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10 Ways To Fight Holiday Depression

10 Ways To Fight Holiday Depression
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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.

More by this author

Lianne Martha Maiquez Laroya

Lianne is a licensed financial advisor, Registered Financial Planner, entrepreneur and book author.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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