4 ways to beat the winter blues

Use these ‘light’ tips to brighten your days.

By Patricia Corrigan for Next Avenue

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When the sun wakes up late and slips away before the workday ends, when many a day is dark and gray, when it’s Groundhog Day and even an early spring seems far away, many large, hairy mammals — Punxsutawney Phil, included — choose to hibernate. But not us!

We slog through, knowing that the passage of time will bring brighter days ahead. But we can do more than wait it out. Here are four easy ways to beat the winter blues and create a little sunshine of your own:


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Where to volunteer on the MLK Day of Service

It’s a cinch to locate opportunities to help out

By Richard Eisenberg for Next Avenue

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In honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service Monday, consider for a moment these two quotes from the esteemed civil rights leader:

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” and “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”

With those words in mind, I hope you’ll look for a way to do something for others on MLK Day and volunteer. Be great. (Some nonprofits have Martin Luther King Jr. Day volunteering projects on Tuesday, too.)


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30-day declutter challenge: What I’ve learned

Halfway through, I’ve got a pile of junk and gained some wisdom, too

By Liza Kaufman Hogan for Next Avenue

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I used to be able to put all of my belongings in a 1985 Honda Accord and still see out the back.

Now, I can barely see out of some of the windows of our four-bedroom house. What happened?!

Here’s what happened: Marriage, kids, dogs, hobbies, a reluctance to let things go and years of living in progressively larger apartments where I could stash the stuff without having to look at it.

Now that I’m turning 50, it’s time to take stock and get rid of some stock. On Aug. 1, I decided to take the Next Avenue 30-Day Declutter Challenge, getting rid of one item on Day 1, two on Day 2, and so forth for 30 days.

By the end of the month I will have collected 465 items to give away, throw away or sell on eBay. That’s 465 items that I no longer need at midlife — like toys from when my daughters were six and four, books I have read but don’t need to keep in the age of Kindle and clothes that clearly, and embarrassingly, date back to the 1990s.


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The 1 New Year’s resolution to improve your finances 4 ways

Here’s what it is and how to put it into practice

By Jack Fehr for Next Avenue

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Credit: Thinkstock

New Year’s resolutions: so easy to make, so hard to keep. But what if you could make just one financial resolution that would improve your life in four ways?

Here’s how: Make a habit of reading between the lines of your financial statements from your bank, mutual funds, credit card issuers, insurers and mortgage company. Many of these companies, sadly, shroud their products in confusing terminology that requires a linguistic scholar — or at least a person with some time — to decipher.

Learning how to sort through and interpret the financial and legal goop that confuses and abuses can help you…


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7 ways to keep your New Year’s resolution

Are you sabotaging yourself? Here’s how you can fulfill your commitments.

By Linda Melone, CSCS for Next Avenue

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Credit: Getty Images

It’s that time of year again. A new beginning, a clean slate. But how often do you actually make good on your New Year’s resolutions? If the answer is “not very,”  you’ll want to read the seven ideas below that can help you follow through in 2017.

The start of a new year naturally creates incentive for making changes. Days that seem like transition points motivate people to take advantage of the “fresh-start effect,” research shows. Birthdays, the beginning of a semester, and the start of a new week all fall under this new transition time. Researchers at the Wharton School came to this conclusion after they discovered that visits to the university fitness center spiked during these turning points.


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