Screw the Holiday Blues

14 Dec

The December/January issue of Men’s Fitness magazine, with Ben Roethlisberger on the cover, has a 7-step plan to give that foul holiday mood a serious beat-down.  “Happy holidays?  Bah, humbug.  For some guys, December is actually the darkest month, says Andrew Weil, M.D. ‘There’s a contradiction between expectations of joy and reality.’ he says. (The sucky economy doesn’t help.) Conquer the problem with these simple all natural mood boosters:

1. Get your ass to the gym. It’s still the best way to prevent the holiday funk.  A 2008 study backs this up: subjects who were most fit were also the least likely to experience depression.  Now that’s “lifting” your spirits.

2.  Strike a pose. Who knew “downward dog” would do more than simply make you think of sexy time?  Yoga is also an effective treatment for depression because it helps hike up levels of the same chemicals in the brain that are targeted by many antidepressants.

3.  “Wort” off the blues. Although St. John’s has not yet been proven effective against major depression, the over-the-counter herb can help minor depression.  It’s sold as a capsule, tea, or liquid extract.

4.  Let her (or him) tickle you. Maybe laughter is the best medicine.  According to a recent study, watching a funny flick may increase your body’s production of beta-endorphins, the family of chemicals that alleviate depression.

5.  Step into the light. Soak in as much bright light during the day as possible. Or invest in a light-therapy box, which mimics natural outdoor light, causing a biochemical change that lifts your mood.

6.  Go Fish. Depressed patients have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are primarily found in fish.  Weil says that just 2 to 3 grams of fish oil a day can leave you happier.

7.  Ho, Ho, Hold on to your wallet. Even if you’re one of the lucky ones still working, this isn’t the time to splurge.  Watch your spending for the rest of the month or you may feel anxious about that monstrous credit card bill coming in January.

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