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Valley doctor provides tips to avoid a ‘Blue Christmas’ amid pandemic

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PHOENIX – With fewer people expected to gather amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a Valley doctor has some tips to avoid having a “Blue Christmas” this year.

Dr. Donese Worden, a naturopathic doctor with the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association, recommended focusing on what you can do instead of what you can’t as one way to help bring joy to your holiday season.

“We forget to focus on the things we can do,” Worden  said. “We might not be able to travel, we might not be able to have a big family gathering but what can we do?”

Worden explained research shows changes in the brain when someone is stuck on negative thoughts, which can result in increased feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression.

Aside from focusing on the cans this season and expressing gratitude, she also recommended being conscious of what you eat to avoid emotional eating.

“People start eating things that really don’t make the brain work well, so stress is going to be worse,” Worden said.

To naturally boost serotonin, the hormone that stabilizes mood and feelings of well-being, Worden said to eat foods like turkey, seafood, nuts and seeds. Additionally, people should try to get outside and exercise.

Another way to stay upbeat this season is to find new ways to stay connected.

“Keep the old traditions even if you have to zoom the traditions together or create new ones that kind of fit in this new world that we’re living in,” Worden said.

She said something as simple as virtually co-watching television with family or friends can help brighten your mood.

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