For Immediate Release
Friday, Dec. 20, 2019
Contact: Jordan Mayblum
Email: [email protected]
Gloucester Health Department Offers Tips for Healthy, Safe Holidays
GLOUCESTER — Public Health Director Karin Carroll and the Gloucester Health Department are offering residents stress management and toy safety tips this holiday season.
“The holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate with friends and family, and often bring about a lot of joy, laughter and positivity,” Carroll said. “This time of year also becomes very busy for a lot of people, however, and it is important that everyone takes time to rest, rejuvenate and manage any lingering stress through healthy habits.”
Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken added, “The mental well-being of my constituents is really important to me all year long but especially during the holidays. The added seasonal stress can be difficult and overwhelming at times. We offer these helpful tips for you to help manage stress. Everyone should engage in self-care, set boundaries, and pace themselves this holiday season.”
Stress Management Tips
The Gloucester Health Department would like to share the following stress management tips from the Mayo Clinic:
- Overindulgence can exaggerate stress, and it is important to maintain a healthy diet. Eating a healthy snack before a holiday party can help prevent overeating.
- Take care to get enough sleep.
- Exercise regularly.
- If feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a moment to relax alone. Even 15 minutes of a relaxing activity, like taking a walk, listening to soothing music or getting a massage, can help.
- The holidays can be a very busy time of year for some, and if you feel overwhelmed, don’t feel obligated to attend every event and gathering.
- Prepare and plan to reduce stress during the holidays. Schedule time to shop, bake, visit family and friends, and so on. Plan menus before shopping and recruit cleanup help from family or friends attending a gathering you are hosting.
- Plan and purchase food and gifts within a budget. Donating to a charity in someone’s name, giving homemade gifts and starting a family gift exchange are all positive gift alternatives.
- Work to accept ideological differences between yourself and family and friends, and/or discuss any concerns or challenging topics at a different time. Work to be understanding if family and friends seem to be struggling with stress.
- Make sure your expectations are realistic. Everything does not have to be perfect, and traditions and rituals can change as families evolve. Continue traditions that mean the most to your family, and stay open to new ones.
- Reach out if you feel lonely or isolated. Attending community, religious or other social events is a great way to connect with others, and volunteering is also a way to spread positivity and meet new people.
- Acknowledge feelings of stress, anxiety, sadness and/or grief. Those mourning a loved one may feel sadness and grief, and it is okay to experience those feelings, even during the holidays.
- Seek professional help if you find yourself struggling with persistent sadness or anxiety, physical issues, sleeping problems and so on.
Toy Safety Tips
As people shop for holiday gifts for children, it is important to keep in mind the importance of choosing a gift that is safe and age appropriate.
“Holiday shopping and gift giving is incredibly rewarding and fun, and seeing children’s faces light up from a gift is a truly wonderful moment for every parent, grandparent, guardian, aunt, uncle, and so on,” Carroll said. “However, it’s also incredibly important that we consider any hazards a toy might pose, especially to small children.”
The Gloucester Health Department offers the following tips from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health:
- Do not gift toys with small parts to children under age 3. This includes any piece that could fit inside a toilet-tube roll.
- Avoid purchasing stuffed toys with ‘eyes’ that can be pulled off for young children, as these pose a choking hazard.
- Examine and heed the age warnings and recommendations printed on toy boxes and packaging. If you purchase an age-appropriate toy for a child with a younger sibling, ensure the younger child will not be able to access the toy.
- Avoid purchasing high-powered magnet sets for children under age 14.
- Be sure to purchase helmets and safety gear that is the correct size for children who will be using bicycles, scooters, skateboards and skates.
- Immediately throw away broken balloons and keep deflated balloons away from children younger than age 8.
- To avoid tripping and falling over toys, store them on a shelf or bin.
- Frequently check your child’s toys for tears and damage, and discard broken toys, which can have sharp edges.
For additional guidance and toy safety tips, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website by clicking here.
Residents with questions or concerns are also encouraged to call the Gloucester Health Department at 978-325-5260.