Tales of depression and victory: Sunday kind of blues

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Life is unfair, especially towards Mondays 🙂

Why are they dubbed ‘blue’, ‘tough’ and even ‘horrific’? It’s Sunday that deserves the epithets.

Sunday is a rare bitch. Even if you’re a free-spirited self-employed person with already fading memories of the cubicle life. But still, you’ve got the scratchy feeling in the throat once the Medusa of Sunday shoots a devastating look at you.

Indigo blue mixed with gray spots in between. This is the color of Sunday. And it always smells and feels like rain.It’s also a day of seeing my therapist. A good reason to wake up in the morning and cheer yourself up (and cheat yourself) with cheesy affirmations.

Sunday can zeroize all your efforts of the week: just like that. It’s a PMS bitch. Even though you don’t have to fear the idea of Monday – as it’s a regular day with a chunk of freelance work from home – you feel the jitters.

Again, the blues will squeeze in the most cowardly way. ..Out of nowhere – it seems. But in the middle of crying you will catch the thought. Mostly – it’s the overarching feeling of despair. Stronger than all of the cheesy affirmations and scarier than the fear of public speaking. You know it will go away, but you also feel it is not going to leave you any time soon. All you want is just to get rid of it. Swallow a dozen of antidepressants. Cry yourself out of the despair. Scream – a scary but effective option. Beat the pillow. Beat yourself. Go away. Disappear… The most frequent wish.

Suddenly you feel all the tears are gone. No power to hold a tear. And total emptiness.

No single wish. Peace. “I don’t care” mood. Just an insatiable desire to sleep. Sleep.

Sleep…More and more. As you don’t feel like greeting the sun in the morning. It’s just a shitty ball of fire which unfortunately brings a new day to the world and one has to wake up and live it. A sad prospect, as all you want to do is disappear in the blackest hole of the universe.  It’s Sunday – you think – and it’s only natural. Monday will repeat itself and Tuesday will be bearable. Just live until Tuesday. And then – you’ll see.

The thought is comforting. It will not last forever. Nothing lasts forever. It shall pass, too…

To be continued with solutions to Sunday syndrome

Tales of depression and victory: episode 1

depression-title-image_tcm7-188201Today I can’t keep silent. I’m sitting in our candlelit sitting room. The lights are off, so no internet and full of time to at last set to my narrative.

I am going to write about depression. Not the state of being depressed, but the real, devastating, mind and heart-draining depression. Spiced up with anxiety and panic attacks.

It’s time for the world to acknowledge the plague of the 21st century. It’s not cancer. It’s the cancer of soul, depression. It’s time for people to take care of their mental health – even more than they do about their physical condition.

I am not talking about the state of ‘the blues’ that we once in a while experience. I want to write about the chronic sense of emptiness, constant feeling of insecurity and panic, and uncontrollable crying triggered from seemingly nothing. And, above all, the background track called ‘Despair’…

If it all rings a bell, I don’t envy you…and your loved ones. You’re now a tough burden for yourself and your family (no matter how hard they try to convince you of the opposite).

I am writing these lines during those happy moments when a ray of light comes into the dark room of your thoughts and brooding. No, I am not hopeless. I still preserved the sense of pleasure and some happy moments within a day – connected with swimming, walking and…crying out loud on the shoulder of my family members.

But I strongly believe that depression is not a life sentence. It’s just a temporary imprisonment in the fortress of your thoughts and fears and failures. They are the guards of the prison. Severe and alert. Sometimes they sleep and you manage to catch the fresh breath of air from your prison window.

The daily dose of crying is over. Every day it starts almost the same way and ends in the embrace of different family members or friends. The good old panic attack is an unpredictable bitch. It likes fooling me around, pretending it’s headache or stomachache, or even it’s gone for good through a touch of a magic wand. But I feel it’s coming from the very first step it takes. It’s the old Chinese torture – the dropping water over the head of a prisoner, with the single difference that it’s you and your thoughts that have started the torture, not an external force. Yes. You and your attitude to reality, people, situations, success and failure, love and despair, expectations and inevitable disenchantment.

Today I cried right in the street. I was stepping out of granny’s house when it started. I was with mom. No longer could I hide my pain from her. I did it for too long. I spared her feelings. But I couldn’t keep silent any longer. That’s another thing about the attacks. Suddenly you stop caring about what others will think. The only thing you want is get rid of the huge shark of pain in your throat which threatens to swallow your whole being. Crying and screaming are the only solutions. I am lucky to be able to loosen like that. There are people who say they can’t. It’s horrible.

