirs.

7. Shop less and exercise more

Sometimes the Holiday Blues is simply the result of the way we treat our bodies this time of year, as well as the way we treat our wallets, where both our bellies and credit card debt grow large. Spend less time shopping and more time burning calories, be it at the gym or working out at home.

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8. Watch an old movie that reminds you why life is amazing

Some people love watching classic holiday movies this time of year like Its A Wonderful Life starring James Stewart. But even if you prefer something of a different genre, remember movies are art, and art can be medicine for the soul. Sometimes, all we need are the right lines from a movie or song to remind us of what we need to hear—that our lives are precious and amazing gifts.

9. Find a place to meditate on New Years Eve

If you want an alternative to the traditional New Years Eve celebration, know that many yoga studios and meditation centers now offer New Years Eve meditations. It can be a wonderful and healthy way of starting the year. Simply making a commitment to attend can change your attitude weeks before the clock turns midnight to bring in the New Year.

10. Believe in your dreams and take action on making them real

Allow yourself to dream big dreams for the upcoming year. Then, buy a calendar for 2015, and write into each day of that calendar an action you will take for making your dreams become real.

Featured photo credit: Pretty red haired girl walking on frozen lake and making footpath via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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