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  • March 2010
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If you've ever suffered from a depression, you don't want to go there again. Even if you haven't but you're dealing with precursors to depression — stress and fatigue — then you want to find ways to beat back the "black dogs" (as Winston Churchill called his depressive episodes) before they attack. Excerpted from Healthy Together: A Couple's Guide to Midlife Wellness by Canadian Living section editor Christine Langlois (McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2000). TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF

If you don't get enough sleep, eat erratically and exercise by tapping on a keyboard, you're setting yourself up for a fall. Although it's not proven that fatigue, for example, causes depression, common sense tells you that enough sleep, the right food fuel and activity will help you stay on an even keel.

We all know people who cut into their sleep, skip meals and don't exercise so that they can accomplish everything on their list, usually a list of others' needs and wants. Their lists are long because they have partners who don't help enough, kids who live for their ballet and hockey and soccer, bosses who don't understand their other obligations and parents who need their attention. I've written sympathetically about the difficulties of balancing it all for years. But as I've come back to this issue over and over in the course of writing this book, my sympathy is waning. How much help can one be living in a black funk or, perhaps worse, suffering from a heart condition? Don't get me wrong. If together you're dealing with an illness, deep financial trouble or some other life crisis, you deserve sympathy and support for the load you're carrying. But if you're two people in a stable relationship without the wolves at the door, you need to rethink priorities to look after yourselves, too. And that's as much our responsibility as all the other responsibilities we're so willing to take on. End of sermon.

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