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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Overdoing It and The Holiday Blues

Caution: Consult a medical professional if you have major depression, a potentially dangerous condition that requires correct diagnosis and treatment. Home remedies should only be used with medical approval. Also, check with your medical professional for prescription drug contraindications, and double check with your pharmacist to be extra sure.

From now until the new year I'm going to write about depression, focusing on a remedy per day. Today's post is about overdoing it and depression. And by depression, I do not mean major depression. I mean something more like the holiday blues.

One thing that can lead to depression is an excess of activity. You do too much, strive too much, overreach too much, and you take longer to recover. In effect, you're borrowing from tomorrow's energy.

There's a real art to pacing yourself properly, knowing your limits. Forget what others can accomplish, what you'd like to accomplish, what you or someone else may think you should accomplish in a day.

Make a to-do list for the day. Set the items in priority order. Draw the line at a realistic point, one that will not exhaust you. In a previous lifetime, when I was a Mary Kay consultant, I learned her theory on this: make a list of the five most important things you need to do each day; anything more than that was unreasonable. It doesn't sound like five things would take so much of your day, but they really can, interspersed with daily living and things that pop up for you to do during the course of a day.

Another boost you get from paring down your list is the feeling of accomplishment when you actually get the items done that day! I'm not against pushing yourself when you really need to. Sometimes you just have to. But if you do that to yourself every day, biting off more than you can chew, it's easy to feel like an overwhelmed underachiever, after pushing yourself to the limit. How depressing is that!

If you set your sights so high, always out of reach, you can squeeze every ounce of energy out of yourself and never feel satisfied. Yet, if you set your sights properly, you'll feel both stimulated and satisfied. You'll also be better able to tackle tomorrow's tasks. Spread yourself too thin, and you'll break more easily.

So do yourself a favor, and everyone who depends on you as well: pace yourself, set proper limits, and enjoy better physical and emotional health!

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