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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • Dr. Murray Feingold: Stave off the holiday blues this season

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  • There are 32 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas and then six days between Christmas and New Years. This has been described as the “holiday season.” It should be a joyous time spent with family and friends participating in various happy festivities. But, it is also a time that may be hazardous to your physical and mental health.
    As November leaps into December, each day may bring you closer to the holiday blues. There are many reasons for depression during this time such as not being close to your family or friends, unhappy childhood holiday memories, illness, financial stress and the list goes on and on.
    Some people can successfully face the burdens that have been presented to them, but others may need help to overcome the depression that has descended upon them. If so, then seek help because managing the holiday blues alone may be insurmountable.
    For many people, it is also a time that is filled with anxiety – almost all of it self-inflicted and not worth the worry.
    Step back and look at the big picture. Does it really matter if you bought Junior only five gifts instead of six? Will anyone really notice that you bought the wrong brand of cranberry sauce for Christmas dinner? And does it really make that much difference if your holiday cards arrive a few days late?
    Remember the lyrics, “Don’t worry, be happy.”
    Then there are the excessive gastrointestinal and alcoholic consumption issues. Succinctly put - eating and drinking too much. During the holidays, there is usually nothing wrong with eating an extra cookie or two. Or, instead of one drink, drinking two. But it is when you overdo it that you get into trouble. It’s an easy way to put a damper on what is suppose to be a happy time. Use your common sense.
    Also, be realistic in your expectations concerning how good a time you will have during the holidays. Remember, if Uncle Timmy is an unpleasant person, he most likely will be the same during the holidays.
    Travel usually isn’t great during the year and it’s going to be even worse during the holidays.
    If you and your sister-in-law don’t get along, you are probably not going to have a warm and fuzzy relationship at the family get together.
    So, have reasonable expectations, don’t overdo it, don’t worry about inconsequential issues and use of good common sense.
    Make every effort to be certain that the holidays are what they should be - happy memories.
    Dr. Murray Feingold is the physician in chief of The Feingold Center for Children, medical editor of WBZ-TV and WBZ radio, and president of the Genesis Fund. The Genesis Fund is a nonprofit organization that funds the care of children born with birth defects, mental retardation and genetic diseases.
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