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.

6 Ways to Develop Greater Optimism for Your Future

Do you struggle to believe that good things are coming your way? Cultivating optimism when you’re feeling depleted from life can seem exhausting, or even impossible. But all is not lost! Even in your darkest times, you can look forward with anticipation to a bright future.

Keep these ideas in mind to help you recover your optimism: 

  1. What does reality indicate? It’s easier to be most optimistic when a positive outcome is likely, but sometimes you need to know when to let go or to make a change. 
    • Taking positive action to produce a better outcome also boosts your optimism because you cease being a helpless victim of life’s circumstances.
  2. Prioritize. Start by determining the most appropriate issues, situations and times to be optimistic about. Instead of chasing after many things, some of which may be unlikely, try focusing your energy on what’s most important.
  3. None of us knows the future. How many times in your past has a situation yielded an unexpected outcome? Plenty of times! And many of those were probably positive experiences, too.
    • Even if life seems full of situations that look less-than-promising, you never know what may actually end up happening. When you open your mind, you’re in a better emotional position to find optimism. And you’re wise to expect the best, because new possibilities lay around every corner.
  4. Stay intent on your own passions. When we do what we love, we feel joy, and joy generates optimism.
    • Whether you play a musical instrument, love working on cars, or enjoy pursuing any other activity, be sure to set aside time in your week for your hobby. If you can, enjoy some “me” time each day.
    • Practicing your craft, hobby, or passion will help prevent you from hanging your hopes on another person, place, or thing. All the joy you need is within you and you’ll rediscover this moment by moment as you do what you love.
    • Following your bliss also helps keep you in the present. The past has already passed. And the future hasn’t come yet. All you have this moment. Don’t you want to make the most of it? When you do, your future almost invariably turns out to be more to your liking also!
  5. Open your mind to new possibilities. Maybe you were expecting a promotion that never came. Or perhaps you even lost your job. Now is a great time to explore other opportunities.
    • Although you undoubtedly were looking forward to whatever didn’t happen, or were happy to avoid what did, the truth is that the future is in your hands.
    • Maybe you always wanted to try freelancing, or making something with your hands for a living. Now is the time to run in that direction. Nothing is stopping you anymore, not even waiting around for a different dream to come to pass.
  6. Remember, there’s always help. Whether you make use of your social network or see a licensed counselor, other people are there to support you as you move toward your next adventure.
  • If you find yourself really feeling depressed, and nothing seems to work to banish it, you may want to check out professional counseling services. Therapists are trained to walk people through all sorts of life transitions and can definitely assist with yours.

Although Alexander Pope wrote, “Hope springs eternal,” you may also find it wise to recognize where to place your optimism and how to rediscover that feeling when you’re down.

If you open your mind to new possibilities and explore the tips above, you’ll be pleased to find that, once again, you’re looking toward the future with optimism and excitement!

Improve Your Powers of Concentration

Improving your powers of concentration will help you get more done in less time. Below are some of the major benefits of developing your ability to focus as well as some practical steps for achieving extreme concentration.

The Benefits of Improved Concentration:

1.      Be more productive. By devoting your full attention to whatever you’re doing at the moment, you’ll produce better quality work in less time. It really is this simple!

2.      Be a better friend. Conversations are more pleasant if you feel like others are really listening to you. Paying attention to others will help you appreciate your family and friends, and understand how to support them when they need it.

3.      Feel more peaceful. Many studies have found that multitasking makes people slower and less effective at performing various tasks. Trying to do too many things at once can cause stress and make you feel less alert. By contrast, focusing on one thing helps to calm your mind.

Training Your Mind To Concentrate:

1.      Focus on one thing at a time. Place your mind on whatever you’re doing in the present moment. Think about how you act when you’re engrossed in a thrilling movie or a new romance and try to duplicate that experience. If you don’t feel passionate about a particular task, look for some meaningful aspect or motivate yourself with the desire to complete it in less time.

2.      Abandon distracting thoughts. Your mind will wander. Remain aware of your thoughts. When you notice a distracting thought, decline to pursue it. Return your attention to your chosen object. Repeat this as often as necessary. With practice, it will get easier.

3.      Meditate. To enhance your progress, try meditating. Sit and focus on your breath or spiritual attainments. You can extend that mindfulness to all your daily activities from eating lunch to playing with your children.

Other Steps to Improve Concentration:

1.      Minimize external distractions. Your restless mind is probably the greatest distraction, but a controlled environment can help too. Turn off your phone and wait until later to check your email. Clear off your desk. If you can’t find a quiet spot, consider using white noise recordings, instrumental music, or earplugs.

2.      Get fully engaged in what you’re doing. It’s easier to focus when you’re actively involved. Take notes in class. Highlight passages while you read. Think about questions you want to ask a speaker. Invent ways to improve a routine household chore.

3.      Vary your activities. While you’re increasing your attention span, it may be helpful to switch from one activity to another to remain alert. So if you feel stuck writing a report, go return some phone calls for a while – you’ll feel rejuvenated when you come back to the report.

4.      Plan regular breaks. Taking breaks can improve your performance. Chat with your co-workers or walk around the block. Reward yourself with an activity you enjoy after completing a difficult project. Just standing up from time to time is refreshing because it helps your brain get more oxygen.

5.      Avoid overloading your schedule. Budgeting your time realistically can make it easier to concentrate. You’ll be less likely to get distracted by worries about getting everything done. If you’re chronically overloaded, you may need to adjust your priorities.

6.      Take care of your health. Your physical health affects all your mental functioning. Get adequate sleep and rest. Maintain a healthy weight by eating a nutritious diet and getting daily exercise.

Your ability to focus will improve with practice. As you learn to concentrate more fully, you’ll enjoy greater peace of mind and productivity.