Kick Those Holiday Blues to the Curb!


Nearly all of us have had the “blues,” but for some people these moods continue for weeks, months or even years. This condition which affects how people feel about themselves – the way they think about life, how they eat, and sleep is called depression. Believe it or not, the holidays with all the media hype, and heightened expectations can cause more people to be depressed than at any other time of the year.  


There are basically two types of depression. Major depression has a combination of symptoms that interfere with your ability to work, sleep, eat, and enjoy pleasurable activities. Episodes of major depression may occur once, but more commonly they reoccur several times in a lifetime. 


Dysthymia, a milder form of depression, involves long- term chronic symptoms that, although not disabling, keep a person from feeling good or functioning well. This type of person is more prone to suffer from major depression more frequently in life than any other.


Depression is found in people of all ages. Genetics can play a part, although depression can occur in those with no family history of the illness. Serious medical illnesses such as stroke, cancer, and hormonal disorders can trigger depression. Others prone to the illness include people who are overwhelmed by stress as well as those going through a traumatic event such as the death of a loved one, the breakup of a relationship, or the loss of a job. 


Symptoms of depression include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, lethargy, and guilt. Often there is a loss of interest in pleasurable activities as well as decreased energy and fatigue. Depressed people also report difficulty concentrating, frequent insomnia or over- sleeping. Thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts are not uncommon. During the holidays many of these feelings worsen as the person experiences the world noisily celebrating as he or she feels shut out and worthless. 


If you have symptoms of depression, get yourself a physical exam. If your doctor finds no physical cause, then have him or her refer you to a qualified mental health counselor who can lead you through a psychological evaluation and perhaps a few counselling sessions. For many people, a combined treatment plan works best: an anti-depressant for symptom relief and, talk therapy to learn better ways to cope with depression or the causes of depression. Often just getting out and talking with a good friend can ease sadness and depression immensely.


Exercise is one of one of the best, and most inexpensive ways to combat that case of Holiday Humbug. Vigorous physical activities like swimming, biking, power walking, and lifting tend to increase your body’s production of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers. These are the same hormones that are released after a good orgasm. How cool is that? So why not stay active, have more sex, and kick those holiday blues to the curb?

Happy Holidays! Tom Bonanti is a certified personal trainer and massage therapist (MA340288) with his own one on one facility in Ft. Lauderdale. Contact with questions or to set up an appointment.