Holidays

Post Holiday Blues Workplace Survival Guide

Post Holiday Blues Guide
If you’re going back to work today, how does that make you feel?

  • Crabby?
  • Anxious?
  • Groggy?
  • Can’t concentrate??
  • Or just too exhausted to tackle the pile on your desk?

If you’re happy and eager to get back to work. Stop here. Get busy. Don’t waste your time.
But if you’re like most of us, post holiday blues is a fact of life. So keep reading. This could be your survival guide for turning your traumatic first days at work into triumphant productivity.
Between jobs? Take notes. This could be a great way to bridge the gap and create an action plan for the New Year.

Step 1 to Beat Holiday Blues

Welcome routine as your very best friend

  • Resume regular sleep patterns:
    Everyone knows that the best ammunition for being alert through the day is a good night’s sleep. We just feel better and handle the challenges of the day easier. It’s also easier to get to sleep if you do it the same time every day. Set the alarm for 8 hours later, and you’ve taken the first step to crush the post-holiday blues
  • Resume your regular eating schedule and make healthy changes.
    Now that the holiday overindulgence is over, you can give your body the rest it so desperately needs. In fact, that grogginess you feel could be a sugar hangover from all those holiday cookies, candies and cocktails. If you still have goodies left-over and can’t bear to waste them, taper off to ward off post-indulgence remorse…that “party’s over” feeling.
  • Get back to exercise.
    If this wasn’t part of your regular schedule, make it so. Exercise is the best way to energize and wake yourself up so you can tackle that big to-do pile.

Step 2 in the Holiday Blues Survival Guide

Tackle the to-do pile

The very best way to get rid of post-holiday work anxiety is “just do it.”

  1. First of all re-visit what you had left over before the holiday. Is it still a priority? Have new priorities emerged while you were away.
  2. Recheck that list then get started.
  3. Don’t lose sleep over it, get it done and feel better fast.

Step 3 to Survive Holiday Blues

Nurture workplace relationships

  • Share the load.
    Are you in the enviable place where you can delegate? First of all, remember everyone is coming back from the holidays. Everyone has a pile of work to do. Be kind and understanding to your fellow-workers and/or employees. But  open your mind to sharing the load  and the glory with  someone else, who may have the skills to move your projects along more easily.
  • Take time with colleagues.
    If  your workplace rules allow it, share your holiday adventures around the water cooler. Laugh at the funny things the kids did and tell the great new jokes you heard. If you like your job, probably a big part of it is the people you work with. Re-establish bonds and energize your workday with a boost of endorphins. Our bodies actually get a boost of feel-good hormones after interaction with friends and spontaneous laughter.

Step 4 in Overcoming Holiday Blues

Reward yourself.

Great job! When that first stack of to-do’s is done, pat yourself on the back. Choose something you really like to do that doesn’t cost much in time, effort or calories. Maybe a massage. A winter pedicure. An hour to read that book you started. You know what you enjoy. Choose some activity to congratulate yourself for a job well done.
You’re in control, back on schedule and ready to tackle the next challenge.
 Nancy D. O’Reilly, Psy.D., is a licensed psychologist, researcher, and founder of the online resource WomenSpeak.com, named one of the 100 Best Empowerment Blogs for Women. She has devoted her career to educating, motivating and empowering women. Dr. O’Reilly has a large extended family that has experienced the usual mix of life’s changes.

Mild Depression: Beating Post-Holiday Blues

Nancy2011DayofCaringBreakfastLots of people feel let down after the holiday season. Maybe the celebrations, joy, gift giving, parties, and gatherings with friends and families really weren’t all you had hoped. Maybe your holiday was downright awful. It’s enough to make anyone feel anxious and depressed.

10 Tips for Healthy Post-holiday Recovery

  1. Were your holiday expectations manageable? Don’t beat yourself up. Set realistic goals for yourself in the light of what you’ve just been through.
  2. Pace yourself and spread out your activities over time rather than trying to focus on just one day. Give yourself a break.
  3. There is room in real life for also feeling sad.
  4. Leave “yesteryear” in the past and look to the future. Each season brings something new to be enjoyed in its own way.
  5. Do something for someone else.
  6. Enjoy activities that are free.
  7. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Excessive alcohol can increase feelings of depression.
  8. Try something new for your New Year.
  9. Spend time with supportive and caring family and friends.
  10. Save time for yourself to re-energize. Get others to help with activities.

Fabulous Four Bonus Tips

  • Keep physically active
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat regular and healthy meals
  • Avoid overeating.

Regardless of what your holidays were like, remember, it’s a wonderful life. This is not a dress rehearsal, so make the most of your one trip through.

Feminist Halloween Costumes to Inspire Girls and Women

JaimeMoorePhotogWhat Does a Princess Do?

