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Not Feeling Jolly? No Problem . . .

Tips on how to reduce all that holiday stress

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 25, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- The holiday season may be delightful, but it can also be frightfully stressful.

One way to reduce holiday stress is to set realistic expectations in terms of time and money, says information from Purdue University.

When you start to feel stressed, don't just try to push on. Stop and assess what you're doing and why you're doing it. Ask what's most important to yourself and your family, and don't let the holiday be defined by television, imagination or childhood memories.

You can create your own traditions and choose activities and celebrations that reflect your own values.

Be flexible when plans you've made don't turn out because of the unexpected, such as a child getting sick or the stove not working properly. You can turn that kind of stressful situation into a positive family experience by working together to deal with it.

Beware of committing to too many social events that disrupt your family's routine and create stress. Try to minimize time spent away from your children.

Parents can also help children cope with holiday stress by slowing down and reconnecting with their children. Parents can find ways for children to help prepare for holiday celebrations or by inviting children to think of special gifts for other people.

Let children help with holiday cooking and encourage them to make handmade cards, drawings or simple crafts.

More information

The American Psychological Association has more about dealing with holiday stress.

SOURCE: Purdue University, news release, December 2002
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