I didn’t care about people looking at me in the street, holding my mom’s hand and crying right in the middle of walking. I just wanted (as always) to get rid of the tons of lead in my heart, mind and body at the moment. An attack doesn’t differentiate between places. It just happens. And leaves you desperate and frightened – if it’s for the first time, or in the full swing.

Sounds familiar? I want to hug you, my friend. This is what my friends always do and this is what is the best healer, the best method. Don’t tell them to stop or to be strong, or to be ashamed. It has the opposite effect. Just be there. Just hold her/his hand. Say – I am with you and I will protect you. Let her cry away all the pain. It may come again, but she will feel safer.

It’s time to confess to ourselves: depression and anxiety are the banes of the century. Too high expectations, life paces, ambitions, illusions about love, perfect Facebook couples posting their every kiss…It doesn’t have to be a major bereavement and adversity to trigger the depression. Vice versa, the small and at the first glance trifling events may conceive it. Don’t blame yourself for being weak. It happens to the strongest. Don’t blame yourself for being pessimistic and desperate – it may happen to the most optimistic of us. Don’t think it has gone for good…it’s such an obtrusive bitch, it won’t leave you so easily…Be prepared for her possible arrival on your next station.

I am a super emotional and passionate creature, and my energy is often turned into a destructive one.

But I am not going to analyze myself. My therapist does it quite well. I am feeling so relieved while writing these words. I can write – and this is my weapon against panic and anxiety. This is my answer to depression. Yes I got weaker and I cry a lot and I am damn desperate at times, but I am a winner. I lost a battle but I will win the war. Because I am stronger than you. Because I have so many precious people around me, who help me in all the possible and impossible ways. Because I know they do care. And that’s what’s the most important thing in life. That’s a treasure that I am grateful for.

Be grateful, when you’re desperate. I know it’s hard to do as you are obsessed with the things you don’t have. But – do be grateful. For the simple joys of life. For this very moment. For this very second.

I will come out a different person. More mature and patient. This is my mantra which doesn’t seem to work…

To be continued…

Job-hunt: our top 3 outrageous interview situations

 

The most absurd questions at job interviews

Sometimes we deal with abusive interviewers

-How was the interview?

 

-Oh, as usual. They started asking me absurd questions and I backfired with a tirade of sarcastic answers.

This was one of the typical dialogues between my friend and Ruzanna over the past few months when she was seeking a job after quitting her seemingly posh yet juice-draining position as a store manager.

As nо less experienced and pained interviewee, I would start mildly hinting her to be more tolerant to get a job, to be patient (the one word that could infuriate her most of all!) and so on and so forth; but, excuse me, how to stay cool-headed when an interviewer, for instance, asks if you’re ready to make coffee for the boss and his guests on a daily basis while you’re not applying for the secretary position. (Well, at least, let’s be thankful then that we are informed about this subtle “nuance” of the job beforehand).

So, inspired by our shared bitter practice and this BBC Capital article, I picked up top 3 ridiculous interview situations we went through which may be useful  in your quest for landing a dream job (of course, if such exists):

  1. We’re hiring that’s why YOU are more interested.  This situation is vividly illustrated by having you wait for the super VIP HR manager for more than 15 minutes without further “sorry for waiting” (hey, by the way, politeness is a universal virtue). In one of such cases, I told the recruiter I had to go earlier because of their delay. Interview in fact is a two-way street: you need a job- but they (most likely) need your skills and experience – that’s why respect and understanding should be mutual. If they don’t value your time in the very beginning of your possible co-operation, they are not likely to do it afterwards.
  2. We’re hiring that’s why WE are asking questions. This one logically follows the bullet 1. Once, as a newly graduated linguistics major I was interviewed for an administrative position at a VIP fitness club in my hometown. After the standard questions and Einstein test (!why the hell is it needed if you all have to do is amiably greet the guests and record their names and such kind of stuff?!- another ridiculous situation, indeed), I attempted to ask some questions about the position. With a look of an intelligence agent aware of the top state secrets and not willing to give them away under the threat of death, the HR condescended to answer. “You will learn everything IF (read: you, common mortal, how did you dare to even ask it!)you pass on to the next stage. Period. Lord knows how many nights I didn’t sleep trying to figure it out – even when I learnt I didn’t pass (read: sarcastic smile 🙂
  3. And, finally, the “epic” one. We are hiring that’s why WE can belittle your experience to make you agree on our terms. Or, the so-called interview abuse.