My granddaughter was VERY MUCH into princess dress ups when she was tiny, and one day I asked her what princesses do. “Oh,” she said ecstatically, “They wear beautiful gowns and hair.” As she spoke her hands glided down over the contours of a dress, smoothed her hair, touched the imaginary ribbon encircling her neck. “Yes,” I said, but what do princesses DO?” She looked a little puzzled and repeated, using the same motions, “They wear beautiful gowns and hair.” So much for feminist self-actualization!

So a tip of our hat to Austin, TX photographer Jaime C. Moore for devising feminist costumes of admirable role models for her five-year-old daughter, Emma! Jaime is offering photo sessions in her studio, but HEY! it’s almost Halloween.

Fun Halloween Costume Ideas

Why not create a costume that showcases the range of possibilities available to women who dare? Besides, aren’t we always told that strong women are terrifying? So trick your daughter — or yourself — out as a Freakin’ Feminist! Look up some of their famous sayings and you’ll really shake them up: “A girl should be two things – who and what she wants.” “Failure is impossible.” “What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” WOW! Those are still revolutionary ideas.

To help you assemble to necessary costume elements, here’s a description of wardrobe for each model in Jaime’s photo shoot. Check out the wonderful photos at Jaime’s website.

Famous Women Costume Ideas Feature Great Role Model

If you want other options of admirable women, there’s a list of 50 other options here http://www.chicagonow.com/outside-the-girl-box/2010/08/50-positively-famous-female-role-models/

Google the woman’s name like this “Frida Kahlo images” to see a choice of photos.

  • Susan B Anthony: hair parted in center and swept smoothly back into low bun at back of neck. White blouse with Peter Pan collar. Dark cardigan or crew neck pullover sweater.
  • Coco Chanel: Dark cloche or soft derby hat with vintage pin. Dark hair pulled back to curl loosely behind ears or tucked in soft bun at nape of neck. Dark jewel neck dress fitted lightly to bodice with loose bow accent at neck front. Multiple strings of various lengths of pearls. Round clip-on earrings with some shine, clear center and outer rim.
  • Amelia Earhart: Aviator cap with goggles and hair tucked up under. Faux leather aviator jacket with faux long-haired fur collar. Wide open-necked blouse with soft double-layered collar.
  • Helen Keller: Curly hair parted in middle and pulled back from face into loose bob or soft twists on either side of face. Filmy white gown with soft cross-draped neckline.
  • Jane Goodall: Straight gray hair pulled back in long pony tail. Dark turtleneck sweater.

The First Christmas After Divorce

Well wishes for the holidays and new year when dealing with the trauma of divorceA life time of magical Christmas Days can create unrealistic expectations for feelings of happiness and joy. When we’re children, we’re eager for Santa bringing gifts and all the goodies to eat and drink. As teenagers, we’re excited to be out of school, spend time with our friends and PARTY! As adults, we assume responsibility to create those same magical memories for our children. But life doesn’t always cooperate and even though we think we’ve steeled ourselves to endure Christmas and make it a happy event no matter what, our emotions can surface in tumultuous ways.
I just finished the first Christmas after my divorce. I never expected or wanted to be divorced. Does anyone? I had planned to stay in the marriage until “death do us part.” But after 42 years of marriage, I found out the kind of news that makes a good Soap Opera. You know the really juicy ones so many people love to watch. Boy meets girl; boy meets another girl and well, you know the ending. None-the-less, It seems strange to me that my family is separated and fractured by a divorce.
To say Christmas for a divorced woman is not the best day ever is definitely an understatement. But I’m a strong, resilient woman. I’ve dealt with my emotions through a very traumatic year. We pulled together to create a loving Thanksgiving for our seven beautiful granddaughters. So when my ex-husband suggested having Christmas at his house and include the extended family, I agreed. The more the merrier, let’s all go back to his house, which used to be our house, and have some holiday cheer. I really thought I would be able to maintain my composure while being surrounded by all that I had left behind, even the two beautiful dogs I was not willing to share custody of.
When I saw him on Christmas Eve, I found out that I may be a professional psychologist, but I’m human too. All of my pent up emotions surfaced and I literally raged at him. I had no idea of the amount of anger I harbored regarding him, and most important, what I had allowed it to do to me. He has moved on and feels no sadness and no regrets. He has found love with his girl friend who happens to be younger than our youngest child. I wonder if he should marry her or just adopt her.

