KEEP CALM and Finish 2014 Off Right!

KEEP CALM and Finish 2014 Off Right!

It seems just like yesterday when it was January and many single black professionals laid out our 2014 plans. Here we are, almost at the end of 2014, and you might be dismayed because some of your plans didn’t materialize. In fact your stress levels might be higher, and you might be disappointed in yourself for failing to achieve it all. To top it off, the stress of the holidays only makes matters worse, and it can take an emotional a toll on you. There are many family expectations and deviating from them can make you feel like a family outcast. Stress factors might emanate from: figuring out how to spend time with your loved ones, while avoiding that negative relative or family drama, navigating the “why are you still single questions”, gift shopping and potentially getting into debt, end of year career commitments, weight gain, and overall trying to make it through what is supposed to be a joyous season.

Below are 5 tips to help you escape the seasonal blues and start off 2015 on the right path:

  1. Focus : One of the reasons why we fail to stick to our goals is that we have too many of them and so little time to devote to them. Another reason is that we aim so high, but really in the end, we have set up ourselves for failure. Having too many goals might make you lose your focus, and soon you give up because your attention to these tasks is divided. Look back on your 2014 goals and be realistic about each goal. Pick a few goals, maybe even one major goal and a few supporting goals that are aligned with that major goal. Develop a plan that includes setting up smaller milestones for how to accomplish the goals. Maybe even build a support system by finding people who will keep you accountable and on track. Make sure to celebrate each milestone. For example, if you plan to lose weight, identify a specific amount you need to lose each month and work towards that.
  2. Stick to a budget: Temptation signs to open your wallet and shop during the holiday season are everywhere. The music is right, the sale signs are prominently displayed, every website you visit has an ad for that coat you browsed for the day before, and sure enough you must take part in the “December to remember” tradition. However, if you set aside a certain amount of money that you plan to use during the holidays, you can avoid these traps. Whether you are shopping for yourself or for others, take a moment to reflect before you purchase, to avoid impulse or emotional shopping. Do you/do they really need this gift? Is there an alternative way to show them that you are thinking about them? Alternatives include buying smaller gifts, giving creative gifts such as special I Owe Yous (IOUs) . Search online sites such as for ideas and inspiration. By sticking to your budget you will start the new year off right, knowing you don’t have to stress over paying back all the debt that you accumulated during the holidays.
  3. Be grateful: it is so easy to get caught up in the holiday moments and to focus on the negative things that surround us. Negativity induces stress. Refocus your thinking, look back on 2014 and acknowledge the positive things that have happened in your life no matter how small those items might seem to be. What are the things that brought you joy, the things that made you smile and feel content, what positive impact did you have on others, etc? Perhaps that memorable card that you received for your birthday? That accolade you received from work, that friend that made you a delicious dinner, and so on. Being grateful will enable you to live a less stressful life and help you to create a happier you.
  4. Prioritize your health:
    The last thing on your mind at this time of the year might be staying active. It is cold and rainy in most parts around this time of the year, and that comfortable couch is calling your name. However, consider taking some time to enjoy whatever choice of physical activity you prefer. Exercising will help you to reduce anxiety, to clear your mind, to improve your sleep, to boost your mood, and to help you look better physically.

    Being active will also help you not to gain as much weight during the season. Tempting and delicious food is everywhere. Losing weight is much harder than putting it on. So eat in moderation. A few tips on keeping the weight off include having healthy snacks before going to parties so that you don’t arrive hungry and go overboard on the unhealthy foods, pace yourself while eating, get enough sleep, and control your portions.

  5. Minimize family drama: Every family has at least one relative that seems to ruin every holiday gathering by bringing up topics that stir up negative emotions. These people are usually agitators and they enjoy taking in how people react to their questions. There are a few strategies on how to outsmart them including:
    • Being prepared with funny answers to intrusive questions
    • Keeping answers simple and positive
    • Being careful not to jump to conclusions about the intent of the question
    • Killing them with kindness (remember they expect a negative reaction)
    • Turning the question around in a funny way, saying thanks and changing or broadening the subject
    • Taking ownership of the conversation and beating them to the punch line

    If these efforts fail, walk away, breath and direct your attention to other family members that are fun to be around.

This holiday season, stop trying to boil the ocean and obsessing over doing it all. Instead plan ahead, focus your efforts and energy on things and people that bring you joy. Recognize your holiday stressors and avoid them before they take a toll on you. Enjoy the holidays and here is to a happier you in 2015 and beyond.


By MELD Team | Dec 23, 2014 | Comments 0
About the Author: MELD Team
Bringing together single black professionals for romantic discovery.

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