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'Easy Does It' Eases Holiday Stress
Date:12/24/2007

>However, it may not be as bad as some might assume. In recent years, American researchers have looked at local statistics and debunked the long-held assumption that suicide rates shoot up around the holidays.

Not every episode of Christmastime depression is minor, however. If you find yourself early in the new year having trouble with sleeping or eating -- doing either one too much or too little -- it's possible that you've fallen into a clinical depression.

If that might be the case, "You should seek some professional evaluation and possibly treatment," Williams said.

In other cases, a little self-help can be key. "In the grand scheme of life, we say, 'Don't sweat the small stuff,'" Guarneri said. "We have to realize that a lot of stress is what we put on ourselves, not what other people are putting on us."

If you're alone and feeling isolated, she said, "get out and do service work, which brings joy to people." And, if you have the opposite problem -- too much to do and too many people to worry about pleasing -- learn to do less. "None of this is worth dying for," she said.

More information

Learn more about holiday stress from the American Psychological Association.



SOURCES: Mimi Guarneri, M.D., medical director, Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, San Diego; Redford Williams, M.D., director, Behavioral Medicine Research Center, professor, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Duke University, Durham, N.C.


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