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Alone for the Holidays? Here are Ten Ways to Lift Your Spirits

Alone for the Holidays? Here are Ten Ways to Lift Your Spirits

Holidays can be a very lonely time, particularly for those who spend the holidays solo. Below are ten tips to keep yourself balanced, sane and productive over the holidays, with options for both extroverts and introverts alike.

1) Plan your time in advance

You’ll have several days to fill up, so be proactive. Find books and movies you have always wanted to read and watch, and make a list of events that you’d like to attend. Without a plan you might find yourself being alone and bored, which will lower your spirits.

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2) Use your time wisely

Make a list of things you have always wanted to do but never had the time for. See this time alone as a gift: a stretch of time where you have total control to do whatever you want. Use it wisely.

3) Find support

Extroverts can reach out to others to touch base during the holidays. Note that scheduling time to talk with friends and loved ones makes contact more likely to happen. Introverts get support internally, so journaling and taking some time for personal reflection is a good idea.

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4) Don’t wallow

Holidays alone tend to be times when beating yourself up and getting depressed are more likely to happen. Do something fun, instead! Avoid solo holiday depression by re-framing your time by yourself as an opportunity to grow. Be grateful—some people who are enduring family dinners wish they were in your place.

5) Get social

Reach out to your social network and find out who is orphaned like you are and bring them together. Meet for dinner, a movie, go for drinks, or throw a party. Extend an invitation to those with whom you have a lot in common. Introverts may want to arrange one-on-one meetings with close friends, or have Skype chats with friends from afar.

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6) Accept Invitations

If friends invite you out to parties or to spend Christmas with their family, accept their invitations. If you feel you are being invited out of pity, get over it: self-pity is vastly overrated, and they wouldn’t invite you if they didn’t want you there.

7) Volunteer

Food banks, shelters and crisis centers are short-staffed during holidays when the demand is greatest. Helping out those in need will make you feel good, and will brighten other people’s holidays in turn.

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8) Indulge yourself

Holidays are a time when people indulge themselves, so splurge on a few things you wouldn’t ordinarily buy yourself. Comfort food is always welcome!

9) Random Act of Kindness

Do something kind. It might be feeding birds or squirrels in the park or buying a sandwich for a homeless person. It will make you feel lighter and more grateful for what you have.

10) Have Faith

If you are religious, find a church service to attend, or seek out something you regard as spiritual such as meditation, yoga, exercise, a walk in the park, or being around animals. Use this as an opportunity to replenish your spiritual juice.

Featured photo credit:  Young woman in Santa’s hats via Shutterstock

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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

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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