How to be Productive without Losing Your Sanity or Skimping on Self-Care

In our quest to get things done, we might be missing something, or rather someone, very important: ourselves.

That is, in trying to get everything checked off our to-do lists, we might neglect our needs. We might sacrifice sleep. We might work overtime without much, if any, rest. We might feel the pressure to schedule every minute of our day, believing that we should be doing and going all the time.

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Psychology Around the Net: January 16, 2016

Hey, Psych Central readers!

So, a lot of stuff happened this week. Some of it, pretty exciting (we finally got a few Powerball winners!); some of it, downright heart-wrenching (rest in peace, Alan Rickman and David Bowie).

For our purposes (which I have to admit, was a nice distraction from losing Professor Snape and Ziggy Stardust in one week), I've dug up some pretty interesting little psychology bits for you to feast on this morning.

Keep reading for information on how winning the lottery probably won't make you happier, working long hours doesn't always negatively affect relationships, the ways in which dogs recognize human emotions, and more!

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3 New Year’s Resolutions You’re Going to Break — and How to Plan for Success Instead

The first days of the new year are always the same. You start off strong, a long list of resolutions planned, ready to conquer your career goals. And you do -- for a week, maybe two, or even a few months if you’re on a roll.

Then, something throws you off track. The culprit may be a seemingly insignificant workplace annoyance, but it has the power to affect your motivation in a big way.

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My Well-Kept Secret

I’ve been an adjunct writing teacher at a major university off and on for more than 25 years. I teach the freshman-level classes -- College English I and II.

In College English I, students learn how to organize a variety of essays around thesis statements. The reading for this class consists of essays from a nonfiction anthology. In College English II, the students learn how to incorporate outside sources into their own persuasive documents. The reading for this more advanced course consists of a number of full-length texts organized around a particular theme.

One year, the theme was banned books. Students read I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou; Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck; Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger; and The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison.

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Brain and Behavior

Workplace Environment Affects Mental Health

The workplace environment you spend 40 or 50 hours in per week has a very real and substantial impact on your mental health, according to multiple studies and expert opinions from psychologists all around the world.

According to a 2011 research study on how workplace design contributes to mental health and well-being, the average person spends 33 percent of their waking time in their workplace on a weekly basis. As such, the physical workplace environment has a major impact on everything from happiness and mood to productivity and focus. The study concludes that “good working conditions enable employees to work effectively” and that “investments in the physical workplace that create those conditions pay back quickly.”

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7 Signs You Need a Little ‘Me Time’

With all the things on your daily to-do list, it’s easy to get lost in the whirl of activity and forget one essential activity: taking time for yourself. It isn’t selfish, but it is definitely important. While you might think you have everything under control, here are seven signs you need some me time.

Everything gets under your skin
The sound of the kids playing loudly in the other room, the wind messing up your hair, the grease-clogged sink you have to clean, that red sock that found its way into the laundry and colored the sheets pink, the last-minute assignment your boss handed you just as you were ready to leave for the day -- when you get overly upset by everything, this is a clear sign you need some time for yourself.
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Anxiety and Panic

How to Get Out of a Work Rut or Career Slump

Have you ever had a day when things felt off? Maybe you continually lost focus, had an utter lack of motivation, or simply couldn’t rally to get anything done. We’ve all had unproductive days here and there, but occasionally, these slumps can span days, weeks, or even months.

A single bad day is one thing, but a lingering work rut can be detrimental to your happiness, well-being, and career. When you’re in a slump, you don’t produce your best work and may become disengaged from the tasks that used to excite you.
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Millennials Most Likely to Experience Anxiety at Work this Christmas

Occupational anxiety, or anxiety triggered at or because of work, is raging -- and for many there is a mounting feeling of dread as the festive season approaches.

Business coach Sean Redmond said that it’s the millennials, workers in their 20s and early 30s, that are most struggling with anxiety at this time of year. “They are significantly more stressed and anxious than older workers,” he said.

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Making Time for Self-Care When You Have a Super Demanding Job

When you have a demanding job, you’re likely strapped for time. It doesn't leave many opportunities for caring for truly caring for yourself. You also might hold certain assumptions about self-care, which stop you from practicing it.

Marriage and family therapist Elizabeth Sullivan defines self-care as the “ability to know oneself well enough to understand what experiences or activities nourish and restore your soul.” Self-care is unique to each person, she said. “What works for one person may stress someone else out.”
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4 Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season

Each year during the holiday season, my otherwise carefully constructed routines become derailed. Despite my best intentions, I find myself overindulging in multiple ways every late fall and early winter. In addition, I experience a level of stress that far surpasses what I typically allow to infiltrate my life.

I have learned, through the years, that there are several practices that help me to maintain emotional and physical balance during the holidays. Here are a few of them:

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5 Books Guaranteed to Unlock Your Creative Genius

Why does it seem like some people can effortlessly “follow their passions”, while others can’t? What’s the secret of successful entrepreneurs and creatives who live out their dreams of dedicating their careers to inspiring, meaningful work? Why do the rest of us feel stuck in an unfulfilling funk?

Not everyone can follow their passion and make money from it. Not everyone can work on a personal project or business that lights you up and makes everyday feel like retirement. Or can you?

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Coming to Terms with a Chronic Illness

It can be difficult to deal with a diagnosis of a chronic illness. News of a long-term or lifelong condition can take its toll on both your physical and mental health. It can also affect your relationships, home, career and finances.

Each person diagnosed with a chronic illness likely will react differently. There will be challenging times ahead, but adopting certain strategies and knowing that you are not alone can help you cope in the best way possible.

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