 The Younger Woman Syndrome—Nature or Culture

As they grow older, why do so many men seek to retain their youth through the age of the women they spend their time with? Their attraction is definitely not to “the younger woman’s” high intelligence or fascinating personality. I am so disappointed with the example this sets for my children and grandchildren. And I wonder if my ex-husband’s new girl will stick around to swipe the oatmeal off his face when his physical control declines. Will she still be young enough to find her next “older” man? Is this some form of evolution and survival of the fittest? Once the wife gets beyond child-bearing years, the husband moves on to a woman of child-bearing age to keep the species growing? Whatever it is, it is too common and trite in our society.

Women Must Support Women

I am so tired of women not supporting one another. We are so chained to the media hype that has created this belief among women that what is important is who is the youngest, the thinnest, or the prettiest woman in the room. This set of values has hurt both genders. It’s creating a strain on families that becomes too apparent during the holiday season, which we set aside to show our love for one-another.
I feel like the women in the book, The Red Tent, who are sent from the safety and the pampering they receive during childbirth or menstruation. The younger, fertile, child producing women lie in the tent, drink tea, and enjoy being a girl. Once those days are over the women are sent out to beat the clothes on the rocks, bake the bread, and carry the fire wood to camp. I felt like one of those women who had been kicked out of the tent. However, I am not going to let it get me down. I am going out and getting my own tent… and while I am at it, I’ll get a whole city of tents.
I’ll build a monument to myself and the other women in my life: my girls and my granddaughters. And I’ll fill it with the finest furnishings, delicacies to eat and drink, and most importantly, I’ll fill it with men and women I love and who love me. It is time for women not to fall prey to the emotional discharge of men who cannot love themselves and who fear their own death and dying so much that they need something or someone new to make it all better.

Inspiring Stories from Powerful Women Who Change the World

As we mature, women have such amazing gifts to offer the world. My next book is called Powerful Women Change the World and the Men Who Help Them. The book is filled with stories of 23 women who can inspire and lift you up to believe in yourself again and to soar and help you take all your passion and desires to make this a better world to live in.
Wake up if you are feeling dismissed, or ignored; wake up and shine and show the world who you are and why you are here. Don’t miss a day to celebrate who you are and what you are made of…grace, style, beauty and a power that you also can use to change the world. I was once told, “Love yourself; love your life, and then love someone else.” That says it all. When you’re faced with a traumatic situation and life seems to have turned upside down, remember the beautiful, lovable woman you are. When you love yourself completely and unconditionally, you have a fountain of love to share with others.

~Dr. Nancy

 
 

Coping with Extended Family During the Holidays

Are you dreading your next extended-family gathering? Was the last one a traumatic event with bickering, tension, sniping, drama, discomfort, disappointment, maybe even tears of frustration? If this sounds like your family gatherings, then it’s time to implement an Extended Family Makeover.

Extended Families Face Extra Challenges

All families struggle from time to time, but extended families face some extra challenges.
Coping with Extended Family During the Holidays

  1. The family tree gets convoluted when people divorce and remarry.
  2. It’s hard to be polite when you’re angry due to previous experiences
  3. Fireworks can erupt when different traditions collide.
  4. Generations have different ideas of appropriate child supervision.
  5. Unmet expectations create disappointment.

The deck may be stacked against you, but some simple communication techniques and self care tools will enable you to, maybe not makeover the family, but at least transform your reactions to them. Which after all is the only thing you can control, right?

Prevent Holiday Family Disputes & Problems From Arising

Problems often arise when there’s been a change that people don’t know how to deal with. But honestly, what is life but change? Marriage, divorce, major illness, death, loss of a home…none are easy, but this is your family, so it’s worth it. At least try to find ways to get along because if it gets too awful, people will stop coming.

  • Wouldn’t it be better to find a different way?
  • To make it simpler and more pleasant?
  • To create a gathering where everyone feels heard, respected, valued and appreciated?

The key to avoiding Family Holiday Problems is to remain fluid and flexible.

Are you still mad about something in the past?

  • Do some internal work before you go so you can drop the baggage at the door.
  • Walk a mile in their shoes
  • Figure out what part is yours
  • Forgive and forget

You know the drill. If you really just can’t be civil, make your excuses and stay away.

Respect Family Traditions

Understand that each family has its own traditions. If theirs don’t make sense to you, ask them to tell how the traditions got started and what they represent. Giving each person a chance to tell a favorite story will help everyone feel heard and respected
When you’re in someone else’s home, respect and accommodate as best you can. Say you’ve been a vegetarian for 30 years and the host’s tradition is a juicy standing rib roast. Don’t go on about why you won’t eat it. No one cares. Either quietly eat something else or bring something to share. “Would anyone like some of this salmon I brought?” And don’t hold yourself aloof; look around and pitch in; ask what you can do to help.
Since the host gets to call the shots, taking turns hosting can help ease tensions, plus it creates on and off years for the host’s burdens. Excited children usually create chaos but the good thing is they provide lots of distraction. While you watch the kids open presents it’s easy be friendly or at least polite.
Be aware that one wedding ceremony does not a united family make. Each nuclear subgroup of in-laws will retain a primary loyalty to its own members so be respectful and polite, no matter what is said. Above all, avoid drawing lines in the sand, which is a great way to start a family feud. “Hmmm, let’s talk more about it,” can be a great response to defuse a potential conflict.