“4 years of experience as a store manager?Well, it’s easier than the sales officer job you’re applying for. Isn’t it JUST coordinating and organizing the things?”, my friend quoted her last met HR as saying this while trying to look a super qualified professional. The tactic of downsizing Ruzanna’s skills backfired with a bunch of sarcastic comments before she gracefully left the office (oh, I wish I could see it!). She’s eventually found a decent job, that’s not the issue. The thing is that in our digital age it’s so easy to scare away the right professionals from your company by such a behavior (the opposite holds true, too): a few Facebook statuses or just the life-tested word-of-mouth are enough to gain a certain (not favorable) image among job-seekers.

And, lastly, dear recruiters! Of course, you will have your “side” of the story, too. Feel free to share if you happen to read this perhaps not-so-pleasant entry.

Dear job-seekers,

I’m sure you have your own bitter, funny, ridiculous or outrageous interview story. Let’s share and help the newly-grads not to get desperate in such situations and deal with them with dignity and a bit of irony.

Toxicity detected, or why are some people always unhappy?

 

Unhappy

Do you know any “always unhappy” person?

In one of my previous posts, we together unveiled how to identify and shield ourselves against emotional vampires. Let’s face it we’re all sometimes sieged by them, moreover, at times, we are the Draculas! (Not the funny one from my favorite Hotel Transylvania, but the real one- emotionally depleting and horrible).

 

Now let’s talk about a particular vampire “species” – “the always unhappy and complaining” type. They are toxic. But I’m not going to bash them: the inner discomfort may be deeply enrooted in the childhood or family circumstances; nor am I going to justify their being “a pain in the ass” for their surroundings. Let’s just discuss the reasons for their chronic unhappiness. If any of my readers identifies himself/herself of her friend, for instance, with the “type”, it will be useful for them to ponder over the reasons and try to eliminate them: not only for the sake of “the unluckiest person in the world whose problems are alien to anyone else in the world” but for your sake in the first place 🙂

  1. They’re not grateful for what they feel and have. Rather, they obsess over their not having enough money, friends, energy, resources, time (!), marital status, support from parents and spouse, support from strangers (!), support from God! and, continue the list, for being happy. Now listen: enough is enough and I’m going to be harsh on you with the simple truth. There is no “enough”. We humans are greedy creatures and our exponentially growing needs die hard to our resources at any single given moment.  As cliched as it may sound, just be grateful. The only path to harmony is thankfulness for the things we experience first and the things we have secondly.

2. They think their problems are the worst in the world and everyone owes to listen to them dwelling upon their hardships (for at least, 2 hours, for instance- offline or online :). That’s ridiculous. I’m deeply convinced that nature is so balanced, the give-and-take mechanism is so perfect that all the people are “granted” with the same amount of problems and are obliged to make sacrifices at this or that point of their lives. If someone chooses just not to overwhelm you with their troubles, worries, routine problems or even the major ones, that doesn’t mean he/she is on top of the world with joy and luck. That doesn’t mean I urge you to ignore a friend who feels like sharing and is going through a tough time. But you certainly have one who ALWAYS goes through a tough time and you don’t see an end to it.

3. And, lastly, by default, they believe life is hard. Well, you and I don’t think it’s a piece of a  strawberry marmalade, either, do we? But we don’t reiterate it and try to prove it to others by our being permanently disenchanted (or, at least, I hope so – in the majority of cases:) ) And again it boils down to the “victim” mindset. Listen. Life is hard for EVERYONE. I repeat- ev-ery-one. Now, are you a bit happy about it? Just a bit? Keep repeating it to yourself, my chronically discontent friend, as a mantra, whenever you feel like flushing your problems to your parents, spouses, friends or colleagues. Make it your affirmation in the morning, or do with it whatever you feel like. In addition, be grateful and think of others’ problems (by the way, supporting others rather than expecting support from others also helps), and maybe in near future you’ll notice you have all the “enoughs” to be happy!

Process vs. results. What’s more important?

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Results vs goals, what’s more important?

