December 25, 2008

Focus on Joy, Not Toys

With countless families struggling in the tough economy, seasonal blues are common; but focusing on the meaning of the holidays may help fight the depression.

"Keeping perspective on the purpose of the holidays is key," Waguih William IsHak, M.D., medical director of the Adult Outpatient Psychiatry Service at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Calif., was quoted as saying. "Remember that this is a time to express appreciation, love and togetherness, and that doesn't have to mean spending the big bucks."

Dr. IsHak suggests replacing lavish presents and parties with hand-made holiday cards and gifts and at-home gatherings. Purchasing gifts that put pressure on your budget can cause anxiety, which is why he says to keep in mind that how much a gift costs is not as important as the meaning of it.

Other tips for dealing with the holiday season include: set a budget and stick to it; share holiday duties like shopping, party planning and cooking; take care of yourself by limiting alcohol intake, eating well and getting enough sleep; and remember there is no standard for a 'perfect' holiday so feel free to create your own unique way to celebrate.


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