Monday, December 17, 2007

Please read . . .

Newswise — The houseguests are gone. The gifts have been exchanged. The decorations are down, and so are you. If you’re feeling blue following the holidays, you’re not alone.

“I see more cases of depression in January than any other time of year,” says Gary L. Malone, M.D., medical director and chief of behavioral health at Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth.

Why is depression so common following the holidays? The frantic holiday season is catching up with you. You overate, overdrank, overspent and overextended yourself. Maybe a family gathering reignited an old grudge, or a get-together reminded you of a lost loved one. The hustle and bustle of the season may have distracted you, but now there’s seemingly nothing to look forward to until spring.

The good news is that you can beat your post-holiday blues. Dr. Malone offers the following tips:

- Eat, drink and be healthy. Raid your pantry and toss any leftover holiday treats. Eating a balanced diet will give you more energy and will make you feel better. Cut back on caffeine if you’re having trouble sleeping, and limit your alcohol intake. Excessive consumption contributes to depression.

- Work it out. Physical activity releases feel-good chemicals in your body that help make you happier. Plus, it will rid you of those extra pounds you gained during the holiday season. If the winter weather is keeping you from your regular fitness routine, take it inside. Walk the inside perimeter of a mall or join a gym. Many offer New Year’s specials.

- Share your feelings. Don’t keep your frustrations bottled up. Confide in a trusted friend or family member. Often just talking about what’s bothering you can be a big relief. Your confidant may be able to offer a realistic perspective on what you’re going through.

- Know when to ask for help. If your post-holiday blues don’t go away, or if you experience physical symptoms of depression, talk with your doctor. Treatment is available and may include antidepressants and therapy.

Symptoms of Depression
- a persistent sad or “empty” mood
- sleeping too little or too much
- weight loss or weight gain
- loss of interest in once-enjoyed activities
- restlessness
- difficulty concentrating
- fatigue
- thoughts of death or suicide
Source: National Mental Health Association

For more information about Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth, visit

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