Holiday stress and techniques to reduce it

This look at a children’s health or safety issue comes from Dayton Children’s Hospital. Email:

The holidays may be bright and sparkly, but often hidden underneath the glitter and gold are stress, anxiety and depression.

The long list of to-do’s gets longer. With so many parties, relatives and meals during the holiday season, stress levels grow higher than your chimney. There are many signs that stress is taking its toll on you and your children including:

• Anxiety

• Changes in sleep pattern

• Headaches

• High blood pressure

• Weight gain or loss

• Upset stomach.

Dayton Children’s offers a few tips to relieve the stress. With the stress reduced, there will be more joy and good cheer to spread around the holiday season. Try some of these techniques:

Be realistic. Take a look at everything on your family's plate this holiday season and choose the events or items that bring your family the most joy. You may have to say no to some gatherings to keep your family and yourself happy. Don't feel bad.

Ask for help. Remember, there are always people around willing to help. Friends and family may not know you are struggling if you don't tell them. Reach out to them or other organizations in the community for assistance if you need it.

Involve your kids. Have your child help you wrap presents or prepare the holiday ham. They'll love knowing they are being helpful, and it's great family time.

Volunteer. Sometimes kids forget how lucky they are to have all that they do. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or spend a day in a food bank. Kids can learn a lot by giving to others.

Look at things in a new light. Is the burned ham or broken toy really going to ruin the holidays? Create a learning experience from it. Teach your child that sometimes things don't go as planned, but that it does not mean all is lost.

Sweat it out. When stress and anxiety have you in their grasp, walk it out. Take a break from all the hustle and bustle and relax with the family playing a game of touch football or going on a family stroll. Find an ice rink and race your kids around the rink. Exercising is a natural mood booster and will leave you and your children feeling refreshed and ready to tackle all the work of the holidays.

Remember, when the holidays get you or your kids down, get up and use some of these tips to add cheer to your holidays and enjoy the family, friends and relationships around you. This time of year isn’t about worrying; it’s about laughter, love and life.

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