Categories for Holidays

Celebrating the 4th of July with Gratitude for the Good in Our Lives

Holidays often serve as markers in our lives – markers of seasons (the middle of the summer), reminders of prior years (what we did for the 4th of July when we were growing up), and touchstones for reflection (what are we celebrating and why). I love the 4th of July holiday largely because we have a legacy of wonderful family get-togethers that are a lot of fun and which evoke a large number of fond memories for me. And our family celebrations involve several traditions that I enjoy: being outside playing games, shooting fireworks, barbecuing, swimming and boating, and watching... Continue reading...

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July 1, 2024 8:57 am
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3 Tools to Help You Take a Break and Relax (Right Now)

If you are like me, you probably get tired of all the advice we are given – from social media, blogs, the news, our family. And one of the most common topics is “how to avoid getting overly stressed during the holidays” (which is helpful). But, to be honest, I don’t need more information. I just need to do some of what I already know I should. So, I thought I’d take a different approach this week. I’m going to give you some tools to take a break and relax right now (while you are reading this). Tool #1: Humor... Continue reading...

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December 11, 2023 9:00 am
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Reflecting on the Realities of Loneliness

The increasing references to loneliness in our culture creates a variety of responses within us (some communicated, most are not). Clarifying What Loneliness Is Loneliness is not the same as being alone. Feeling lonely is not just a result of being physically distant from others. We can be in the same room with others and still feel a sense of loneliness. Conversely, it is possible to be alone (physically) and yet feel cared for and connected to others. Loneliness is an internal experience which is often accompanied by sadness, unhappiness and a sense of disconnectedness from others. People who feel... Continue reading...

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December 4, 2023 9:24 am
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Avoiding Holiday Burnout: Tips for Managing Stress

“The holidays.” Those two words are packed with memories, fleeting media images and mixed emotions. The Hannukah-Christmas-New Year’s holiday season has begun, and if you are like me, they cause a rapid succession of excitement, anticipation, anxiety, wonder, and exhaustion (and I haven’t even done anything yet). Practical advice and some you (probably) don’t usually hear. Stress is essentially the experience of having more demands in your life than the resources you have to meet those demands. More stuff to do (make food, travel to relatives) with the same time = stress. Experiencing more people and relationships than you have the emotional energy needed... Continue reading...

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November 27, 2023 9:16 am
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Don’t Be a Turkey: How to Show Appreciation at Work this Thanksgiving

Team leaders are often encouraged (bombarded is actually a better word) to communicate appreciation to colleagues during the Thanksgiving holiday season. Expressing thanks for a job well done is sure to be received well, right? Not necessarily. At times, clueless managers are at risk for saying thanks in ways that won’t be received well. They don’t really “get” appreciation and what the big deal is – but they try anyway, and often their actions seriously miss the mark and actually wind up being offensive. Here are some actions to avoid: The “Who is this person impersonating our supervisor?” card. The... Continue reading...

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November 20, 2023 9:30 am
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An Easy Approach to Thanksgiving: An Activity for All Ages

  Trying to figure out how to make your Thanksgiving celebration meaningful can be challenging. Going around the table and having everyone share something they are thankful for is a time-honored tradition, but it can also feel somewhat mechanical and superficial. So I thought I’d put together a fun activity that might make it easier and more engaging for different ages present, from older adults to children. I call it: “How to Get F’s for Thanksgiving.” Since many of us rely on cues to access out memories, it is helpful to have some present when possible. Pictures, in particular, of... Continue reading...

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November 13, 2023 10:11 am
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The Most Important (and Hidden) Guest at Thanksgiving

We’ve entered November, which means Thanksgiving is approaching. And unfortunately, for many people, thoughts about this year’s Thanksgiving bring up negative reactions and raises our anxiety. (This is in contrast to focusing on past Thanksgiving holidays where we can usually recall some positive memories and feelings.) Why might this be? I would propose that there is a singular guest we all have at our holiday events – regardless of what type of Thanksgiving celebration we have. And this guest is usually hidden, until we learn they aren’t pleased. Who is it? Expectations. Take a moment to think about this year’s... Continue reading...

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November 6, 2023 9:34 am
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Four Steps to Make Sure You Return from Your Vacation Rested

Summer has arrived. And along with the warmer weather comes the opportunity for summer vacations. Getting away from your home, your daily routine and responsibilities provides a needed mental break necessary for you to rejuvenate and re-energize. Vacations can provide valuable time for a mental reset that can be beneficial to you both personally and professionally. Unfortunately, we often come back from a vacation tired and worn down and needing additional time to recover from our trip. To help, here are some suggestions for getting the most out of your time off. The Four R’s Rest. Try to schedule your vacation... Continue reading...

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June 5, 2023 8:47 am
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How to Give Thoughtful Employee Gifts This Holiday Season

Determining if you should give a gift to those with whom you work—colleagues, supervisors, managers, and direct reports – can be one of the more anxiety-inducing activities around the holiday season. If you do decide that you want to give an employee gift, the practical issue becomes: “What should I give them?” While some may think giving employees gifts isn’t valued in the workplace, many find these small tokens of appreciation go a long way. We conducted research with individuals who prefer being shown appreciation through gifts. Responses from 500 employees who were randomly selected out of a group of... Continue reading...

