Four tips for unwinding over winter break

The holidays are often a time of celebration, family and fun, but they also can be a period of extreme stress for you and your youngsters. Getting your kids to relax a bit and unwind during their holiday break after school finals, sports tournaments and winter concerts may seem a bit daunting.

If you're looking to help your kids take advantage of their winter break, Dr. Mitch Glaser, psychiatrist with Amita Health Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center Chicago, has four easy tips to make this a time of health and healing.

• Let the sunshine in

Over the winter solstice, the days are at their shortest, so your children's bodies may be craving some sun-fueled vitamin D. Make sure they're making the most of the sunlit hours they can, stepping away from video games, phones and other distractions. Getting in a daily vitamin D supplement during the winter months also can help.

• Embrace your staycation

With the pandemic continuing, we're all making the most of our staycations. Kids, especially, will benefit from getting away from their routine responsibilities. Whatever you decide to do - enjoying some outdoor time, playing a family board game or doing some holiday baking - stay engaged and active.

• Get social

Kids may get the winter blues and want to hibernate, but that can make them feel isolated and alone. So be sure to do something stimulating together. Try safely gathering with friends and family, keeping the conversation flowing to stay connected.

• Keep it active

Most kids tend to be less physically active in the winter, while also eating more refined carbohydrates, like sugary snacks and white breads. Over the break, find ways to incorporate exercise, such as outdoor activities, weather and snow permitting. This will release endorphins, curb weight gain and keep your whole family smiling. Focusing on getting out and exercising as a family with fun activities locally.

If the winter break doesn't recharge your kids' batteries and break any possible winter blues, you may consider speaking with their health care provider. Conditions like seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can be effectively treated at all ages.

• Children's health is a continuing series. This week's article is courtesy of Amita Health.

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