STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY DURING THE HOLIDAYS

With the holidays coming up, the highlight for many people during this season is gathering with family and friends and enjoying favorite holiday treats. Here are some tips that will help you enjoy your holidays to the fullest while not increasing your waistline.

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MAKING AND KEEPING NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

Only 8 percent of individuals achieved their resolutions in 2016, according to Statistic Brain. This is likely due to most people having unrealistic expectations about the speed, ease and consequences of the resolutions they make. People attempting self-change rarely succeed the first time; most need five or six attempts, according to a paper published in American Psychologist by Janet Polivy and Peter Herman. The authors suggest false hope syndrome is the cause for failure.

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HEALTHY HOLIDAY OPTIONS

The holidays are a wonderful time to gather with family and friends to celebrate. These celebrations often consist of many delicious treats and hardy meals. You can still maintain a healthy diet with a little thought and planning in advance. Research from a recent Web-based survey found 18 percent of people feel they cannot eat healthily during the holidays because they don’t want to miss out on their favorite foods. You can still eat the foods you enjoy this season, just in moderation.

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Take care of yourself.

You’re likely suffering from your own heartache as you watch a loved one battle this disorder. When someone is depressed, he or she may say things that are hurtful or negative and your emotions are sure to take a hit. Your emotional health is just as important, and your loved one needs your positive strength to draw from. Keep doing things that make you happy. You may need someone to talk to as well. Seek support to work through your own thoughts and feelings about the situation.


Recovery is different for everyone who suffers from depression. Symptoms may only last a couple of weeks for some, but if left untreated, depression can last up to eight months. Understand recovery doesn’t happen overnight. Being persistent and patient with your loved are the best things you can do.  

Depression is a difficult diagnosis, not only for those who suffer from it, but also for their family members and friends. It’s tough to see a loved one unhappy and unmotivated, struggling with his or her mental state every day. You want to do everything you can to help him or her get back to his or her normal self and find the joy in life again, but what can you say and how much can you intervene without making things worse?


Where family members tend to get it wrong is in thinking depression is just a “bad mood” that can be fixed by “snapping out of it.” Depression is a disorder that is not easily understood and should not be underestimated in its seriousness. While this disorder can be treated, it takes time.


It’s common to feel helpless, frustrated, fearful, sad or even guilty when trying to help someone you love who has depression. Here are some things you can try to positively support your loved one’s recovery:


Learn about depression.

Part of the reason you may struggle to help your loved one is you haven’t experienced the illness yourself. You have no idea what is happening in his or her mind. Make an effort to understand what the person is going through. Understanding his or her thought process and feelings may keep you from saying hurtful things out of frustration.

SUPPORTING A LOVED ONE WITH DEPRESSION

MICHELLE CHALKEY

Michelle Chalkey is a Des Moines-based freelance writer specializing in health and lifestyle topics. She enjoys helping businesses communicate their messages through blogging and effective storytelling. Connect with Michelle on Facebook or check out her blog for helpful tips on the writing process and productivity.

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Express your willingness to help.

Provide assistance in any way the person is willing to accept. You may need to help the person make an appointment with a doctor or therapist, and other times you simply may need to offer your ears. Always listen with no judgment rather than giving advice. It may take time before your loved one accepts your help, but your persistence will let him or her know you haven’t given up on him or her.


Encourage uplifting activities.

Physical activity is one of the best things to do to get the blood moving and possibly lift one’s mood. Offer to take a walk with the person or play a game of tennis. Invite him or her out to see a funny movie or join you at a restaurant. Again, be lovingly persistent.


Don’t place blame or shame.

Understand the person is not choosing to be negative. Someone suffering from depression is truly unable to access positive feelings. He cannot force himself to be happier. Blaming the person for not trying will only make her blame herself for what she cannot help and make her feel more depressed.