Friday Two Cents: I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

Between watching hockey games and playoff football, many commercials have been mentioning mental health awareness.  It surrounds the ‘Lets Talk’ campaign on January 30.  It tries to raise awareness and support for people with mental health issues.  Seeing these ads made me think about how many people I know are suffering and this time of year is not all that great to help people get out of there situation.  

You see the January blues, as many call them is a real issue for many people.   For years I have thought that the January Blues was simply a myth, but as I got older I found that January is probably one of my least favourite time of the year.  I could not explain it but I discovered that someone actually found a reason why.   
In 2005 person from the Cardiff University calculated that the third Monday in January as the most depressing day of the year. I am not sure of all the calculations but from what I read it involves, weather factors (the lack of sunlight and cold temperatures), the debt load people feel one month after Christmas, and the abandonment of new years resolutions.  All these factors are blamed for the most depressing day of the year and if you talk to many people they would agree with this.  
Yet Isabella Goldie, director of development and delivery at the London-based Mental Health Foundation says that “Blue Monday” isn’t real.  She says that this calculation is all a PR stunt to make people feel that they need a vacation or break and it motivates them to buy vacations. She continues to say that feeling sad or gloomy for a day and real mental illness are vastly different.  Yet she also notes that the idea of Blue Monday is not entirely off because the environment affects mental health.  Seasonal affective disorder, a depression that occurs around the same season each year is one example.  
Real or not real this time of year does affect many people.  So how can we fight back?  I found 3 helpful tips courtesy of Health Magazine that can help.  Mind you these are for any Mondays but there is nothing wrong with starting these helpful tips on Blue Monday is there?

  1. Make Monday’s plan on Friday – and write it down. That way you can relax without any “don’t forget to do this” thoughts echoing through your brain over the weekend.
  2. Indulge on Sunday. Dr. Suzanne Zoglio is the author of Recharge in Minutes: The Quick-Lift Way To Less Stress. And she says don’t waste Sunday worrying about Monday. Instead, do something you love that you didn’t have time to do during the week – reading a few chapters of a new book, or spending a couple of hours at the park. That way, you’ll be fully recharged and satisfied when the weekend ends.
  3. Give Monday meaning. Before crawling out of bed, Zoglio says take 3 minutes to focus on what’s important to you. What kind of person do you want to be today? Fun, kind, disciplined? What important thing do you want to accomplish? Once you have a plan, it’ll help make Monday meaningful, rather than dreadful.
After reading through these suggestions, I realise that I already do these.  Dr. Zoglio is basically saying that you need to plan out what you want to do. I usually like to know what I am about to do on a specific day and planning out, even in my head what the day will look like helps a lot.  I guess I have to remember that saying I from that old show “The A-Team”.   After every successful mission, the character John “Hannibal” Smith(played by George Peppard) would always say …

‘I love it when a plan comes together.’ John “Hannibal” Smith (played by George Peppard)


Comic Strips: No Brain Work

January is the beginning of many things.  A New Year, resolutions and of course the return to the routine for many people including students.  With this in mind, it gave me plenty of material to think about for this month’s The Craziest Things.  

On many occasions I have returned to the classroom on the first day after winter break feeling like it was not long enough.  The time went by too quickly and you feel like you never had a chance to truly rest.  Well if I felt that way and I know a few other colleagues felt the same, it would stand to reason that the students would too.  In truth I have seen many students act just like the student in the comics strip. 

I won’t ruin the comic for you, I will simply let you enjoy January’s The Craziest Things: No Brain Work.

Friday Two Cents: Positive Thoughts For The New Year

‘I do expect a lot from myself, but it’s also a balance of being… positive and also pushing yourself.’ Venus Williams

With the beginning of the New Year many people make resolutions to improve themselves in some way.  Many plan to get physically fit, eat better or others to do something they have always wanted to do.  I for one have never made any resolutions because I know I will not follow through on these empty wishes.  I know that true change takes discipline, determination and most important time. Several years ago I came to a realization that I needed to lose weight and have a healthier lifestyle.  I took discipline, determination and time to make them a reality and to be honest I am still working on them. 

Many people forget their resolutions by the time Super Bowl arrives.  That is usually the first weekend of February for those of you who are not into football. If you are one of those people I have found something that just might help you make some long-term changes in your life that is more effective than a spur of the moment resolution.  These tips come from Dr. Joan Borysenko – author of Inner Peace for Busy People: 52 Simple Strategies for Transforming Your Life. 
Take a few hours to envision your life.  A good way to do this is to imagine yourself at 90 looking back at your life and taking stock.  Then ask yourself these questions:
  • What matters most to me?
  • What did I learn in my life?
  • How do I want to be remembered?
  • Are there things I wish I’d done but never got around to?
From these write down your answers in 6 major groups relating to; family, friends, faith, finances, fitness and work. One example in the area of fitness, when you are 90 you won’t care that you have strong leg muscles but you will care that you can walk to couple of blocks down the street to the store. 
They say use a real notebook instead of typing these down in a computer.  This way you can look back at the answers and keep tabs for the year.  Also for most people when you write things down they become more real.  Think about it.  When someone tells you a phone number you retain it more if you write it down. 
Then one final tip is to find ways to use your talents to help others.  If you are a good storyteller, read to children at the hospital.  Make a positive influence in someone’s life. One of the best ways to increase your health and happiness is to make a positive difference in the world.   Sometimes it starts with your way of thinking.  

Which type of person are you?

As Willie Nelson once said …

‘Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.’ Willie Nelson

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