Day 1 (December 27th) Do something for yourself

5 things to do on this Twixtmas Day

  1. Enjoy an indulgence
  2. Have a good laugh
  3. Do some exercise - physical, musical, literary, artistic or dance
  4. Read a book
  5. Eat something good

Some Twixtmas inspiration from a leading expert


Celebrate yourself and overcome the negative voices that spoil your world is the message from Cliff Arnall a leading expert on self confidence and happiness.

His tips include:

1. Focus on the good things

Focus on the good things you do have in your life.  If one of your limbs does not work, focus on the three that do.

Instead of moaning about the wind and the rain go for a walk in it.  Get your wellies on, some warm clothes and go and makes some excellent squelching sounds in the mud.  So what if you get wet.  Skin is waterproof and it is fun getting dry.

If you are a regular whinger or moaner about the weather or minor ailments STOP!  It is boring and you are boring.  Other people do not care about your latest skin disorder.  If you have 'got the flu' and you are standing up telling someone else: you haven't got flu.  Stop moaning.

2. Respect yourself

Do not expect other people to treat you with respect if you don't respect yourself.  If someone has told you are thick and useless they are wrong.  The people who say this are inadequate manipulating bullies.  Who are you really? If you think you are stupid, useless and a failure.  You are right.  Isn't it a better story to tell yourself about what there is to respect about you.

3. Admire yourself in the mirror

Look in the mirror and say:  "I'm OK as I am"

If you're feeling brave turn to your friends or family, look them in the eye (either one) as sincerely as you can and say:  "You know, I'm OK as I am".  If they start laughing say: "Thank you for listening you are a beautiful person"

4. Avoid the psychotoxic

If you cannot stand someone in your life decide now to stop playing out with him or her.  As a child you wouldn't call round for someone you did not like, so why do it as an adult.  Decide right now not to invite then to your house again.

Negative people can seriously affect your motivation levels. They are psychotoxic.

If the person you cannot stand is at your work make some practical changes: re arrange your lunch break plans, shut your door (if you have one) and put a sign saying 'I'm busy - disturb only if important'.  If they abuse your new system firmly remind them that you are busy and then get back to work whilst they are still standing there.

5. Start saving with the loose change in your pocket

If financial debt has been a problem this year arrange to open a savings account at a local bank, post office or building society.  Many accounts can be opened with £1.  Commit yourself to putting loose change or spare money if you are feeling flush into this account for next Christmas use only.

6. Saying 'No'

Start saying 'no' to unreasonable requests.  Too many people say 'Yes' when they really want to say 'No'. This leads to resentful feelings and if prolonged can result in depression. Saying 'No' is not a crime.  You have a right to say 'No'.  If people feel hurt because you turn down one of their requests, that is their problem not yours.

7. Attempt things more

The truth about quitting is that it often takes a few attempts.  The most successful ex-smokers have tried on average 6-8 times.  That means the more times you attempt the more successful you become.  The sooner you get back on track the sooner you beat the habit you want to break.

8. Live to your own standards - and lighten up

If you are a perfectionist realise you are living life according to someone else's standards - not yours.  Perfectionism is about trying to please someone else (usually from your past).  It is a very depressing way to live because you'll never get there.  Stop being a perfectionist now.  Just decide to stop mindless journey to a destination that doesn't exist.  Instead look at your own needs and be gentle on yourself.

There is more to life than you being hard on yourself - if you lighten up.  Another problem with perfectionism is taking yourself so seriously that it blocks your sense of humour.  You'll stop seeing the funny side of things and that's very depressing

9. Start giving your time

You may have been advised to never volunteer in the past.  Volunteering for just an hour a week is a great way of lifting yourself out of feeling down.  Helping other people have better lives or helping to improve your community in other ways without getting paid is a great feeling.

10. More of what you need

In the next 24 hours sit down with a pen and ask yourself: 'What do I need in my life right now?'  Having written down some answers, now comes the challenge.  Start changing your behaviour so you get more of what you need and less of what you don't need.

If you need to say sorry  - say it

If you need to say 'I love you' to someone - do it

If you need to spend some time just chilling - sort it

Cliff Arnall has worked in the NHS helping people with depression and addictive behaviour.  He also runs courses and gives talks for organisations on stress and anger management, happiness, understanding depression and the psychology of success. Cliff Arnall can be contacted on cliff@nopills.demon.co.uk

 

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A day for me time

"I'm going to spend some time doing what I want to do. A bit of me time.

I'll probably spend an hour or two cuddled up with a good book."

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