What’s more fulfilling: the road you carve toward your goals or the ultimate result?
Admit it: there is something devastating in having the sacred dream of life-changing goal realized. But, the unhappiest time is when you reach the goal you thought would make you happy but eventually you end up feeling bitter emptiness. “What’s next”?- you wonder. “Is this it?”

Unless you have some new goal “ in store” you are sure to feel this way. So, is life equaling to a chain of mechanical actions? Goals- fulfillment-other goals- fulfillment?

Not at all. In-between, there is a whole palette of emotions- hope, faith, disappointment, anger, fury, anticipation and the long-awaited fulfillment. And, of course, the piercing feeling of guilt after you reach it. (“I don’t deserve it”, – the so-called “imposter syndrome“).

So, the answer to the question is just to stop asking it in the first place.

Stop it. Just live. Breathe in peace, breathe out anxiety. Relish the process, do your best and even more but don’t link your happiness to the result, nor tie it to people, phenomena or circumstances.

“Easier said than done”- you’ll probably argue. That’s what I’m doing right now while I scribble these lines. But who said “the easy” is the friend of “the happy”? 🙂

 

A TED speaker coach shares 11 tips for right before you go on stage

Smash your fear of public speaking with these tips from TED speakers!

TED Blog

Gina Barnett advises a speaker during TED2014. Below, her best last-minute public speaking tips. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED Gina Barnett advises a speaker during TED2014. Below, her best last-minute public speaking tips. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED

The weekend before a TED conference, each speaker rehearses their talk in the TED theater. It’s a chance for the speakers to get to know the space, for our curators to give last-minute suggestions on talk content, and for our speaker coaches to give advice to help each speaker feel their absolute best the day of their talk. During this time, we overheard speaker coaches Gina Barnett, Michael Weitz and Abigail Tenenbaum give a few extraordinarily helpful tips that we’d never heard before.

We asked Gina Barnett, longtime TED speaker coach and author of the upcoming book Play the Part: Master Body Signals to Connect and Communicate for Business Success (to be released in June), to share some specifics:

  1. Start drinking water 15 minutes before you start talking. If you tend to get…

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10-min workout for the laziest

It’s tough to force yourself to gym in winter, I admit. TV series and a cup of jasmine tea are more luring than push-ups and stretching.

If you are not that into sports and prefer your couch to a coach, all you have to do is grab your pillow and do this workout- in front of your laptop! 🙂

Here we go:

P.S. For more tips on how to squeeze the best out of winter time, read my previous post:

Orwell’s 6 writing rules in a nutshell

Effective-Writing-for-the-Settlement-Sector_clip_image002“I don’t have to write like Dickens, I’m a mathematician”, some of you will say. Or, something like, “Effective writing is an inborn gift”.

Lame justifications for poor writing, I’ll answer. I agree you and I are not likely to beat Shakespeare at composing sonnets or write a scrupulous description in Balzac style. But that’s not a weighty argument for us not to at least refine our writing. It’s critical for the most pragmatic reasons, one of them being career goals. Like it or not, it is your cover letter or statement of purpose that will eventually pave your way to a position or matriculation. (Even if you are considered for a “geeky” position where the only language you should know is  C++ or Java).

In fact, writing is not that scary if you know the basic rules. In his article , one of the most influential English novelists of the 20th century, George Orwell, sets 6 “elementary rules” to communicate your ideas more precisely.

1.Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

Here he cites the most common cliches and “dying metaphors” in the press to avoid:  to jackboot, Achilles’ heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno.

I’d add: try to avoid any worn-out phrases or idioms (such as to take for granted, let bygones be bygones, don’t judge a book by its cover)- use a simple yet an accurate word to describe a situation if you can’t coin a fresh metaphor.

  1. Never use a long word or phrase where a short one will do.

Prefer the shorter equivalent if there is one:

Compare: in my opinion – I think, necessitate- need,  exhibit a tendency to – to tend, serve the purpose of – aim at etc. NB: “One can cure oneself of the not un- formation by memorizing this sentence: A not unblack dog was chasing a not unsmall rabbit across a not ungreen field” (G. Orwell).

  1. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

Prefer minimalism to lofty phrases. As Ezra Pound said: “Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree”.

  1. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

Active forms are more forceful. Orwell mentions that it is often politicians who fill their statements with passive forms to manipulate the audience and shirk responsibility for their actions when possible. You want to communicate your idea in a more convincing and effective way, don’t you? Then go for the active voice.