Plan for Holiday Happiness

Prepare for your time together by creating a plan before you go in and you’ll have a saner and more comfortable time. Even if you’ve had a bitter divorce, try to calmly communicate ahead of time with your ex about your expectations for the event. Divorce confuses everyone and people don’t know what to do. Everyone will be watching out of the corners of their eyes to see how you handle it, so set boundaries around things you know will trigger a reaction.
If part of the family just can’t get along, set a time schedule for comings and goings. Think about challenges of the past and do some problem solving. Do the brothers always start fighting just before dessert? Could you serve dessert right away before anyone leaves the table? Or give each brother a pre-dessert task to distract them? You’re adults so you can create some ground rules. No guns and knives, please, and minimize alcohol.
While you’re mapping out Plan A, also develop Plan B. You may not need it but having it will help you feel calm and in control. Remember, you can always leave a place that makes you uncomfortable. You don’t have to explain or even necessarily say goodbye. If you have reason to think you’ll feel threatened, keep your car keys in your pocket as a reminder you can leave any time.
Listen to your instincts. If you think it’s going to be a problem it probably will be. If you feel like you’ll be able to cope and handle it, you probably will.
If you can’t communicate expectations, or be civil, or remain calm, please, don’t go. Seriously, if you know there will be huge conflict or upheaval, draw on your native smarts and reasoning ability to keep you from stepping into a snake pit where you know you’re going to get bit. Don’t be a victim or a martyr. Don’t pour salt in your wounds and expect anyone to admire your ability to tolerate pain. If just thinking about going ties your stomach in knots, what if you say, “I love you and wish you happy holidays and I’m going to do something else this year.”
I encourage you to create your own holiday, one that makes you feel good. It’s what you want and deserve. For example, if the potluck has become an ordeal and the host feels burdened by others who won’t help clean up, why not rent a space this year, have the food and cleanup catered, and split the costs. Or if you’re hungry for more family involvement, talk openly about how everyone will participate.

Your Big Holiday Reward

Still dreading it? Give the tips in this article a try and you’ll be amazed. Friendly communication will take you far. Your family may not be perfect, but it’s what you’ve got to work with.
So picture this: an extended family gathering where everyone feels welcome and relaxed, where the atmosphere remains calm and friendly, and everyone goes home willing to come back again. You can have it. You deserve it. Happy holidays!
***
Nancy D. O’Reilly, PsyD, is a licensed psychologist, researcher, and founder of the online resource WomenSpeak.com, named one of the 100 Best Empowerment Blogs for Women. She has devoted her career to educating, motivating and empowering women. Dr. O’Reilly has a large extended family that has experienced the usual mix of life’s changes. 

Women Flex Their Purchasing Power Muscles

86% of the purchasing power in the U.S. is in the pockets of women!

Two weeks ago MissRepresentation launched a campaign to get our help in calling out sexist and degrading advertisements and products during this holiday shopping season.

Use hashtag #NotBuyingIt on Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail

#NOTBUYINGIT CampaignWith the hashtag #NotBuyingIt on Twitter, Facebook, and through e-mail, thousands of people have been tracking the way women and girls are constantly misrepresented on billboards, in commercials, in magazines, and in stores.

  • Alex: if your product was any good, you wouldn’t need #sexism to sell it. #NotBuyingIt
  • Mary Lu: The Real Housewives of (fill in the blank). We are #NotBuyingIt @RepresentPledge
  • Cullie P: One company that never fails to degrade women, both its owner and its ads is American Apparel, I’m never buying it. I walk by American Apparels all the time and I see a topless woman only wearing jeans, with her butt sticking out. What are they selling exactly?
  • Rosemary C: Pretty much all Kay and Jared jewelry commercials bother me. The message they send out seems to be that if a man doesn’t buy his wife/girlfriend jewelry, he messed up big time. Not every woman wants jewelry as a gift.

Check out this page for more of the called-out products.

Finally, let’s use purchasing power to discourage sexist media images

Let’s keep it going! Continue sending the campaign information about the products you are not buying, as well as those that you are. With your suggestions they’ll put together a list of positive and negative products to help guide women’s purchases in 2012.
Thank you to everyone who has sent in descriptions and photos of products thus far. Collectively the campaign is raising awareness about the power of the consumer voice and what can be accomplished when we band together!

**This information provided by email from Jennifer Siebel Newsom and the MissRep.org team
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