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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Holidays or Holi-daze? Part #3

The holidays are upon us and many of us suffer with pressures of over-doing everything during the holidays—especially over-eating. Perhaps this happens to you? Do you usually put on an additional 10-15 pounds during the holiday season? Many people complain about unhealthy eating patterns which are high in sugar and fat, and low on balance. With a cornucopia of delights available at every turn, it is imperative that we create a plan to maintain a healthy eating lifestyle for the coming months. Here some quick tips to help you through the mounds of temptations:

•Eat only what you really want. Make a decision to think before you impulsively put food in your mouth.
•Realize it is okay to say “no” to food. You will not hurt anyone’s feelings by choosing not to overeat.
•Focus on the holiday and not the food.
•Try to eat healthy and continue regular exercise.This is essential during this holiday season
•Don’t skip meals…this is a set-up for overeatin
•Forget censoring yourself from eating. That is only a set up for overeating.
•Bring your own food if you know healthy food won’t be available.
•Don’t give up if you overeat on one day. Too often people throw in the towel and overeating from one day into a 3-week period.

With a little planning this holiday season can be a healthy time filled with good health and good cheer.

Holidays or Holi-daze? Part #2

The season of over-doing, over-eating, over-committing and over-spending is upon us. As we approach the holiday season, many people call this the time of “holidaze.” Internal and external pressures seem to paralyze us, causing behaviors, which are out of our normal range of functioning.

One of the most common concerns of the holiday season is financial pressure created by overspending. Overwhelmed by the season, many people discover their wallets, checkbooks, and credit cards take a beating, bringing some people to their knees. Many people report overspending which creates a financial crisis, which takes months to repair.

But there are some common tips to help during this holiday season:

•Create a budget for the holiday season and stick with it.
•Use only cash for your purchases (credit spending generally isn’t
felt until it’s too late.)
•Avoid guilt buying. Make a list of gifts to be purchased and stay
with the list.
•Give gifts “of the heart” such as making picture albums, coupons for services, baby-sitting, cooking, or special surprises.

With a little planning you can make this holiday season a holiday instead of a holidaze.

Holidays or Holi-daze? Part #1

Are you one of those people who say “yes” to all holiday activities at your own expense? Do you generally schedule too much in too little time, and expect to do more than is humanly possible? The most common concern of holidaze is overdoing. Symptoms of fatigue, exhaustion, lack of mental concentration, backaches, depression, and anxiety usually affect those who don’t learn some techniques for managing over-committing. Here are some tips for holiday success:

• *Budget your time during this season. Realize that time is limited and make choices that are not putting you at risk for fatigue.
• Set realistic expectations of what can be accomplished. Remember that you will pay the price if you don’t care for yourself.
• *Learn to say “no” to invitations, commitments, and volunteering. Choose to engage in activities that are important to you.
• *Make a list of your activities and prioritize what is truly important during this season. Remember to make time for your family and your self.

With a little preparation this holiday can be a wonderful experience and something to cherish. Start now and make this year the wondrous year of peace, happiness, and serenity!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Election Night: Dealing with Winning or Losing

Election Night: Dealing with Winning or Losing

This election was a historic event whether you were a Republican, Democrat, or Independent. We will investigate some of the psychological impacts of winning and losing an election.

Where there any psychological superstitions or rituals that played in this election?

• McCain carried a lucky penny, lucky nickel, and a lucky quarter. He also carries a lucky compass and a lucky feather
• Obama always plays a round of basketball and shoots some hoops before a big election
• Candidates know they may be at the mercy of unpredictable factors beyond their control, and performing some rituals are something you can control to feel some empowerment.

What are some typical reactions associated with losing?

• Sadness and depression. Candidates may put on a happy face with teary-eyed thanks, but when the loss sinks in, many get caught in self-blame, self-pity, and despair
• Anger and resentment: sometimes the candidate refuses to accept the loss and lashes out at opponents or other issues related to those who might be responsible for the defeat. Anger blocks depression and revenge keeps people energized and focused not giving up
• Euphoria: the relief of being happy that the election is over and candidates tend to talk about what they will embark upon as a result of their defeat
• Denial: refusing to believe the election

What are some of the tips for recovering as a nation?

• Look at the election as a competition. Whether a loss or a win, is not about you as a person, but a philosophy to run the country for the next few years.
• Your self-worth is not determined by a win or loss
• Be proud of your dedication and determination. Be proud of voting and making your vote count.
• The important resolution is that we come together as a nation and psychologically work together to bring unity and dedication to improving our country and world

New information on Seasonal Affective Disorder

The sun is hard to find these dark cold gray days, and millions of Americans start to feel the effects of Seasonal Affective disorder. In early November some new information related to this condition was released.

Is this phenomenon of seasonal blues new?

• In the 1980’s scientific proof established that some people become depressed in early fall or winter and improve in springtime.
• 5% of Americans are affected by SAD and 10-15% of Americans have milder versions

What are some of the typical symptoms of seasonal affective disorder?
• Increasing eating (cravings for carbs, comfort foods)
• Depression
• Decrease in energy levels
• Dampened mood
• Oversleeping

What are some suggestions?
• Get up early and grab some sun: A 30-60 minute walk in the morning will help, but of course with the cold weather, this is difficult for lots of people
• Greet the day with artificial light: Use a light box (a full-spectrum light) on the breakfast table for 30 minutes of simulated light. Some people are even using “dawn simulating lights” by their beds in the morning to ease the symptoms
• Light up your life: Turn on some extra lights in your office or home. There is less evidence that this will help your mood, but it might help a bit since some reports sow that the light spectrum produced by energy saving compact fluorescent bulbs have produced some mood lifting trends vs. old bulbs.
• Remember there is no proof that tanning beds help with SAD
• Reach out to a licensed mental health professional to help with strategies to lower your mood disruptions.