Advice for Coping with Stress & Depression During the Holidays

December 13, 2010

While the holidays can bring great joy, they can also bring two most unwelcome guests: stress and depression. Stress can lead to headaches, sleep problems, overeating, high blood pressure – and other health issues. And while it’s not uncommon to experience the holiday blues, depression is a different story.  Here are some tips to keep yourself healthy this holiday season:

Try to set realistic goals for yourself and be realistic about what you can and cannot do.

Leave yesterday in the past and look toward the future. Don’t set yourself up by comparing today with the “good old days.”

Try volunteering some of your time to help others.

Enjoy activities that are free, such as taking a drive to look at holiday decorations.

Be aware that excessive drinking increases feelings of depression.

Save time for yourself, and let others help with planning activities.

Remember to exercise! Even moderate exercise will help to ease stress.

When you feel overwhelmed, roll your shoulders back, sit up straight and breathe deeply through your nose, then exhale slowly from your mouth. Do 3 to 4 times to help ease stress.

Remember that a healthy, balanced diet is a good defense against stress.

Choose foods rich in Vitamin B (dark green leafy vegetables and whole grains), Vitamin C (citrus fruit, strawberries, broccoli), Potassium (bananas, yogurt, beans, squash) and Magnesium (whole grain cereals, nuts, soybeans).

Call your family doctor if feelings of stress and depression persist.

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