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This Summer of Horrible News- Get Away From It If You Can

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– The 7-year-old son of an Australian member of ISIS is pictured holding the decapitated head of a soldier, a photo distributed on social media by his father.

– A white towel drapes the corpse of 18 year old, Mike Brown, an unarmed black man, two days from starting his first day at college, shot dead by police in Ferguson, Missouri last weekend.

– Far-ranging rockets fly into the night, aimed at Israeli citizens while shells land in “safe” places housing Palestinian refugees, wounding and killing women and children.

– Another 135 people die in a single day from the deadly Ebola virus, now spreading through West Africa.

– An actor and comedian who captured our hearts for over three decades with his obvious love and passion for life, kills himself- the victim of a deep depression.

– An airliner with 300 innocents aboard gets shot out of the sky over Ukraine and it is days before repatriation of the bodies and burials can take place as armed insurgents keep even investigators from reaching the scene.

– Thousands of Central American children who survive a 1,300 mile trek to the American border escaping violent gangs in their home countries, are dispersed throughout towns and villages in the U.S. while the government decides what do with them. In many of those towns, angry protestors demand the children leave and let it be known they are not welcome.

– American politicians forget the art of compromise and the business of governing grinds to a halt as partisan gridlock leaves our Congress as one of the least respected institutions in the nation, unable to address any of the country’s problems.

These eight news stories have one thing in common. These are the headlines of our summer of 2014. I am not alone in remarking about how bleak and horrible the world seems right now. Certainly, for those of us who work in the news business, where these dismal stories are part of our normal routine, it is hard to take. And for those not in the media or journalism worlds, it is all equally appalling and sad.

There is only one answer to this as far as I can tell. The world, despite our best efforts, is not going to fix itself. But you do have the power, mostly, of determining what information you receive. So unplug. Just disconnect every now and then. Don’t watch the news. Stay away from news web sites. Go outside. Breath clean air. Go for a walk. Take in a comedy club. Go to a baseball game. Rediscover your partner.

We all need to take a break from this horrid summer of news. For our own mental health.

They’re Heeeere- Avoiding or Lessening the Holiday Blues

November 23, 2009 Leave a comment

It starts this week with an orgy of eating and continues into the next few weeks with endless shopping, parties and travel. It proceeds onto that flurry of gift-giving and receiving that marks Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, etc., etc. and culminates on December 31st with binge-drinking. Ah- the glorious holidays are upon us. Happy, happy, happy.

Well, not so happy for many. Here are a few links that might be helpful in getting you through this time of year:

Spending

First of all, if you hadn’t noticed, we’re in a hellish recession and unemployment is at its highest level in 27 years. A lot of folks can’t even afford to have holidays. At the risk of dampening a consumer-based economic recovery- be reasonable with your finances. Here’s a nice piece on whimsical gift-giving by Leslie M.M. Blume, author, journalist and contributing style editor to Huff Post. For those of you with politically conservative tendencies, I would recommend replacing her suggestion on giving an Obama poster with, perhaps one of Sarah Palin’s books.

Don’t Be Lonely

Not everyone is happily (or unhappily) connected with a significant other. That can exacerbate feelings of isolation and loneliness. Here are four easy steps on how not to feel alone from ehow.com.

Calories

The average American gains at least five pounds during this time of year. Balance and moderation might be a good thing to consider. Oh- and common sense. Here are ten really great tips from a registered dietician at UCLA. This is not the usual crap. For example, she advises NOT to sign up for weight-loss programs at the start of the New Year because it just sets you up for binge-eating during the holidays thinking you’re going to be shedding tons of fat in just a few weeks. And if you are overweight, this is not the time of year to go on a diet. Part of being reasonable means managing your expectations.

Families

Family reunions are big during the holidays, obviously, and that opens up a whole other can of worms (for those with tight family structures, apologies for making an analogy of your loved ones to worms). Remember, you aren’t 10 years old anymore. You’re an adult now and you get to have your space if you want to. One of the most common tendencies is for people to fall into their old family roles even though it’s been 32 years.

But perhaps more useful than anything is this guide from the Stress Management section of about.com on How to Become Adept at Dealing with Difficult People and Avoiding Conflict. Not that I am suggesting for one second that you have any difficult people in your family.

Afterwards

Then, of course, it all comes crashing to an ignominious end with the onset of the New Year as you pack up the decorations, send the tree off to the landfill, look down in shock at your waist line and snap back into the normal routines of life. Here are five, reasonable and easy tips from associatedcontent.com on easing through the post-holiday blues.

You see, I want my friends and readers to be happy. Oh, and I want to be happy too. So this, just now, was my gift to you this holiday season. Maybe it will help keep you sane. Expect nothing else, and definitely nothing expensive. Hey, we’re in a recession.

A Merry Rama-hannah-kwanzamas to all! Read more…