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Managing Stress During the Holidays


The 2020 holiday season has begun! Let me be the first to wish you a safe fulfilled holiday season. For many this is the most anticipated time of the year. A time filled with parties, presents, celebrations, time with family and friends. For countless others, this time of the year represents stress, anxiety and depression. The very things like decorating, wrapping gifts and so forth make certain folks very happy and at the same time can evoke the feelings of stress, fatigue and depression for others.

Luckily, for those of us who respond to the holiday with dread www.webmd.com has put together a list of tips to help us cope with holiday stress and depression. Following are a few of the tips. Please visit the website for the full list.

  1. Make realistic expectations for the holiday season. Set realistic goals for yourself.

  2. Try something new. Celebrate the holidays in a new way.

  3. Pace yourself. Do not take on more responsibilities than you can handle.

  4. Make a list and prioritize the important activities. This can help make holiday tasks more manageable.

  5. Spend time with supportive and caring people.

  6. Do not put all your energy into just one day (i.e., Thanksgiving Day, New Year's Eve). The holiday cheer can be spread from one holiday event to the next.

  7. Live and enjoy the present.

  8. Look to the future with optimism.

  9. Don't set yourself up for disappointment and sadness by comparing today with the good old days of the past.

  10. If you are lonely, try volunteering some time to help others.

  11. Find holiday activities that are free, such as looking at holiday decorations, going window shopping without buying, and watching the winter weather, whether it's a snowflake or a raindrop.

  12. Reach out and make new friends.

  13. Make time to contact a long-lost friend or relative and spread some holiday cheer.

  14. Let others share the responsibilities of holiday tasks.

  15. Keep track of your holiday spending. Overspending can lead to depression when the bills arrive after the holidays are over. Extra bills with little budget to pay them can lead to further stress and depression.

In addition, studies show that people who consume a healthy diet are 40% to 50% less likely to develop depression. The good news is that there is a group of nutrient –packed foods that help to protect the brain from depression. These same nutrients are good for the brains overall health as well. Dave Ramsey, MD and his colleagues developed the following list of nutrients deemed good for the brain. Additional information regarding Dr. Ramsey’s research can be found at www.daveramseymd.com.

  1. Long-chain omega 3 fatty acids – these combat brain inflammation

  2. Zinc – this mineral aids in the development of new brain cells

  3. Folate – also known as B9 is needed for good moods and a healthy brain

  4. Iron – this element is an essential cofactor in the synthesis of mood synthesis of mood regulating neurotransmitters

  5. Magnesium – this mineral is important to the insulation of brain cell health. A deficiency in magnesium can lead to depression, anxiety, symptoms of ADHD, insomnia and fatigue

  6. Vitamin B-12 – helps to make neurotransmitters that are key to mood and memory

  7. Vitamin E – this antioxidant is linked to the prevention of clinical depression

  8. Dietary fiber – a high fiber diet supports a healthy gut bacteria which growing evidence shows is key for mental health

I hope that you find this information useful. As a reminder, consult your physician before adding these supplements.

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