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10 Ways To Fight Holiday Depression

10 Ways To Fight Holiday Depression

Holiday depression occurs when Christmas isn’t so merry and the holidays aren’t so happy. What should you do when this happens to you? How should you cope with this depressing experience? How can you fight holiday depression and get back to work?

Get out of that bed. Take a bath. And stop slouching!

These 10 stress-kicking and anxiety-busting tips will kick holiday depression away from you faster than you can say “Ho, ho, ho!”

1. Manage your expectations

What you’re doing: We’ve never quite gotten rid of the notion that the Christmas season is full of magic and endless possibility. As such, you think that just because it’s Christmas, your landlord wouldn’t charge you rent, your boss wouldn’t yell at you and your long-time crush would finally notice you. Hey, maybe people you’re not close with would automatically give you presents, too!

What you should do instead: Newsflash‒Christmas won’t magically transform your life! You’re still going to experience the same routine‒unless you do something about it. The holiday season may allow you to take breaks more and to eat more, but it will also let you spend more and expect more. Think realistically.

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2. Give back to the community

What you’re doing: You are buying extravagant gifts and comparing the prices of Christmas presents that you receive and the Christmas presents that you give. No wonder you’re depressed‒you’re not content with what you have!

What you should do instead: Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. Instead, feel better by asking your loved ones to come with you and spend a whole day with people who need more than you do. Go to your local orphanage. Help out at the soup kitchen. Hand out gifts to hospital patients. Give with a big heart and you’ll soon feel richer and happier.

3. Turn off the television (and don’t look at friends’ Facebook updates)

What you’re doing: You’re watching reality TV shows and celebrity news. Celebrity A spent Christmas traveling all over the world and Celebrity B spent New Year’s buying a brand new castle-like mansion. To make things worse, Friend A is going to a cruise to Europe while you’re stuck at work!

What you should do instead: Stop comparing your life with the lives of celebrities and billionaires. Contentment is the thief of joy, remember? Turn these holiday depression triggers off and no, unless you want to feel bad about yourself, do not look at them.

4. Spend time simply with significant people in your life.

What you’re doing: You go to amazing parties with expensive food and unlimited alcohol. Everything’s great except for one thing: you’re not spending this with the people who truly matter to you.

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What you should do instead: Forget the booze and the hors d’oeuvre. Why don’t you make a minimalist pasta dish, bring a pitcher of iced tea, bake a whole batch of cookies and ask your loved ones for a lovely picnic one afternoon? All the food and the luxury in the world are meaningless without the people you love, anyway.

5. Play the “Gratitude Game” with yourself.

What you’re doing: You take note of every nuisance that happens in your everyday life. That one-hour traffic which made you late, that jerk who stole your parking space and that waiter who served your food cold‒why are you paying attention to these things?

What you should do instead: Every night, before you go to bed, write something that you’re absolutely thankful for. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant like buying a yacht for yourself. Something short and sweet like your mother calling you to check up on you would do.

6. Listen to an inspirational talk about personal growth.

What you’re doing: You complain. Most of the time. Why? It’s because all you hear about on the radio is a mockery, a criticism or a snide comment about something.

What you should do instead: Download inspirational podcasts and listen to them while you’re on the way to work.

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7. Have a “Cost-Effective Challenge” and figure out innovative ways to treat yourself.

What you’re doing: You spend $200 for a single dinner because you’re feeling the effects of holiday depression. You book a session at one of the most luxurious spa places because you want to boast to your friends that you can afford to go there. You do excessive retail therapy and buy everything you’ve gotten your hands on.

What you should do instead: Have a simple chocolate fondue. Make your own spa session at home. Go to a local dollar store and buy five items that you really want. Having fun doesn’t mean breaking the bank!

8. Do MORE.

What you’re doing: You’re overbooking yourself to the point that you spend the night drinking away all your troubles and you spend the morning eating away all your worries? Stop.

What you should do instead: Before you mock this tip, hear me out. Doing MORE doesn’t mean that you have to be busier‒MORE actually stands for Move, Oxygenate, Rest & Eat.

9. See the joy in every moment and laugh a lot!

What you’re doing: You frown. You cry. You furrow your eyebrows. Mind the wrinkles, my friend!

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What you should do: Watch funny YouTube videos. Improvisational comedy shows like Whose Line Is it Anyway? and Improv-A-Ganza are great choices.

10. Spend 15 minutes on it.

What you’re doing: You procrastinate up until the last minute. So, when the deadline’s nearer, you struggle to finish everything. As a result, you’re left with a pair of eyebags, a runny nose and a sloppy result.

What you should do instead: We know that it’s hard to get any work done, especially during the holidays. However, don’t let this stop you. Your bills will always come, so you should always put an effort to do something worthwhile. If you can’t finish a whole report in one day, start earlier and work on it for at least 15 minutes. Just 15 minutes would do.

Minute by minute, this 15-minute working time would surely make a difference.

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Last Updated on October 17, 2018

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get plenty of sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

How much sleep should you be getting?

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Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

Yes, there are.

Try these three things:

  • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
  • Don’t eat too late
  • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

3. Challenge your brain

When was the last time you challenged your brain?

I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

  • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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4. Take more breaks

When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

However, I was wrong.

Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

Let me explain.

Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

What’s the answer?

Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

5. Learn a new skill

I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

Let me give you an example of this:

Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

6. Start working out

If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

“But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

Not a problem.

A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

Interested in getting started?

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Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

  • Join a gym
  • Join a sports team
  • Buy a bike
  • Take up hiking
  • Dance to your favorite music

7. Eat healthier foods

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

This applies to your brain too.

The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

  • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
  • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
  • Nuts – improves memory
  • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
  • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

Final thoughts

I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

Reference

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