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Dealing With Post-Holiday Blues

Feelings of discouragement are common after the holidays. The excitement has faded, the decorations are packed away, and visiting relatives have gone home.

If you find yourself feeling down or restless but you do not have other symptoms of depression, such as difficulty sleeping or sudden change in weight, you may be experiencing what is known as mild depression. In their book New Light on Depression (Zondervan), David B. Biebel, D.Min., and Harold G. Koenig, M.D., offer six self-help strategies to counteract mild depression:

1. Surround yourself with constructive friends.
2. Increase your activity—this will make you feel better and improve your mental outlook.
3. Relax—a new twist on the old adage: "All work and no play makes Jack or Jill depressed."
4. Helping others gives your life purpose and meaning.
5. Journal—this activity provides insight into where you've been, where you are, and where you're going.
6. Praying connects you with God, dispels loneliness and puts your problems in proper perspective.

Biebel and Koenig point out that these tips do not replace professional help for anyone who is more than mildly depressed. If you feel you need help, don't hesitate to seek a professional counselor or therapist.

Forgive and Be Healed

I have often wondered, Why do we see much more rheumatoid arthritis occurring in women than in men? I began to pay close attention to the studies showing that men are usually able to express their anger, whereas women tend to hold it in and become depressed. I recalled the scripture, "A broken spirit drieth the bones" (Prov. 17:22, KJV).

Could it be that a "broken spirit" in some women is causing rheumatoid arthritis? Is it causing the joints and bones to be inflamed and weakened?

God Has the Answer to Depression

To look at me today, you would never guess I once struggled with severe depression. I am full of the joy of the Lord and minister several times a month at churches and conferences where I help people get free from all types of bondage.

But nearly 30 years ago, I was almost debilitated by this malady. When I was in its grip, all I wanted to do was go to bed and sleep-hardly an option for a wife and mother of two young children. It got so bad I didn't care to be around people at all.

Kids, TV and Obesity

Scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Children's Hospital Boston found that children who spend more time watching television are more likely to eat the high-calorie foods they see advertised. Previous studies have linked children who watch more television to obesity, but this study (results appear in the April 2006 issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine) breaks new ground by providing evidence explaining the connection.

Calories or Carb?

Gary Heavin, founder and CEO of Curves International, observes that some women do well on a particular diet, while other women on the same diet not only don't lose weight, but actually gain weight. He attributes this to varied metabolisms and because some women are carbohydrate-sensitive and others are calorie-sensitive.

Carb-sensitive women are more than 25 pounds overweight, have been overweight most of their lives, often skip meals and crave starchy or sugary foods.

Body Shape Linked to Disease

When it comes to your health, it is important to be aware of and manage your weight. But according to Don Colbert, M.D., author of The Bible Cure series (Siloam), you should also be aware of how you're overweight. Where is your body's excess fat located? This is critically important when it comes to evaluating your risk of developing certain health conditions.

Apple-shaped. Do you have a few love handles on your tummy, abdomen and back? If you have abdominal obesity, or central obesity, you are considered "apple-shaped."

"If you are apple-shaped, you are much more likely to develop high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes and coronary artery disease," says Colbert in his book The Bible Cure for High Blood Pressure (Siloam). He explains that when your fat is mainly in your abdomen, it tends to accumulate in your arteries, leading to vascular disease.

Chicken Soup for the...Nose?

We've heard of chicken soup for the soul, but for the nose? It's true, according to family doctor Don Colbert. "Chicken soup can help a cold or flu," he writes in The Bible Cure for Colds, Flu and Sinus Infections. "Hot chicken soup will actually help increase the flow of mucus and help clear out your sinuses."

Hot herbal teas and vegetable broths are also good for nasal congestion, Colbert says. But he advises that some foods can result in a buildup of mucus and should be avoided during a head cold or sinus infection. These include cold drinks, frozen treats, eggs, chocolate and food additives.

Eat Your Broccoli

Why? It's one of the most effective anti-cancer foods you can buy! Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine discovered that broccoli contains a natural compound that helps the body fight cancer by causing it to produce protective enzymes. These enzymes detoxify the carcinogens that could potentially lead to cell mutations. If you want to get the highest concentration of the compound, choose young broccoli sprouts--and the fresher, the better.

All or Nothing

Reginald B. Cherry, M.D. claims that nutritional supplements can provide optimal health benefits "only if they consist of nutrients in their most complete, natural and bioavailable forms." A case in point is vitamin E. Generally sold in its isolated, alphatocopherol form, vitamin E is actually a family of nutrients consisting of four tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma and delta) and four tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma and delta), Cherry says. He recommends that the various forms of vitamin E be taken together because they work as an antioxidant team to give maximum protection against disease.

