You don’t want your work performance to suffer because of SAD. If you experience a seasonal problem, take steps to reduce the impact.

It’s been pretty dreary around here lately.

It’s been cold and cloudy. We went a whole week without seeing the sun.

Maybe you’re in the same boat. Maybe you feel stressed, anxious, and down for no reason that you can put your finger on. Or perhaps you think it might be because of gloomy weather and the fact that it’s so dark for so much of the day still.

Those feelings you feel are real. It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Yep. It’s a Thing. And it could be dragging you down at work and in other areas of your life.

Here’s what you need to know with SAD affecting your work:

What is SAD?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that comes out as the seasons change. It can result in feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression during fall and winter.

The days are shorter, and the weather often means that the sun is hidden behind clouds.

You might feel better when spring pushes the winter away and you start seeing the sun again.

However, just because you know this seasonal depression will go away, it doesn’t mean you should just try to power through all winter.

SAD affecting your work can have consequences that go beyond just the weather and the time of year. You want to address the issue in a way that makes sense so that you maintain your job performance (and your job).

Plus there’s no reason to feel crummy four to six months of the year just because seasons.

SAD affecting your work.

Do you feel like SAD is dragging you down at work? You’re not alone.

According to Purdue, SAD costs the United States about $44 billion a year in lost productivity, sick days, and other illnesses.

Some of the ways SAD could be impacting the way you do your work include:

  • Difficulty concentrating on the task at hand.
  • Drop in your energy level.
  • Feelings of fatigue.
  • Irritability (including with your coworkers).
  • Hard time motivating yourself to do your work.

This goes beyond a need to just suck it up and do the thing.

SAD can really cause problems for your productivity, and keep you from accomplishing everything you’d like to do.

Plus, when your work performance suffers and you start missing deadlines, that could mean a real problem at work.

While it would be nice if all employers were understanding and willing to help mitigate the impacts of SAD in the workplace, the fact is many of them are just going to look at your performance.

If your work performance is dropping off, if you’re missing deadlines and making a lot of unacceptable mistakes, that could be grounds for firing.

When you find SAD affecting your work, it’s time to get help.

On your own: attempts to ward off SAD yourself.

If you’re like me, you don’t want to get professional help until you’ve tried to take care of the issue on your own.

The good news is that there are some things you can do to boost your mood and chase the SAD blues away. According to WebMD, some of the things you can try on your own include:

  • Regular exercise. Regular exercise is a mood-booster. You can help your energy level, help your brain, and fight against SAD with regular exercise. Bonus points if you can do at least some of your exercise outside (take a brisk walk) or near a window so you get that natural light.
  • Open a window. I find myself less inclined to open windows during the winter. I’ve been fighting that, and it helps my mood. Even if the day is cloudy, that extra natural light can help.
  • Melatonin. WebMD points out that some people find results from melatonin, which can help you regulate your biological clock. You do need to be careful, though, since this (and other complementary methods) can interact with current medications and have other issues.
  • Pay attention to your diet. When you’re feeling SAD, it’s common to crave junk food and eat foods that aren’t the best for you. If possible, eat healthy. Plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help your body function better.
  • Take time for yourself. Don’t forget to relax. Take time for yourself. Meditate. You might be surprised at how good sleep, time for relaxation, and enforced meditation can help your mood.

Sometimes, though, the SAD is too strong to keep away yourself. You might actually need to seek professional help.

Common treatments for SAD.

With SAD affecting your work, it’s vital that you get professional help if attempts to fight the feeling on your own are failing.

There’s nothing wrong with getting help.

Light therapy.

One of the most common treatments for SAD is light therapy. With light therapy, you use a special bulb to provide you with more light in your day. The idea is to provide you with more exposure to light, either in the morning or in the evening (or both).

Many people with SAD improve with the help of light therapy and little else is needed beyond that.

Counseling.

Another way to get help with SAD is to get counseling. In general, I support the idea that everyone should get therapy at some point. It can be really helpful.

Counseling can help you by giving you someone to talk to. Additionally, a therapist that is well-versed in SAD and how to use cognitive-behavioral therapy to treat patients can be especially helpful.

Medication.

Finally, many people need to resort to medication to help them with SAD. For many of us, medication is an absolute last resort. However, if you need it, there’s no shame in getting a little pharmacological help.

