We have become a society of mall driven consumers during the month of December. While those who have an abundance of money can afford to shop, and shop some more, and shop even more than that, those who find themselves unemployed and now without unemployment benefits have the additional stress of finding ways to enjoy the season without income.
I suggest a 20-day or 30-day diet that has nothing to do with food and everything to do with finding inspirational reading, conversations, and entertainment for that period of time. If you can avoid the news for the duration, so much the better! If you must tune into the news or read the newspaper, take only a small dose of it. These actions will go a long way to help you keep your spirits up.
During this time, rise early as you did when you were employed, spend time in quiet contemplation to start your day, and dress as if you were going to work. Spend the morning doing the necessary actions to assist you in the job search: researching companies, writing letters, making phone calls, and networking, to name a few.
Take time in the afternoon to walk outside daily. The fresh air will do you a world of good. Then go places that will help you stay connected to seeing and interacting with people: bookstores have tables where you can sit and read books and magazines, and libraries, too. Both are free. Getting out daily will lift your spirits.
When it comes to gift giving, think of things that will be free or under $5 dollars, such as visiting with people who are elderly or shut in. When visiting others, rather than bringing a gift, offer to do something with them (accompany them to an appointment, run errands for them, clean a room for them, fix something for them). Take them a package of tea or a few packs of tea in a mug, with festive wrap.
Consider giving family members and friends a gift wrapped talent: A lovely card or note in a small box or gift bag that says how you will share your talent with that person.
Give yourself away: VOLUNTEER. Organize or join a toy drive or visit a pediatric hospital ward, or nursing home. Read a book to the patient or resident.
Bake something and give this as a gift to a friend.
Make something to give someone: a simple wood craft, place mats of fabric or other material, decorate empty bottles with beautiful cut-out magazine pictures that are glued on and then covered with shellac. Make a pot holder mitt by hand.
Most important, before you go to bed each night, find one thing, however small, to tell yourself that you accomplished that day. In addition, find one thing for which you are grateful. Keep a daily log or journal during these 20 days or 30 days, and record both of these items.
Wishing you creative joy during this season.
© Dr. Drayton-Craig, 2010