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updated: 12/19/2012 6:44 PM

Health dept. offers tips on making holidays happier

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David Hass

DUPAGE COUNTY--Ready or not, the holidays are here and the DuPage County Health Department has suggestions for reducing stress that could lead to unhealthy behaviors.

Here are some coping strategies from the Health Department to make the holidays happier.

Helping Adults Cope

• Reserve a short time every day to be alone and focus on stillness and quiet.

• Be sure to sleep. Keeping your body healthy and rested can help keep your mind (and relationships) healthy.

• Take a few minutes to write down your main priorities for the season (don't forget to add things like laughing with the family). Place your short list where everyone can see it. When stress builds, the list can help you decide the amount of energy and attention something deserves.

Helping Children Cope

• Take care of yourself so you can take care of your child.

• Spend time with your children. Five to 10 uninterrupted, positive minutes with each child per day can build the self-esteem and security that a child needs and help avoid bad, attention-seeking behavior.

• Listen to your children. When children act out, they are usually trying to communicate something, like needing attention, feeling anxious or a lack of coping skills.

For more information on the DuPage County Health Department, follow us on Twitter @DuPageHD or become a fan on Facebook.