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Ten tips to make it better

2011-11-28 11:54

Georgina Guedes

I do not have a spring in my step these days. There’s quite a bit to worry about, even for those not prone to worrying.

Is the Protection of State Information Bill the first step to erode all the freedoms that South Africans enjoy under democracy? Is the apparent recent spike in crime just the annual criminal Christmas shopping spree, or are things getting worse?

Will the Rand continue to fall into tatters? Is the international economy going to continue to spiral downwards as if the big economist in the sky pulled the plug, or will things come right? Will COP13 have any kind of a positive impact on the environment or are we all too deep in recession to give a damn?

While we should all be concerned about these things, or at least trying to think of constructive ways to solve some of the problems, there’s no point in wallowing in worry. Rather try to uplift yourself by creating positive change in your own space. Here are some suggestions:

1. Participate in educational initiatives. Learning is the key to unlocking a successful future for all South Africans, but precious little is done about it. If you’re going to donate money or equipment to a charity this year-end, make it a school. Get a MySchool card and remember to swipe it every time you shop at participating retailers. If you have a spare evening, find out about teaching adult literacy classes in your area.

2. Don’t forget about the environment. It seems like an intangible issue in the face of all the other worries with which we are confronted, but keep doing your bit - recycle, fix dripping taps, turn off and unplug when you can, go solar if you can, pick up litter, reduce packaging, reuse plastic packets., walk if you’re near enough. Don’t give up because it’s boring; make it a way of life.

3. Look after your safety. If, like me, you’ve been a little bit relaxed about home security, take steps to plug any holes. There’s a difference between being positive and being stupid. Crime is a reality in this country, so do what you can to avoid becoming a victim – especially at this time of year.

4. Treat those in your personal sphere well. No man is an island; we are surrounded by other people and bound by human relationships. When Aunt Bernadette announces she’s coming for Christmas, this may feel like a burden, but remember that your actions have a direct impact on others. Treasure your family, tip your staff and remember to express your appreciation.

5. Participate in your community. Human beings are social creatures, but we live in increasing isolation. Take part in neighbourhood initiatives – get to know your neighbours (drop off a Christmas card), go to the residents’ association year-end braai, volunteer if help is needed and agree to participate in Halloween trick-or-treating. You don’t have to become that awful woman on the Body Corporate, but you should get involved.

6. Take care of those less fortunate. Any society is judged by how it treats its most compromised citizens. Although charity begins at home, it doesn’t end there. Do what you can to look after people in need – especially at Christmas.

7. Look out for your health. Dealing with illness is one thing. Dealing with doctors, hospitals and medical aids can take years off your life. Rather avoid this altogether by doing all the little things you know you should be doing – eat right, exercise, drink enough water, combat stress – to be the healthiest you you can be.

8. Take a break. Even if you’re not going away, or working right through the holiday season, give yourself a break. Do something special or festive, make time for the people you love the best, find the time to do something you really enjoy doing so that you can approach the new year with some positive memories to look back on.

9. Make New Year’s resolutions. Although it’s become fashionable to say “This year I resolve not to resolve”, there’s no point in going on if you’re not planning to improve your life. Think of things that you really want to give up or achieve in the New Year, resolve to do them, and stick to the resolution.

10. Relax. When you’ve made your plans, sowed your seeds and done your bit, put your feet up. You don’t have to be improving your life or the world every second of every day, and sometimes sprawling in front of the television, spooning a jar of Nutella into your mouth is the best and most appropriate way to deal with things.

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

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Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.


Comments
  • Stacey-Ann - 2011-11-28 13:18

    Thanks for the positive words - you are right - with everything going on in the world - what do we have to lose by being positive - i know we can gain so much.

  • Spyker - 2011-11-28 13:19

    Georgina - please snap out of your hippie commune of cognitive denial, there is only ONE way to "...make it better..." - GET RID OF THE ANC..!

      Sunett - 2011-11-29 10:39

      Ai tog, Spykertjie... I think you should read this article another couple of times. You could certainly use some of the advise! CHILLAX for a bit - we can carry on hating each other later. For now, try to get into the holiday spirit, laugh a little!

  • Hans - 2011-11-28 13:48

    They may take away press freedom, but unlike the apartheid days, there is the internet. Sites like You-Tube etc, can show what is really going on. There will be many ways to figure out what's going on.So don't stress, the ANC cannot control the internet.

      Wes - 2011-11-29 09:00

      Has the ANCYL shut down this TWeeeta thing yet.

  • Big_guy - 2011-11-28 14:16

    Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you'll live... at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin' to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take... OUR FREEDOM!

      Sunett - 2011-11-29 10:40

      Lol!! Brilliant, Big guy!!

  • Maai - 2011-11-28 16:01

    11. Stop reading drivel posted by Georgina Guedes.

  • Win - 2011-11-28 23:15

    Come on Georgina, making things better?? Just forget it. Things couldn't be more perfect than they are. LOVE WHAT IS -- there is no other answer, because your column could have been written 200 years ago too. These things never change, only your attitude can change.

  • ShaneJacoby - 2011-11-29 12:07

    Please read my story: Star Wars - South African edition http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Star-Wars-The-South-African-edition-20111129

  • ellen.h.matendana - 2011-11-29 14:47

    Thank you for the kind words ....

  • Mario - 2011-12-05 18:12

    Thank you for a positive opinion and advice Yes all South Africans lets work together God bless sand best wishes to all

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