  1. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

Orwell particularly  claims that one doesn’t have to use Latin or Greek phrases such as cul de sac, ancien regime, deus ex machina, mutatis mutandis to sound elegant or sophisticated. On the contrary (or, vice versa :)), giving the text “a pretentious diction” by stuffing it with barbarisms is a sign of poor writing.

  1. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Well, this is the trickiest one . And my favorite. As long as it concerns breaking the rules 🙂

Orwell is not a “language tyrant” despite all his “never” and “always”. To write effectively, you shouldn’t be imprisoned by words. Rather, you should often listen to your “language guts” and bend or break the rules.

P.S. A lyrical digression. No writing is flawless. As I was scribbling down the draft for this entry, I was tempted to use a worn-out phrase and a couple of passive constructions .  Perhaps, the final version is not perfect, either 🙂 But it’s quite normal. Realizing that perfection is impossible, I choose to surrender to ”wabi-sabi” (a Japanese untranslatable word, see rule #5) -finding beauty in imperfections- in my prose particularly.

Lame justifications for poor writing, I’ll answer. I agree you and I are not likely to beat Shakespeare at composing sonnets or write a scrupulous description in Balzac style. But that’s not a weighty argument for us not to at least refine our writing. It’s critical for the most pragmatic reasons, one of them being career goals. Like it or not, it is your cover letter or statement of purpose that will eventually pave your way to a position or matriculation. (Even if you are considered for a “geeky” position where the only language you should know is  C++ or Java).

In fact, writing is not that scary if you know the basic rules. In his article “Politics and the English Language”, one of the most influential English novelists of the 20th century, George Orwell, sets 6 “elementary rules” to communicate your ideas more precisely.

1.Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

Here he cites the most common cliches and “dying metaphors” in the press to avoid:  to jackboot, Achilles’ heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno.

I’d add: try to avoid any worn-out phrases or idioms (such as to take for granted, let bygones be bygones, don’t judge a book by its cover)- use a simple yet an accurate word to describe a situation if you can’t coin a fresh metaphor.

  1. Never use a long word or phrase where a short one will do.

Prefer the shorter equivalent if there is one:

Compare: in my opinion – I think, necessitate- need,  exhibit a tendency to – to tend, serve the purpose of – aim at etc. NB: “One can cure oneself of the not un- formation by memorizing this sentence: A not unblack dog was chasing a not unsmall rabbit across a not ungreen field” (G. Orwell).

  1. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

Prefer minimalism to lofty phrases. As Ezra Pound said: “Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree”.

  1. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

Active forms are more forceful. Orwell mentions that it is often politicians who fill their statements with passive forms to manipulate the audience and shirk responsibility for their actions when possible. You want to communicate your idea in a more convincing and effective way, don’t you? Then go for the active voice.

  1. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

Orwell particularly  claims that one doesn’t have to use Latin or Greek phrases such as cul de sac, ancien regime, deus ex machina, mutatis mutandis to sound elegant or sophisticated. On the contrary (or, vice versa :)), giving the text “a pretentious diction” by stuffing it with barbarisms is a sign of poor writing.

  1. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Well, this is the trickiest one . And my favorite. As long as it concerns breaking the rules 🙂

Orwell is not a “language tyrant” despite all his “never” and “always”. To write effectively, you shouldn’t be imprisoned by words. Rather, you should often listen to your “language guts” and bend or break the rules.

P.S. A lyrical digression. No writing is flawless. As I was scribbling down the draft for this entry, I was tempted to use a wornout phrase and a couple of passive constructions .  Perhaps, the final version is not perfect, either 🙂 But it’s quite normal. Realizing that perfection is impossible, I choose to surrender to ”wabi-sabi” (a Japanese untranslatable word, see rule #5) -finding beauty in imperfections- in my prose particularly.

Dracula exists, or how to deal with an Emotional Vampire

vampire-batsMeet Emma the Life-Sucks or Jack the Me-Me-Me.

The life is always 10 times tougher for them. The world always revolves around their problems which are multiple times complicated than yours. They are fussy. Hobbies, entertainment, getaways? – Are you kidding? It’s you and I that can afford the luxury. They cannot, because they have no time for it. But you and I OUGHT to spend time to listen to their complaints and be supportive. In reality, it’s you and I that need help after even a couple of phrases exchanged with them. Just recall your emotions and sensations after a brief encounter with these “martyrs”. Drained energy, sudden mood nosedive, sleepiness and even headache (NB: If it eventually happened, classical music “prescriptions” can come in handy).

