Thursday, December 31, 2015

Prescription for the Last-Day-of-the-Year-Blues

Speaking strictly for myself, it's easy to feel a little down at the end of the year. Some people LOVE the holiday season and the dark, yin time of year. Others, not so much. What's going on with this phenomenon? I suppose it's well documented and you could find all sorts of prescriptions with a single internet search. Here are my ideas about what is going on, for me at least.

First of all, I think many of us are more affected than we know by the smaller amount of yang qi from the sun that we are receiving unless you live pretty far below the Mason-Dixon Line. It mostly dark outside where I live. Second are the expectations many of us grew up with around what "the holidays" are supposed to look like but don't for most of us. Third, for those with businesses of their own, it's often slower for a few weeks around this time, which may add financial stress to the rest of the stuff in our heads. Finally, another year gone by on our small and struggling planet and how have I made it meaningful; what did I do for others; how have I made it better for myself or any one else? All this is definitely "up" for me.

What to do to perk ourselves back up? Here are a few suggestions of things I use for my own end-of-year emotional symptoms.

1. Add some yang qi. Get outside if there is any sunshine and it's not really inclement. The Brits have a good saying, "there is no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing." That could be a bit of a stretch if its below zero or raining cats and dogs. But if there is no sun outside, a trip to the gym with a good, hard workout and soak in the hot tub or sauna might be in order. That's yang qi as well. And/or how about doing a trade with someone for a nice deep, hot rock massage?  When there are fewer patients around, it's a really good time to take care of yourself.

2. Create, recreate, or update your business or marketing plan. What did you get right and where could you do better? How many more patients would you like to be seeing each week by, say, March 31st? What type of conditions do you feel most comfortable treating? What products, services, machines, skills, processes would you like to add to your clinic? What would it take to make these things happen? Where did you think about volunteering in 2015 but never got around to making it happen? How or with whom could you connect, imbed, or network more meaningfully within your community to expand your interconnectedness factor?

Give this thought process and note-taking some time; a whole day perhaps with a walk after lunch. Read your local paper; check out some of your competition websites, look at local Meet-Up opportunities, check out what's happening at local churches, clubs, and non-profits. If and when something looks interesting, what are the follow up steps you want to take before you forget about it. Follow through; follow through; follow through. Remember that if you keep doing what you did, you'll keep getting what you got. So what do you want to change?

3. Sign up for a local class; pick something that gets you out and meeting other people. That's where the new patients are.

4. Better yet, find a place to sign up to teach a class, free or paid. That's where more new patients are.

5. Eat your fruits and vegees and get adequate sleep. This does not need any explanation. Keep the booze, sugar, or whatever else (I live in Colorado) under some control.

6. Call someone you've not seen in a while and arrange for a walk, a tea, a dinner. An old friend, perhaps, or someone you've met and wanted to get to know better.

7. Send an actual letter or small gift to someone you know who is struggling just now. Or even someone who is not.

8. Throw a party for your friends and patients. Tell them that anyone they bring who books an appointment gets their first one (or second one??) at no cost. Put some juice into this...make it a really, really fun event.

9. Acknowledge what you're experiencing emotionally, but don't allow yourself to believe it's all that important. If you feel sad, okay. So what. It's not the end of the world, it will pass, and you still have to get up and do what needs to be done. I think the idea that we have to be happy all the time is a modern disease of its own. The idea of "being happy" is something we all think we want; but perhaps purpose, usefulness, self-awareness, and doing what needs to be done is a more realistic set of goals. Maybe those things ARE a more real definition of happiness. It's something to consider.

My Grandmother used to tell me that when I felt lousy, that was the time to do something for someone else. Not easy to do when you are sunk in total self-involvement, but I've come to see she was right. Who can I help, and how can I help them? It need not take a mob of people to make a difference in this world, and it's a great way to start, or end, any or every year.

Thanks for being a reader. Here's to a purpose-filled and meaningful 2016 to us all.


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