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How to enjoy the holidays without the blues

| Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, 9:00 p.m.

The holidays are supposed to be among the happiest times of the year, but they can be stressful and just plain depressing for some people. Headaches, excessive drinking, overeating and insomnia are some of the “possible consequences of poorly managed holiday stress,” according to MedicineNet, an online healthcare media publishing company. Calming activities like meditation, prayer, exercise and reading can help when done on a regular basis.

Honesty is still the best policy. It is important to be honest with yourself and relatives, and discuss and make a plan in regards to finances and stick to it. Holidays also are strong links to family, and in some cases, family issues.

Often, we create our own stress. We pressure ourselves to be perfect, and we pressure others to be perfect, and that causes an increase in stress and anxiety.

There can be sad feelings during the winter due to seasonal affective disorder, because grief over the loss of a loved one, the winter “blahs” because of a shortage of daylight hours, the stress and anxiety of Christmas shopping, etc. Here are some tips to combat those negative feelings:

• Increase the light around you by adding more lamps or candles.

• Eat lighter and drink more fluids. Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, decrease fatty food intake.

• Find more winter activities. Physical activity often elevates one's mood.

• Keep a journal. Write down your blessings; record the positive feelings.

• Surround yourself with supportive and positive people. If negativity enters the conversation, change the subject.

• Help someone else. Praying for others and volunteering are often ways to feel grateful.

— St. Cloud (Minn.) Times

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