As long as you use your antidepressants as prescribed and you remain in contact with your health care professional about your progress, it can be one way to beat SAD, especially when used in conjunction with other treatments.

Get your work back on track.

Once you understand the problem and how it impacts you, you can get your work back on track. You can keep SAD from being a detriment to your work.

It’s still a struggle some of the time, and you might fight to stay focused and motivated at work, but with the right help, it should be possible.

Do you get SAD? How does it affect your work and other areas of your life? Share your story with us in the #Adulting community on Facebook.

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Boom. You’re the boss. Good job. Now that you’re done celebrating, it’s time to make sure you’re a manager that people actually like and respect.

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Congrats! You’ve got a promotion. Now you’re the boss!

It’s exciting to know that your hard work has been noticed and that you are being rewarded with new responsibilities.

The hard part, though, happens when you have to manage your peers.

Now you need to be in charge and hold your co-workers responsible. It’s not always easy. Plus, on top of all that, you’re in a place where you’ve got a learning curve. Managing is a different animal altogether, even without the added stress that comes when you manage your peers.

Here’s what you need to know about being a boss for the first time.

Concepts

  • Reasons that so many of us suck as first time managers.
  • It’s harder to be “one of the guys” when you manage your peers.
  • Why it’s easier to be a boss when you’re in a new place, where you don’t know as many people.
  • How scary it can be. You don’t want to make mistakes.
  • Is overconfidence a problem?
  • Maybe underconfidence is an issue?
  • Tips to help you better manage your peers.
  • An overview of leadership qualities that can help you move to the next level.
  • How to build trust with others.
  • Information on good listening techniques.

This week’s “do nows” focus on figuring out what made your worst managers so bad. Look at what you hated, and reflect on your own shortcomings. Try to avoid being what you hate.

We also have a great listener question about what to do if you don’t feel like you’re ready to be a boss and manage your peers.

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Resources

Better manage your peers
Why first time managers fail

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Do you want to work abroad and live your life from anywhere in the world? Sarah Li Cain shows how you can live this flexible lifestyle.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

On today’s episode of Adulting.tv LIVE!, Harlan and Miranda are joined by Sarah Li Cain from High Fiving Dollars. Today we’ll discuss what it takes to travel beyond your home, see the world, and enjoy living and working outside of the United States.

Sarah Li Cain is a financial storyteller who weaves practical tips and strategies into her work so that those trying to change their money mindset can see themselves in the starring role. You can find her over at High Fiving Dollars where she answers readers questions or spilling her guts out on her latest money experiment.

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Hate your job? You’re not stuck there forever. Here’s how to find a career you love.

I’ve always thought of society’s expected career path as a cruel joke.

At 18, we’re supposed to choose an industry to pursue for the rest of our lives. At this point, we begin racking up student loans that leave us financially crippled for the duration of our 20s.

I would barely trust my 18-year-old self to scramble an egg or drive me to the airport.

That’s the nature of our higher education system.

But it doesn’t have to be a prison sentence. Changing careers is never easy, but always worth it if you’re pursuing a happier and more fulfilling life.

Did you choose a career early on that just isn’t meshing with who you are today? Perhaps you want to make the best possible choice the first time around.

The good news is you can find a career you love, no matter where you’re at today. Here’s how:

Make a list of what you like.

First things first – Make a list of subjects you’re interested in. My list looks like this:

  • Personal finance
  • Arts and crafts markets
  • Dogs
  • Baking
  • Teaching

I’ve always enjoyed those things. Once, during a moment of panic, I considered working as an artisan and selling my wares at a market. That lasted a few weeks until I realized: a) I didn’t want to wake up early and set up my goods while other people were still sleeping, and b) I just wasn’t very good at it.

I also thought about becoming a teacher. But going back to school and getting another degree didn’t appeal to my lazy nature. Are you sensing a theme here?

I like writing and teaching people about money. I also like doing it while wearing yoga pants. That’s why I’m a freelance writer.

Your own list might look completely different from mine – and completely different from your current career. If you don’t like what you’re doing right now, make a list and start putting more time into the things on it.

You probably shouldn’t quit your job right away. Start doing those things you’re passionate about on nights and weekends. See what you like and what you hate. See what makes you feel good and what bores you.

Keep doing it for a while. Meet people in the field and find a way to do it full-time. You can even keep your passion project as a part-time gig – one that keeps you motivated to get through the slog of your day job.