Avoiding Asthma Triggers

In his book The Bible Cure for Asthma (Siloam) Don Colbert, M.D., says that some food additives might trigger an asthma attack. Read labels carefully and avoid the following:

  • Preservatives BHA and BHT, found in cereals and other grains
  • MSG, often used as a flavor enhancer in Asian food
  • Food coloring, namely tartrazine (yellow dye #5), found in candies, cake mixes, margarine and some soft drinks
  • Foods that contain salicylates, or aspirin, including apples, cherries, cucumbers, pickles, grapes, raisins, oranges, peaches, plums, prunes, strawberries, tomatoes, etc.
  • Sleep Can Help You Lose Weight

    In his recent book, The Jerusalem Diet (WaterBrook), pastor Ted Haggard cites a CBS News report on the link between obesity and sleep deprivation. The report was based on an article in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism and explained that sleep affects the body's production of hormones, including leptin, which helps control appetite.

    Leptin levels rise when we sleep, telling the brain that the body has stored up enough food. "If you deprive your body of sleep," Haggard warns, "you may develop a shortage of this hormone. And...your body may start asking for food it doesn't really need."

    Natural Menopause Management

    According to Janet Macarro, Ph.D., CNC, in her book Midlife Meltdown (Siloam), it's time to start "rethinking midlife hormonal health."

    She encourages the use of the following natural supplements * to alleviate some of the symptoms brought on by menopause:

    Black cohosh capsules

    80-160 mg per day
    Anxiety, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginaldryness, depression, heart palpitations, headaches, sleeplessness

    Low Bone Density Linked to Heart Disease

    On his Web site, Dr. Reginald B. Cherry cites a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology claiming an increase in the risk of heart disease for women with low bone density. Cherry says, "This study suggest that women who take steps early in life to keep their bones strong, or boost their bone density once weakness appears, may not only prevent osteoporosis but may prevent heart disease as well."

    The Truth about Bird Flu

    Much has been reported about the potential for illness and death as the result of bird flu. But is it a true threat or just another case of the media capitalizing on our fears?

    Leslie Ann Dauphin, Ph.D., a microbiologist at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and recent author of The Germ Handbook (Siloam), has researched the avian influenza virus that causes bird flu. Dauphin told SpiritLed Woman the virus does not usually infect people.

    Dauphin says: "Although rare, the viruses…may be transmitted to humans via direct contact with infected birds or surfaces that infected birds have been in contact with...[or] through an intermediate host, such as a pig."

    Eating Disorders Linked to Abuse

    Although we have known for some time that the underlying issue for eating disorders is a need for control, research now links this need for control to unresolved pain from significantly hurtful experiences in a person's life. According to Dr. Gregory Jantz in his book Hope, Help and Healing for Eating Disorders (Shaw Books, 2002), "Studies have indicated that 80 percent or more of people with eating disorders have been victims of some sort of abuse--whether verbal, emotional, physical or sexual. By controlling what you eat, you are really trying to control that terrible pain."

    Walk for Your Life

    You've probably heard people tell you that walking is good for your health because it increases muscle and bone strength, improves circulation and the overall condition of your heart, and lowers cholesterol. But did you know it can even reduce your risk for certain cancers?

    Are You Prepared for Flu Season?

    With flu season (November to March) quickly approaching, it is important to remember some of the natural ways to boost your immune system. According to Dr. Reginald Cherry, taking herbs such as echinacea will not only help your body fight off viral infections, they can also lessen symptoms, and can even protect you from coming down with the flu in the first place. He says many people take echinacea daily during flu season as a preventative measure.

    The Early Detection Edge

    Though some cancers have no effective method for facilitating early detection, there are ways to screen for breast cancer with the goal of diagnosing the disease at an early, treatable stage. In 2003, the American Cancer Society issued the following guidelines for the early detection of breast cancer:

  • Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health.
  • A clinical breast exam should be part of a periodic health exam, about every three years for a woman in her 20s and 30s, and every year for women 40 and older.
  • Women should examine their own breasts to become familiar with how their breasts normally feel. Any changes should be promptly reported to their health-care providers. Don't procrastinate.
  • Women who have a strong family history, a genetic tendency, or have already had breast cancer should talk with their doctors about the benefits and limitations of starting mammography screening earlier, of having more frequent clinical exams, or of having additional screening tests such as a breast ultrasound or MRI.

    While the search for a cure continues, these screening guidelines have proven to be useful for increasing the likelihood of detecting breast cancer at an early stage, thereby facilitating a good response to treatment. But their benefit depends on adherence.

    Far too many Holy Spirit-led women are failing to take advantage of these simple and effective screening methods. Don't let fear, myths and old wives tales prevent you from getting a breast exam and mammogram. Become proactive in preserving your health so that you might experience the blessing of a long and healthy life.

  • Approaching the Change

    Janet Maccaro, Ph.D., CNC, recommends the following steps for coping with symptoms of peri-menopause or menopause:

    1. Manage your stress. Forgive past hurts and apologize to those you may have wronged in the past. Make sure to get enough sleep. Exercise daily. Eliminate sugar as much as possible. Fellowship daily.

    Get Up and Go!

    In her book Finally FIT!, Lorraine Bossé-Smith points out the benefits of keeping active. Exercise, she writes, will reduce stress, improve the quality of your sleep, give you more energy, maintain healthier muscles and joints, increase bone density, decrease blood pressure, reduce your chances of becoming depressed and make you feel better about yourself. So what are you waiting for? Get up and get going!

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