How to Cheer Up This Holiday

Craft a plan to alleviate the negative and accentuate the positive this season.

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Outside Voices - ''Working Girl'' aka Karen Burns
Does this feel to you like the gloomiest holiday since, well, forever?

You’d be forgiven for feeling that Winter 2008 offers us little to celebrate.  The economy’s in the tank.  We taxpayers have to pay for the errors of people who should’ve known better.  Corruption in high places has reached new lows.  Even the weather, in many parts of the country, is kinda crummy, if not downright life-threatening.

Working Girl has been trying to think of something optimistic to say in this winter of our discontent.  She doesn’t want to bring a sneer to your face by being annoyingly Pollyanna-like.  People are facing real problems.

So here’s a suggestion: Take a piece of paper. Draw a line down the middle. In one column list your “Worries.” In the other your “Blessings.”

Next to each “Worry” write down a concrete, doable action you could take to lessen it.  Just one.  Make it something that shows noticeable results.  For example, if the worry is “not enough money,” you could write “sell excess stuff” or “start taking bus.”

For each “Blessing” put an idea for goosing it up a bit.  If the blessing is, say, “decent health,” you could write “get more exercise” or “eat more whole grains.”

That’s it.  Alleviate the negative, accentuate the positive.  Everyone can do this. 

Finally, remember that while better times may not be exactly around the corner, they will return.  How does Working Girl know this?  Because nothing ever lasts.  Including hard times.

Meanwhile, happy holidays from WG to you and to everyone you love.

Karen Burns, Working Girl, is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, to be released by Running Press in April 2009. She blogs at