Sometimes a career you love is more about finding joy on the side than making it full-time.

Make a list of what you don’t like.

A friend of mine was an incredible journalist and one of the best writers I know. She was also an avid runner who competed on the track team in college. But when she got the opportunity to write for a runner’s magazine, she turned it down.

She told me later, “It should’ve been my dream job.”

The job was located in a small town in Pennsylvania. Living in the middle of nowhere, far from her friends and family, wasn’t something she wanted. Instead, she found a gig working for the NCAA magazine, where she gets to tell stories of athletes she’s passionate about.

Sometimes that dream job isn’t so dreamy once you look closely.

I don’t want to burst anyone’s “Lean In” bubble, but no one, women included, can have it all. You can’t have the corner office, a group of friends you see regularly and a thriving personal life. Sometimes, you have to choose.

That career you love is all about knowing the reality of what you might have to give up. You need to decide if it’s worth what you gain in return.

Make a list of deal-breakers, or anything that would make you seriously reconsider changing jobs or careers.

Is a long commute out of the question? Do you highly value privacy in the workplace? Maybe you’re more of a social butterfly who needs a thriving office environment?

Only you can decide what you’re willing to accept. Major life changes usually require a measuring of pros and cons: Make sure you’ve measured accurately.

Is there a right career?

Too often, people become more personally invested in their job and career than is necessary – or even healthy. A job isn’t a marriage, and you don’t have to devote yourself to it for the rest of your life.

It’s OK to change gigs. It’s even OK to leave an industry entirely to find a career you love.

What’s right for you as a 25-year-old might be different from what’s right as a 45-year-old. Your priorities can and will shift in that time, leaving you wondering why you signed on in the first place.

But there’s good news: if you’re reading this, you have plenty of time to explore.

I’ve already had three different careers in my life, and I haven’t hit 30 yet. When my mom was 33, she got her second master’s degree in accounting and began a new career. My father-in-law started a company from scratch at 40 in a city he hadn’t lived in for 20 years.

It’s never too late to reinvent yourself and find a career you love.

Don’t get so hung up on what the right career is for you right now.

Follow what you’re interested in, don’t let it disrupt the rest of your life, and earn enough to stay out of the poverty spiral. If you put some serious thought into it, you’ll end up following the right path.

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No matter what job you do, soft skills can help you do it better. Make it a point to develop the skills that translate to any job.

Are you already looking for your next job?

If you’re under the age of 32, there’s a good chance you are. After all, according to a recent survey from LinkedIn, the new normal is four jobs by the time you’re 32.

That’s almost double the rate of job change for Gen X.

I have a number of friends who are open to the next opportunity and looking to move beyond the job they’ve taken out of desperation.

When you’re ready to make a career change, there are skills you can’t take with you. Hard skills might not translate from one job or career to the next.

But you can develop soft skills that can help you almost anywhere you go, and no matter what you do.

Problem-solving.

One of the most translatable soft skills is problem-solving.

No matter where you work, or what your position is, problem-solving is always in demand. The ability to identify issues and find solutions is one that helps in work and life.

Creativity in problem-solving will get you even further in whatever work you do. Someone with the ability to see things from a different angle, or find a solution that others couldn’t see, has the potential to go a long way in any profession.

Organization.

We don’t often think of organization as a skill. However, it’s on of the soft skills that can set you apart from others.

It’s not just about keeping a neat and orderly desk, either. Being organized is about seeing connections and being able to manage logistics.

Can you keep track of different moving parts and put them in an order that makes sense? Do you know which team members are best suited for different tasks?

If you have good organizational skills, you are more likely to to be of value as a manager, or fulfill other important responsibilities where such talents are needed.

Adaptability.

We live in a world that changes quickly. Technology advances at an increasingly rapid rate. Social conditions change. Work conditions change. Everyone is scrambling to keep up.

One of the most valuable soft skills today is an ability to adapt. Adaptability allows you to quickly conform to a new situation. It also means you can take on different responsibilities and manage different personalities.

Adaptability, and its related skill, resiliency, can help you approach any situation and turn it to good account. Think fast on your feet, make the most of anything, and your co-workers and bosses will notice.

Writing.

Thanks to the Internet, writing skills are increasingly important. The ability to craft a well-written tweet or Facebook post can help you get ahead.

