Is it the least wonderful time of the year?
According to London’s Daily Mail, you and your peers will hit a low as the realities of going back to work, packing up the Christmas tree, chipping away at new credit-card debt, and losing that extra vacation weight all hit at the same time.
But fear not! We’re here to help. The best way to fight the blues this season is to take the coming year into your own hands. Here are nine proactive steps you can take to ward off those blues:
If you’re like most people, exercise was on your New Year’s Resolution list. And, like most people, you may already be finding the concept of hitting the gym for several hours each day a bit daunting. But if you start small – like going for a walk each day or taking frequent short breaks from a work desk – you’ll immediately feel a bit better. This can be particularly effective on your first day back on the job.
Set personal and professional goals
A lot of folks make resolutions that are very difficult to keep because they’re vague or unachievable. “Call mom more,” “get more sleep,” and “lose weight” aren’t effective because they don’t provide you with a picture of success. Instead, make sure you have a vision of what the world looks like when you’ve achieved your goals (eg “I can run five miles without stopping,” or “I am fully refreshed in the mornings). Taking time to do this today will help you approach the year with a positive outlook.
Listen to music
Music can lift you out of the valleys amazingly well. Last year was such a good year for music that you might have missed some of the peaks. Take some time to put together an excellent playlist that will let you reflect on how excited you might be for this year.
Start spring cleaning early
You don’t have to wait until March or April to start organizing your personal spaces. Clearing out the clutter shouldn’t begin and end with kicking the Christmas tree to the curb. Make sure your space at work and at home is as neat and organized as it can be. This will let you focus on what’s important.
Weed out social media lists
Clearing out the clutter isn’t confined to physical spaces. Your social network might be clogged up with banalities from people you don’t care about and who aren’t offering you anything valuable. There’s no shame in bidding them farewell – subtly, of course. (This is also a great excuse to spend part of the day on Facebook or Twitter: “I’m optimizing the ROI of my social graph.”)
Plan your entertainment
Was 2011 a year of plonking down in front of the TV and watching a sitcom because it was comfortable and familiar? Do you find yourself going to the same restaurants or bars because you’re in the habit of hanging out there? Spend some time today to evaluate whether you’re really maximizing your time. Even if relaxation is your goal, could there be a more effective way to achieve it than watching reruns?
Give to a worthy cause
There’s nothing like a bit of outward looking to help you forget about your troubles. Pick a cause whose mission you support and put your money – or your time – where your brain is. That warm glow should see you through the colder months nicely.
Engage in a bit of nostalgia
Looking forward to next year doesn’t mean ignoring the current year. A bit of reflection on your highs and lows of last year can empower you to make the most of this year. Figure out what made you happy and what detracted from your happiness last year, and plan accordingly.
Plan your next vacation!