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New Orleans, LA - July 21 2005 - Does it feel like you're running a mad dash to meet the holiday deadline· Do the days seem shorter than ever? Does everybody want your attention? Do you feel like you're not making any headway on your list? Do you wake up in the middle of the night thinking about things you should be doing?

If you answered, Yes!·to any of those questions, you're experiencing holiday stress. It's not surprising that with family and professional responsibilities, limited time and money, and TV-fueled expectations, adults may look forward to the holidays with dread rather than excitement.

Whichever holidays you celebrate, you can put more enjoyment into the season and reduce your holiday-induced stress by trying some of these suggestions:

- Put the emphasis on giving rather than getting. Work together as a family on a charitable activity such as adopting a needy family, serving meals, or collecting toys for children whose parents can't? go out and buy them.

- Ask for help. You don't have to do everything yourself. If your children set the table or decorate the tree, it might not look exactly the way you want it to, but you?l be helping them build confidence and trust in their own creativity.

- Create a holiday budget so you don't end up paying holiday bills all the way into the middle of next year. Include gifts, food, travel and other holiday expenses on your budget. Ask family members to cooperate by limiting their spending.

- If you have a new baby, don't plan to travel out of town. Have the relatives come to you ·but don't feel you have to do all the entertaining!

- If you have older children, recruit them to help you stuff, stamp and address holiday card envelopes. You might even get one of your computer-savvy children to put your holiday mailing list on the computer, where it can be easily updated and used for printing labels.

- Turn some of your stressful tasks, shopping, gift wrapping, visiting infirm relatives or friends, and cooking, for example, into enjoyable shared family activities.

- Take a day off from the holiday season. Set aside a day (or two) for yourself. Mark it in your calendar and don? do anything related to the holidays. Sleep late, go to a movie, get a massage, or take your spouse out on a date.

- Turn off your cell phone. It may seem like the world's biggest convenience, but being accessible 24 hours a day is stressful! Take a breather for a few hours.

- Make decisions as a family. Decide together what's important and how the responsibilities can be shared along with the pleasures.

The holiday season is intensely emotional. Along with shorter, darker days, personal losses can make us feel sad or lonely and contribute to holiday stress. By sharing our time, feelings, and responsibilities with those we love and reflecting on the meaning of the season, we can minimize that stress and experience the holidays as truly joyous.

Rebecca O'Meara (
Rebecca O'Meara Communications LLC
1517 Fern Street
New Orleans, LA 70118
Phone : 504-861-2188

Marlene M. Coleman, MD, is the author of Safe and Sound - Healthy Travel With Children. Dr. Coleman is a Board Certified Pediatrician with an emphasis on adolescent medicine and a subspecialty in travel medicine. Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Southern California Medical school and an attending physician at the California Institute of Technology, helping keep students healthy as they study, lecture and travel all over the world. Dr. Coleman lectures on healthy travel with children. MEDIA CONTACT: Rebecca O'Meara (504) 861-2188,


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