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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Asking for help is difficult, but without assistance, depression is not likely to go away and may get worse. Depression and suicidal ideation, even if severe, usually improve with medication and/or psychotherapy. It is a sign of strength – not weakness – to ask for advice or seek help when you need it.


When depression worsens, suicidal thoughts are much more prevalent. To better manage depression:



If your depression is manifesting in the form of suicidal ideation, talk with someone and make a pact that you will call them if you are tempted to commit suicide.


Sources and Resources


•  Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.org)

•  Medline Plus (www.medlineplus.gov)

•  National Institute of Mental Health  (www.nimh.nih.gov)

Men, are you feeling sad and withdrawn? Do you notice you are not being social these days or you’re working all the time? Are you drinking too much? These may be clues that you have depression. And you may be at risk for suicide.


Depression affects men and women differently. For men, depression may be marked by unhealthy coping or escapist behaviors; too much drinking; or controlling, resistant, abusive behaviors such as reckless driving. Male depression may go unnoticed — and undiagnosed — and could lead to devastating consequences, including suicide.


Women attempt suicide more often, but men die at more than three times the rate and are more likely to follow through effectively, usually with a gun or other lethal method. A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates overall suicide rates rose 24 percent in the past 15 years, but the rate of suicides were much higher for men ages 45 to 64 years and jumped by 43 percent during that time frame.


There are multiple causes for the increases in this group. Men are typically reticent about getting help for medical matters and particularly for mental health issues. And the economic stress over the past decade, including recessions, job losses and downsizing, may have hit older men much more drastically. Depression and suicidal tendencies in elderly males is a widespread problem, with 80 percent of suicides

WE ARE LOSING OUR MEN TO SUICIDE

JEAN JEFFERS

Jean is an RN with an MSN from University of Cincinnati. She is a staff writer for Living Well 60 Plus and Health & Wellness magazines.

more articles by jean jeffers

in this age group consisting of white males. In older adults, life changes may increase the risk for depression or make existing depression worse. These changes include a move to a retirement community, chronic illness or pain, children moving away, a spouse or close friend passing away and loss of independence.


Symptoms of depression may fool you. Someone may have difficulty sleeping, tiredness, irritability and an increase in substance abuse. He may be isolating himself from friends and family or giving away possessions.


If you think a loved one is displaying depressive symptoms and is at risk for suicide, do not leave him alone. Start a gentle, caring conversation and ask what is going on in his life. Tell him you have noticed a change and you are concerned. Be prepared to listen more than you talk. Encourage him to talk to someone he trusts if he does not open up to you, such as a minister or a trained mental health professional. See if he is willing to get help, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to reach trained personnel.