Overcoming Post-Holiday Blues

The holidays are often a whirlwind of activity and emotion involving a busy schedule of shopping, school programs and get-togethers with friends and family. If you experience an emotional disappointment when the holidays pass, there are many things you can do to lift your mood and make it through the emotional let-down after the holidays.

These strategies will boost your spirits and get your New Year off to a great start:

  1. Take advantage of the extra time you now have for yourself. Since the holiday hullabaloo is over, you have some time to reflect. What do you like about your life? What would you like to change?
  2. Think about small goals you’d like to accomplish. Do you want to finally get that hall closet cleaned out? Maybe you can now complete that special project your boss has wanted you to do.
    • It’s a good time to make a list of all those little tasks you want to get done. Having the list will help you concentrate on your goals. Plus, it’s wonderful to draw a line through an achieved goal.
  3. Focus on you for a change. Now is the time to hone in on personal desires and goals. Perhaps you want to exercise more or spend more quality time with your children. Ponder how you might go about making the changes you seek. Think of taking little steps toward your big goals.
  4. Pursue an interest. We’ve all got those interests we hope to “get to” someday. Since you’ve got some down time now, why not go for it? Delve in to that subject you’ve been curious about or start the photography class you’ve longed to take.
    • If you’re not sure what you’re interested in, do some research. Visit your local library, browse some magazines or look in the newspaper. You’ll most likely find a couple of topics or activities you’d like to learn more about.
  5. Have a dinner party. You’ll have plenty of time to plan and prepare for this event with people you really care about. You’ll enjoy yourself and your mood will lift.
  6. Renew and refresh your surroundings. Do you feel like re-arranging the furniture in a room or two? Maybe you want to paint the walls or make new curtains. Re-decorating your surroundings is a wonderful way to go in to a new year and banish the holiday blues at the same time.
    • Re-focusing on your surroundings and thinking about any changes you want to make will help you de-focus from the doldrums.
  7. Re-connect with an old friend. There’s something so wonderful about making that call you’ve wanted to make. Hearing your friend’s voice again will bring great joy to your heart. It might be a friend from the old neighborhood, a former college roommate or a past co-worker you were once great friends with.

If you’re feeling down now that the holidays are behind you, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll begin to rise above those post-holiday blues when you try some of these strategies.

Taking some quality time for yourself during this period can lighten your mood immensely and ignite your excitement about the year ahead.

How to Polish Your Small-Talk Skills

If you want to make new friends and advance in your career, learn to connect with others through small talk.

Here are 3 simple steps for striking up conversation and making the most of networking events:

Preparation Before A Networking Event

1. Have a few topics of conversation prepared. Stay current with community and world events. Read the latest industry publications. Offer sincere compliments if you like someone’s hat or if you know that they recently won an award.

2. Rehearse answers to common questions. Practice your responses to questions that you hear all the time. Put an interesting or amusing spin on your description of where you work or your hometown.

3. Check your body language. Above all, try to relax. Appearing confident and friendly will help you have a good time and meet more people. You’ll also help those around you to feel more at ease.

Basic Communication Principles

1. Greet people. Let your greetings make a good first impression. Take the initiative to say hello and offer your name. Smile and shake hands. Repeat the other person’s name so you’ll be more likely to remember it.

2. Ask open-ended questions. Keep the dialogue flowing with open-ended questions. Ask people about their impressions and experiences.

3. Practice active listening. Give people your full attention and show your enthusiasm. Turn off your cell phone or at least put it on vibrate if you have to take urgent calls.

4. Enter group conversations. If everyone’s already engaged, you can still find opportunities to be included. When you see two people talking, check first to avoid interrupting something personal. With larger groups, discreetly wait until there’s an opening to make an appropriate comment.

5. Keep it brief. Leave people wanting more. Learn to excuse yourself tactfully by mentioning that you need to speak with someone or get something to eat. Let people know that you appreciated meeting them or hope to see them again soon.

Special Tips for Networking Events

1. Take advantage of easy icebreakers. Networking events are designed for meeting people, so seize the opportunity. It’s natural to talk about why you came and the benefits you’re hoping to achieve. Just take an equal interest in helping others with their goals.

2. Ask for information if you’re a newcomer. If it’s your first time, ask others for their guidance. Many people will be flattered to share their knowledge. Tell the workers at the registration desk that you’re new, and they may point out people on their welcoming committee or individuals in your line of business.

3. Offer assistance if you’re a veteran. If you’re already familiar with the organization, help newcomers feel at home. You may make valuable connections and you’ll create a positive environment for everybody.

4. Exchange introductions. Broaden your network by identifying people you want to meet and mutual colleagues who can help introduce you. Be ready to reciprocate when others ask for introductions. Check the registration sheet for the names and affiliations of interesting people or use business-oriented social networks like LinkedIn to get more ideas.

5. Share business cards. When you’ve had a promising conversation, use your business cards to help make a lasting connection. Offer your card and reiterate any specific reason for staying in touch. When someone gives you their card, use the back to jot down any details you need to remember.

Get comfortable with schmoozing. Improving your small talk skills will help you build your self-confidence and broaden your social and business networks.