Maintaining Routine Can Chase Holiday Blues Away

The season is stressful, but simple steps can help you cope

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SATURDAY, Dec. 22, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- While the Christmas season is a time of joy and celebration for many, it can trigger holiday blues in some people.

If you are prone to holiday blues, there are things you can do to help prevent them, says Dr. Rajnish Mago, director of the Mood Disorders Program at the Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Mago offered the following tips:

  • Maintain your daily routine as much as possible. Don't vary by more than an hour either way the time you normally wake up, eat and go to bed. Sticking to your daily routine can help stabilize your biorhythm and reduce stress and sadness.
  • Get exercise, which is an important stress-reliever. Research has shown that aerobic exercise alone can reduce depression. Get at least 30 minutes (45 minutes is better) of exercise a day. If you're older or have health problems, check with your doctor before you start an exercise program.
  • Limit your chocolate consumption. Research has shown that chocolate can give people a temporary mood boost, but it can increase sadness over the long-term.
  • If you have to spend time with relatives or friends with whom there may be conflict, determine beforehand how you're going to deal with the situation, rather than simply getting swept up in a bad situation.
  • Instead of scouring overcrowded stores for the perfect gift for each person, buy gift cards or certificates. Or you can purchase presents online or over the phone.

More information

Mental Health America has more about holiday depression and stress.

SOURCE: Thomas Jefferson University, news release, December 2007

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