Thirteen Things To Boost Your Morale
On the last day of 2008, I posted a blog titled Let This New Year Be Your New Beginning, and suggested that if you’ve been having a tough time in 2008, or are facing hard times as the New Year dawns, you might try a writing exercise. Exercise is probably the wrong word to describe what I proposed. It was more of a free association of ideas that I had in mind: a cathartic experience when you indulge in an outpouring of yourself, your disappointments and angst, your hopes and aspirations.
FREE ASSOCIATION NARRATIVE
The idea is that we are all stuck in denial, to some extent or other. So whether it’s our fantasies or our fears, we tend to push them deep down into our subsconscious, rather than admit to them and express them. Writing – what is known as free association writing, without thought of direction, syntax or connectivity – can free those thoughts and send you on a journey of discovery about yourself: a Self which you may have hidden for years, not only from others, but from your own mind.
THE JOURNEY OF SELF DISCOVERY
You may learn, for instance, that you’re an introvert working in an extrovert environment (see my post about Conflict) and that you’ve felt bitterly unhappy for years without knowing why. Although my article was to do with creating characters in a Creative Writing project, the methodology it uses is infinitely useful in discerning Character, Compatability and Confilict in your day to day relationships.
From your free association narrative, you may learn that you are stuck in an administrative job when, in fact, you are uncomfortable dealing with facts and long to fulfil yourself in something more spontaneous and creative. Or it may be that you’ve had the misfortune to lose your job and that that is putting pressure on your family relationships. Don’t – whatever you do – allow this to get you down. With a little ingenuity, there is always a way ahead. Here are my thirteen things to give you a boost and lift you out of the January blues.
Eat well. If you’ll permit me a Bible story, when Elijah was in despair, the first thing God advised was that he look after himself physically. Eating well doesn’t have to be expensive. Make soup made from left overs; fill up on low density foods like pasta. Low density foods are those that have low calories in relation to the large quantity you can consume. High density foods (like cheese) provide high calories for very little quantity.
- Sleep well. According to the experts, anywhere between 7-9 hours is the norm. You can’t expect to function properly if you’re tired. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the tryptophan in warm milk (or any carbs - like pasta, again) increases the serotonin in the brain which induces feelings of sleepiness.
- Exercise well. Dreary, isn’t it? All the things your mother told you were so good for you are – good for you! We make ourselves take a walk every day, my other half and I, by not having a newspaper delivered. We have to walk downhill and back up again to buy one. And in case we should cop out, we pay for our paper upfront on an annual basis. It has the added bonus of being much, much cheaper, too.
Give your income a boost by taking in a lodger; setting up a cottage industry like making greetings cards, sweets or cakes (you’ll need a Health and Safety check for the last two; advertising your services for babysitting, help with book-keeping, letter-writing, dog-walking, house-sitting etc.
- Cut down heating costs by investing in thermal underwear and sox and indoor fleeces then reduce the thermostat on your central heating.
- Reduce water rates by asking to be put on a meter. (Check first to see if this will be beneficial. It almost certainly will if there are only two of you, or if you all work away from home during the week).
- Reduce cooking costs by using a slow cooker for large batch meals, then freeze down in portions.
PSYCHOLOGICAL, OR FEEL-GOOD, BOOSTERS
Achieve something manageable. Clear out the attic / cellar; empty the ironing basket; put your printed photos in albums and your digital ones in electronic folders.
- Join a night-class: learn a new language; take a couple of GCSE’s (or equivalent in your part of the world); take a carpentry course, or car mechanics. Doing anything with other people is good therapy against depression.
- Take up a new sport: bowls, badminton, squash, swimming, atheletics.
- Join a choir. Singing – especially with others – is extremely therapeutic. Remember the BBC programme last year? Alternatively, take up ballroom dancing. They say it's good for your health.
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF
Love yourself by taking on any of the above, and love others by commiting to some voluntary / charitable work; or simply by making a promise to visit / shop for / provide hospitality for someone elderly or shut-in.
OVER TO YOU
I’m leaving this one blank for you to fill in. How do you go about boosting your own morale and that of others?