Congratulations, you’re dealing with an Emotional Vampire. Unfortunately, most of them may be among your colleagues or other people you (involuntarily) see almost every day. A thorny problem, isn’t it? Still, it’s solvable with these simple techniques and strategies:

1.  Avoid long eye-contact. Looking people in the eye is polite and appropriate, I agree. But prolonged eye-contact is a huge energy absorber. Forget about politeness and nice manners for a while when you deal with a “vampire”. Sustaining your energy should be your top priority in this case.

2. Do not react, argue or contradict.   Asking questions, demonstrating interest or contradicting their opinions is a zero-sum game. Listen, keep it short and do not react. Value your minutes and set a time limit. For instance, if you run into an grumpy neighbor who just adores “crying” about lack of money say, “I only have N minutes and then I should complete an important task (take care of my brother’s children or add something that needs to be done ASAP).

3. Shield yourself. This is the most effective technique, and perhaps my favorite one. It’s application is invisible yet powerful. From the very beginning of the contact, visualize a protective aura/energy/cloud around you. Imagine and even repeat to yourself that you are protected and safe against any “attack” from the negative girl/gal.

4. And finally, “Cut off any contact with the energy drainer”! A friend of mine almost screamed when I asked to share how she deals with them (I bet she had really hard time with her own “vampires”). At first, I thought it too radical as I’m not for burning bridges with people. But if even a brief encounter with your Dracula costs you a painkiller or a whole day with ruined mood, this is the only solution.

Energy vampires come in different types- Mr./Ms Complainer, Narcissist, Victim, Control Freak etc ., but the basic strategies to bounce back their draining attacks are the same. Perhaps, you may have your own way of handling the problem. Share with your tips and strategies in the comment section.

How to survive (and even thrive) in winter

Well, this is an almost classic topic for a post-vacation, well-pigged-out yet low-profile period. (Don’t even try to persuade me you fit in all your garments: I know they’re a bit too tight now ;) .

From my personal experience, the most effective “tool” is to take up the Zen-attitude of accepting the unchangeable and stoically surviving till spring, at least. But this is what we all fall short of and search for more hands-on solutions (Other than hibernation till March 1).

I personally enjoy winters (or, at least, I have convinced myself of it for already a couple of years) as long as I make myself do the following:

1. Persuade/force/ even curse myself to move to my favorite capoeira lesson even if it’s freezing cold outside. It may be gym, swimming pool or a dancing ground in your case- whatever sets your motions and mind in motion. I know, I know it’s hard. Warm blankets with tea or hot chocolate in front of a (stupid) TV show seem more appealing, don’t they?  The first step is the toughest. Once you start- you will go on more smoothly. For those who feel so attached to their office chair, here is the solution (beware of the boss and nerdy colleagues, though) – a video for the laziest:)

2. Try some winter fun. I mean skating and skiing.  It’s widely proved that besides physical benefits, ice skating, for instance, can improve mental fitness. When I concentrate on how to balance your body not to find my uncomfortable seat on the ice, I shake away the mental noise and feel more centered. NB: to be on  the safe side, find a competent traumatologist beforehand .

3.Head for spa. Personally, I prefer to skimp money on shopping and instead indulge in sauna or relaxing massage sessions. The only caveat here is to find yourself in warm clothes not to follow with sneezing sessions.

4. And finally, develop a bit I-don’t-care-for-anything attitude (”пофигизм” (English transliteration – pofigism) – as Russians say). Never mind if your curls don’t look that fabulous under a fur-cap or that your nose freezes to redness making you resemble Rudolf of Santa Claus. Creative mess is quite trendy now, and as for red nose…well, that’s not the end of the world.

It’s us that create the weather within and that’s what makes the real difference.

P.S. For those who are most concerned about winter and its consequences on hair, here’s an effective homemade mask to apply:

Mix virgin olive oil with other ingredients such as banana, OR just use on its own; apply to warm and damp hair  (not too much or risk not being able to wash it off). If your hair is greasy, apply only on tips. Wrap either a warm towel  over your hair and wait for 20 minutes, then rinse. Once a week will do. Voila!