Not only that, but writing is one of those soft skills that can be used in almost any profession. If you can write white papers, put together an internal memo, or create easy-to-understand emails, you can make yourself useful.

Consider taking a basic writing course. You don’t need a degree in writing. A little reminder of the fundamentals and some practice can take your writing to the next level and set you apart from others.

Presentation skills.

Don’t forget about your ability to present. Your comfort level in front of others can make a difference.

Do you want to be the go-to person for presentations to clients and potential partners? Brush up the way you make presentations.

Your presentation skills can also influence your ability to be more effective in your job. Good presentation skills include the ability to communicate your ideas. When you can effectively share your vision, you’re more likely to be applauded and taken seriously.

You can put your presentation skills to good use on behalf of your bosses, or as a way to be more effective in general. No matter how you do it, presentation means a lot.

Good work ethic.

Talent isn’t everything. Sure it can open some doors and give you a good start.

However, hard work can often make up for a lack of talent.

A good work ethic is one of the soft skills that just about everyone admires. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, working hard enhances your reputation.

Hard work gets you through even when other soft skills aren’t enough. Hard work added to just about everything leads to a greater chance of success.

Plus, when you show you can work hard, people see that you are willing to do what it takes to succeed.

While you eventually want to shift to working smarter and taking advantage of your talents, hard work can get your foot in the door and help you establish a good relationship with those around you.

Interpersonal skills.

There are no soft skills softer than interpersonal skills. The way you interact with people can make a huge difference in your success at work — and in life.

Sometimes it’s difficult to deal with other people, but developing that skill can take you a long way. As an introvert with ADD, I’ve worked hard to develop some people skills.

I still struggle, and it’s really hard work for me to filter and be sociable sometimes. But I do my best, and I find that these interpersonal skills have opened more doors for me than almost anything else.

Some of the best interpersonal skills to work on include:

  • Listening
  • Managing your body language
  • Learning to read others’ body language
  • Assertiveness
  • Speaking with clarity

You might be surprised at far you can get with good interpersonal skills. You’ll get along with co-workers and bosses better, you’ll be seen as a positive influence, and you might even be pegged as a leader.

Don’t neglect your soft skills as you prepare for a career. No matter your job, or your future plans, work on the skills that can help you where you go.

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Thinking about what it would take to change your career? Expert Alison Cardy shares her story and coaches you through a career shift.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Alison Cardy from Cardy Career Coaching joins Harlan and Miranda. In this episode of Adulting.tv LIVE!, we will talk about preparing for a career change and successfully following through.

Alison Cardy is a career coach who runs an international career coaching team specializing in guiding people through career changes. Her team’s work focuses on that crucial step before job searching: helping you figure out what it is you actually want to be doing with your life. She and her team have guided hundreds of people, in every industry imaginable, to innovative and functional career solutions.

Alison is the author of the 5-star rated bestseller, Career Grease: How to Get Unstuck and Pivot Your Career. Her work has been featured on Monster, Forbes, The Muse, Undercover Recruiter, and The Washington Post.

Watch the video above or listen to just the audio by using the player below.

Hosted byHarlan Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteven Flato
Music bybensound.com

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Do you have to start a side hustle to achieve financial independence? Here’s a practical look at the realities of starting a side gig.

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According to CareerBuilder, 29% of workers have side hustles. Chances are, if you spend any time online trying to figure out how to make more money, you have heard of a side hustle.

Indeed, a side hustle can be a way to earn a little extra cash. But it’s not the magical cure that many hucksters claim. Before you jump into someone else’s idea of what it means to make money, remember that “hustle” means “scam.”

You can do well with a side gig, but you need to be careful about how you proceed.

Concepts

  • Why are side hustles so popular, anyway?
  • How technology makes it easier than ever to make money with a side hustle.
  • Examination of how a side hustle can migrate into a lifestyle business.
  • Difference between a side hustle and a hobby.
  • A look at the history of side gigs and how they’ve changed over the years.
  • Downsides of a side hustle.
  • Understanding the impact a side gig can have on your life.
  • How to know when it’s time to give up on your side gig.

Use our “do nows” tips on figuring out if a side job makes sense for you. We also have ideas for helping you figure out exactly how which side hustles make the most sense for you. Our latest listener question addresses how to get a S.O. involved with your gig.

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Resources

Millennials and side gigs
Income and the “American Dream”
Hosted byHarlan Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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