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Blow Off Post-Holiday Blues

Now that the hectic holidays are over, how do you keep the blues away as reality returns? We've got a few ideas.

Consolidate Your Position At Work

"We are all living with tremendous uncertainty," Battley says, "Wherever you look, people are losing their jobs, wars are about to start." It's much more important to identify what you do have control over. Do you have a "plan B," for instance? What if you do lose your job? Think about the worst and make a plan. "You can cut spending now," she says. Also, you can concentrate on communicating security and a sense of safety to your children, even if you don't completely feel it yourself.

"It is also a useful exercise to refresh and update your resume, even if you aren't even looking, DuBrin says. "When you see your accomplishments in writing, it gives you a lift."

DuBrin also advises keeping an ear to the ground. Try to figure out what is going on with your company. In one example, an employee of Conseco didn't even know the company was going bankrupt, even though it was on the business pages of the paper. Read those!

If you have a job, don't let others around you demoralize you, DuBrin says. "Say, 'It's too bad about Enron,' but I do have a job and here is one way I can do it better this year.'"

De-clutter -- This is a Big One

Maggie Bedrosian, co-author of Love It or Lose It: Living Clutter-Free Forever, says the key is not what you get rid of, but what you keep. What is your vision for your life and how do your possessions fit in? "Everything you want to be should be supported by everything you see around you."

Some suggestions for beating back the jungle:

  • Keep closest what you use most often. Sit at your desk, for instance. Are the books and files you use accessible without standing? Are they covered with other stuff? Move it!

  • Make the things you use every day top quality. Don't skimp on a good hairbrush, for example. Throw away pens that drip ink. Make sure your computer is virus-free. Sharpen all scissors. Never underestimate the power of removing irritation.

  • Buy appropriate containers. Maybe a filing cabinet doesn't fit your décor -- try magazine-holding baskets on the floor.

  • Get and master the technology you need. And let the rest go by -- that's the corollary. Do you really need a phone that transmits a picture? Couldn't that be embarrassing sometimes?

Ask yourself three questions about every item around you. Is it useful? Is it beautiful? Do you love it? What you do next should be obvious.

"I am also totally addicted to fooling myself," laughs Bedrosian. "Buy yourself a blooming hyacinth. It smells of hope."

Reviewed on January 01, 2003

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