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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Holidays? What Holidays? Not for me… Sends me flat

Gavin LeSueur - November 22, 2012

The holiday season often triggers some emotional roller coasters — stress and depression. The season present a dizzying array of demands — parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name just a few. The pressure of holidays can leave you feeling flat.

But with some practical tips, you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. You may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would. The Mayo Clinic makes the following suggestions to prevent holiday stress and depression

When stress is at its peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup. Try to prevent stress and depression in the first place, especially if the holidays have taken an emotional toll on you in the past.

Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.

Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow,traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.

Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. Try these alternatives: Donate to a charity in someone’s name, give homemade gifts or start a family gift exchange.

Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.
Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.

Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks. Continue to get plenty of sleep and physical activity.
Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Take a walk at night and stargaze. Listen to soothing music. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.

Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

I’m tough and fit and in denial. I am a man and I don’t need a GP…

Gavin LeSueur - November 13, 2012

Okay blokes, do you have a GP? A GP is a medical doctor, sometimes called a family doctor. They are usually the first person you see for your health care in Australia. GPs complete a medical degree at university, followed by years of special training in general practice. After this, they continue to receive professional training throughout their working life. They are among the most highly trained health professionals in Australia.

Do you have a mechanic? Do you have an electrician or a plumber that you can call on? Just because you rarely get sick it does not mean you should avoid seeing a GP regularly. In fact, when you are well is a good time to find a GP and develop a working relationship with them.

Your GP can help you with physical and mental health problems, including short and long term illnesses, injuries, immunisation, and emotional issues like stress, anxiety, depression and relationship problems. Another very important role of a GP is preventive care, which might include giving you tests to detect an illness early and providing you with advice on how to have a healthy lifestyle.

For example, they can help you quit smoking, cut down on your drinking, advise you on healthy eating and tell you about the benefits of regular exercise.

Even if you feel healthy and don’t think you need a GP, it is still a good idea to find one and sign up with their practice.
There are many benefits to having a regular GP or practice and building up a relationship by seeing him or her regularly. You should feel comfortable and be able to talk openly to your GP so that he or she will be able to get to know you and understand your particular health problems, needs and concerns. It will also make sure that your medical history is kept up to date and stays in the one place.

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