holiday stress

Lost and Found: What’s In Your Wallet

December 29, 2011 at 3:41 pm , by

Phone, wallet, keys. That’s my checklist every time I leave a place, and I usually check more than once. So why didn’t I check and double-check when I got out of the cab in front of my apartment yesterday? Well, I had just spent a week in Florida and was still coming down from the holiday high. I was dizzy from the bumpy three-hour flight and equally nauseating cab ride from LaGuardia Airport to my apartment in Brooklyn. Plus, I was simultaneously texting my roommate, paying for the taxi and trying to figure out how to get my luggage and my body out of the car before people started honking.

It wasn’t until hours later that I realized my wallet was gone. Just when I thought I had escaped the holiday travel frenzy without a scratch, I’d lost all access to my money, plus my ID and a bunch of other important things, like my health insurance card and subway pass. And I’d managed to do this between paying for the cab and walking into my building. Was it outside on the sidewalk? No. Was it still in the cab? Maybe. There is one way to describe this feeling, and it is a borrowed expression from my Facebook status: Uggghhhh.

But there is a nice ending. After I canceled my credit cards, I decided I should probably file a police report in case someone was planning on stealing my identity. But just as I dialed out, I got a beep from a number I didn’t recognize and decided to answer. It was an officer from the police station near me. Someone had found my wallet on the sidewalk and turned it in. (Below: some of the things I would have lost if not for that anonymous good Samaritan.)

Talk about sweet relief! I marched over there immediately and was delighted to find all of my stuff intact—even my lone $10 bill was still nestled safely inside. Isn’t it nice when people do the right thing? Unfortunately, that isn’t usually the case, so I had already deemed my wallet long gone. This time I just got lucky—or was it a little holiday miracle?

If you’re finding your way home after the holidays, here’s your friendly reminder: Stay calm, check twice to be sure you have everything—and keep your purse zipped in crowded places. Safe travels!

Depression and Holiday Stress: Are You Overwhelmed?

November 30, 2011 at 2:56 pm , by

Got the blues? You’re not the only one. Every month our friends at Yahoo! send us a snapshot of the top-spiking health searches, and this month the term “antidepressants” came in at number three (behind the more surprising “listeria” and “ear-wax removal”—go figure). In fact, in the past few months depression-related terms have been consistently at the top.

Then there’s this: a new report from Medco Health Solutions, Inc. found that 21 percent of American women took antidepressants in 2010, a 29 percent increase from 2001. When you look at drugs for mental health conditions on the whole, including anti-anxiety, antipsychotics and ADHD meds, roughly a quarter of adult women are taking them, compared with 15 percent of men.

We’re not surprised that depression is on women’s minds these days, considering the state of the world. Plus, the holiday season always adds stress along with the joys. Are you feeling more like Charlie Brown’s sad little tree this year? We asked Jennifer Yashari, M.D., a psychiatrist in Los Angeles and a member of the LHJ Medical Advisory Board, to shed some light on why depression seems to affect women more than men, and how to know if you need help.

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Cheat Sheet: What NOT to Get Everyone On Your List

December 17, 2010 at 3:13 pm , by

Sometimes things get a little too stressful this time of year. In the rush of going to parties, hosting parties, baking cookies, and all that wrapping, things that would be laughable at any other time all of a sudden become a good idea. It’s the only reason I can come up with for owning a Big Mouth Billy Bass. That’s why for this week’s Cheat Sheet, I’m pointing out gifts you should absolutely keep out of your shopping cart — no matter how great it seems at the time.

1. The TV Hat
The TV Hat is a baseball cap with a bigger bill that provides blinders so you can watch videos on your smartphone or Mp3 player. The ad says you can use it while camping, at the beach, on your lunch hour or even in bed, but I have a hard time imagining anyone ever would.

2. Smoking Mittens
Yes, it’s always nice to think of ways to keep someone warm, but don’t encourage this awful, dangerous habit as well.

3. The Pet Petter
Pets are wonderful. And filthy. But that doesn’t mean any pet owner would want to delegate the task of petting to a machine.

4. The Head Halter
The head halter is designed to improve posture and alleviate back pain, but it also sends the message that you might be thinking of torturing whomever you decided to gift this to.

5. Hook, Line & Stinker
I’m pretty sure the picture of this game is worth far more than 1,000 words. No one wants to be that guy. That’s all.