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December 12, 2022 9:00 am
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We Need to Rethink Holiday Celebrations at Work – Especially Now

To be blunt – end of year holiday celebrations have become a significant source of pain for a lot of people. Planning (and experiencing) these events creates a lot of angst and anxiety – to the point that many have asked, “Why do we keep doing them?” The answer is often, “because we’ve always done them before.” Even though, by itself, this is a rather absurd answer, it actually points to the real reason workplace holiday celebrations continue: expectations. And when expectations aren’t met, bad results follow: disappointment, complaining, negative comments, unhappy people, and lots of questions (“Why didn’t we... Continue reading...

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December 5, 2022 9:00 am
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Don’t Be a Turkey: How to Show Appreciation at Work this Thanksgiving

Team leaders are often encouraged (bombarded is actually a better word) to communicate appreciation to colleagues during the Thanksgiving holiday season. Expressing thanks for a job well done is sure to be received well, right? Not necessarily. At times, clueless managers are at risk for saying thanks in ways that won’t be received well. They don’t really “get” appreciation and what the big deal is – but they try anyway, and often their actions seriously miss the mark and actually wind up being offensive. Here are some actions to avoid: The “Who is this person impersonating our supervisor?” card. The... Continue reading...

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November 14, 2022 9:21 am
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Four Steps to Ensure You Return from Your Vacation Rested

Summer has arrived. And along with the warmer weather comes the opportunity for summer vacations. Getting away from your home, your daily routine and responsibilities provides a needed mental break necessary for you to rejuvenate and re-energize. Vacations can provide valuable time for a mental reset that can be beneficial to you both personally and professionally. Unfortunately, we often come back from a vacation tired and worn down and needing additional time to recover from our trip. To help, here are some suggestions for getting the most out of your time off. The Four R’s Rest. Try to schedule your vacation... Continue reading...

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June 27, 2022 9:00 am
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Perseverance, Focus & Positivity

To begin the New Year, I thought I’d share a few thoughts about three key characteristics associated with success: perseverance, focus, and positivity. Perseverance Following up on last week’s blog on persevering to complete previous goals, here’s an image to consider. Focus When you focus on problems, you will find more problems. When you focus on possibilities, you will discover opportunities. Positivity And a couple of thoughts on positivity: I was called ‘pretty’ today!  Actually, the full statement was, ‘You are pretty annoying,’ but I only focus on positive things. *** “Sometimes when you are in a dark place, you... Continue reading...

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January 3, 2022 9:21 am
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How to Avoid Holiday Burnout: Tips for Managing Stress

“The holidays.” Those two words are packed with memories, fleeting media images and mixed emotional reactions. The Hannukah-Christmas-New Year’s holiday season has begun, and if you are like me, with them comes a rapid succession of excitement, anticipation, anxiety, wonder, and a sense of tiredness (and I haven’t even done anything yet). Practical advice and some you (probably) don’t usually hear. Stress is essentially the experience of having more demands in your life than the resources you have to meet those demands. More stuff to do (make food, travel to relatives) with the same time = stress. Experiencing more people and relationships than the... Continue reading...

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December 13, 2021 9:00 am
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Should I Give Gifts to My Colleagues This Holiday Season?

Tips for Navigating Holiday Gift-Giving It’s the time of year when many of us are starting to think: “I’d like to get my colleagues (or boss) a gift for the holidays, but what? I don’t want it to look like I’m just trying to ‘look good.’ But I don’t want to give them some trinket that will come across as schmaltzy. What should I get them… if anything?” I’m going to give you some advice to consider, some of which may surprise you. Unfortunately, in most work settings, the way gifts are given (as well as what is given and when they are given) reinforce our negative... Continue reading...

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November 29, 2021 9:00 am
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Your Thanksgiving Celebrations Poll Results

Holiday Football, the 5-Second Rule, and the Popularity of Pumpkin Anything We recently asked you to share about your Thanksgiving celebrations and experiences and over 200 of you responded! Our staff enjoyed reading about your traditions and dishes – from the familiar to the ‘new to us.’ Your comments ranged from the common frustrations surrounding who hosts, what is served and dealing with annoying relatives to the anticipation of spending time with college-aged children who will return home, finally getting to meet new family members born during quarantine, games, laughter and spending time together in person. Eighty-three people answered our... Continue reading...

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November 22, 2021 6:13 pm
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Heads or Tail (Feathers)? Successes and Failures – Tell Us About Your Thanksgiving Celebrations

Recently, I wrote about humor in the workplace and thought it would be good to put some of the principles in action. And Thanksgiving seemed like a good time to ask about and share some successes and “fails” people have experienced over the years. While the Thanksgiving holiday and giving gratitude at work are important, I personally have become a little worn down by all of the reminders to “be sure and tell your colleagues you are thankful for them.” (If you do want something in that vein, read this past entry from our blog.) Let’s agree that is a... Continue reading...

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November 8, 2021 9:00 am
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The Most Important (Countercultural) Steps for Making 2021 a Success

Individuals who do well in life commonly utilize four key skills to help their lives move forward in a healthy direction. That is, people who achieve healthy personal goals tend to incorporate the same tools to assist them in moving toward their aspirations.  Unfortunately, some of these tools are not valued or embraced in our culture, which makes consistently utilizing them more difficult. Yes, believe it or not, we need to acknowledge that some of the beliefs and values of the majority Western culture are actually not helpful to us in living our lives well. Four Important (but often Countercultural)... Continue reading...

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January 4, 2021 9:00 am
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The Grinch Who Hated Appreciation at Work

This year’s holiday season will be different in many ways. But we thought you might enjoy a look back at what employees love and hate about celebrating the holidays in the workplace. There’s an even a link in the post sharing readers’ stories of their best and worst memories.

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December 14, 2020 9:00 am
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How To Give Thoughtful Employee Gifts This Holiday Season

One of the more anxiety-inducing activities around the holiday season is trying to determine if you should give a gift to those with whom you work—colleagues, supervisors, managers, and direct reports. If you do decide that you want to give an employee gift, the practical issue becomes: “What should I give them?”  While some may think giving employees’ gifts isn’t valued in the workplace, many find these small tokens of appreciation go a long way. Businesses spend billions of dollars on recognition rewards every year in hopes of creating a better employee experience and even increasing their bottom line, but... Continue reading...

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December 7, 2020 9:00 am
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Thinking Ahead: Ways to Avoid a Thanksgiving “Downer”

Thanksgiving is coming up next week and the holiday has been in the news due to the impact the COVID-19 virus is having on our lives. I will leave the practical suggestions on how to make a holiday gathering safe to the medical experts (for those of you who choose to get together with family and friends). I want to present some thoughts and suggestions that you should consider before planning your holiday celebration — in hopes of helping you think clearly about the options you are considering and giving you ways to avoid experiencing a depressing Thanksgiving Day. First,... Continue reading...

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November 16, 2020 9:00 am
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Reflections: What Is the United States of America?

As a country, we are in the midst of a number of events which have upset our (until recently) normal, daily life activities. This unsettledness has created the opportunity to rethink “who we are” as a country – and who we want to become. I’m not the most reflective person, but I have been thinking about the United States – our history (good and bad), our current status, what makes us the country we have become, and how we are similar to and different from other countries (either current, or those in the past.) What is a Country? Countries are... Continue reading...

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June 29, 2020 8:52 am
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Memorial Day in the Time of COVID-19

A typical Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. represents a variety of things to different people: A day off of work The beginning of summer Going to the lake Having a barbeque with friends and family The Indianapolis 500 Visiting family gravesites Veterans parades and celebrations Watching war movies This year has already brought substantial changes in our daily lives and this weekend will be no exception. Sporting events and parades are cancelled. BBQs and travel, if they happen at all, will look markedly different. I usually take time over the Memorial Day weekend to gather with my family and... Continue reading...

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May 22, 2020 8:27 am
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Setting Goals for the New Year? Consider Finishing Some of Last Year’s Instead

It’s that time of the year again – when we think about resolutions for the new year. Rather than considering a new list of “to do’s,” I’ve been thinking more about the role of perseverance in our lives, and in the lives of those who accomplish meaningful goals. While resolving to start new habits or achieve new goals is obviously a worthy endeavor, I believe sticking to and finishing those tasks not yet completed may be a better use of our time and energy. Our culture idolizes the “new” and really doesn’t think much of the boring, “steady as she goes,” day in... Continue reading...

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December 30, 2019 10:06 am
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Happy Thanksgiving

Dr. Paul White and the staff at Appreciation at Work would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. As we draw nearer the holiday this year, we wanted to share an excerpt from Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation establishing Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday. ********** “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to... Continue reading...

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November 25, 2019 9:00 am
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Don’t Be a Turkey: How to Show Appreciation at Work This Thanksgiving

Team leaders are often encouraged (“bombarded” is actually a better word) to communicate appreciation to colleagues during the Thanksgiving holiday season. Expressing thanks for a job well done is sure to be received well, right? Not necessarily. At times, clueless managers are at risk for saying “thanks” in ways that won’t be received well. They don’t really “get” appreciation and what the big deal is – but they try anyway, and often their actions seriously miss the mark and actually wind up being offensive. Here are some actions to avoid: The “Who is this person impersonating our supervisor?” card. The... Continue reading...

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November 18, 2019 9:00 am
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Making Your Vacation Work for You: The 4 R’s

Labor Day is often seen as the unofficial end of summer, a last chance to spend time with family and friends before school shifts into full gear and autumn sweeps in. While the three-day weekend doesn’t afford as much time as a full summer vacation, it can still provide valuable time for a mental reset that can be beneficial to you both personally and professionally. Getting away from your home and your daily routine and responsibilities provides a needed mental break necessary to rejuvenate and re-energize. The Four R’s Rest. Try to schedule your vacation activities in a way that allows... Continue reading...

Published by
August 26, 2019 8:55 am
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