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December 4, 2018


December is here, and with it comes the hustle and bustle of the season; the holiday parties, plays, concerts (see below for our own Winter Concert Schedule) and festive family gatherings that can leave us exhilarated, uplifted and often, exhausted! Whether you are staying home this year or traveling over the river and through the woods, take time to remember the little things - the important things - and take a deep breath before you wrap that first gift or hang your first light.

Galloway Schools’ Winter Concerts

  • Arthur Rann Elementary - December 6, 2018 - 7:00pm
  • GTMS - December 12, 2018 - 7:00pm
  • Reeds Road Elementary - December 13, 2018 - 6:30pm
  • Roland Rogers Elementary - December 17, 2018 - 6:30pm
  • Smithville Elementary - December 18, 2018 - 7:00pm

Ten Steps to a Less Stressful Holiday
Instead of stressing, follow these tips to lighten the load this season. If mom and dad are happy, the entire family can follow suit. Read the entire article here.

  1. Ask for your family's input.
  2. Spend the holidays at home this year.
  3. Limit the optional events.
  4. Resist the urge to be Martha Stewart.
  5. Get choosy about Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa cards
  6. Stress the spiritual.
  7. Winnow the wish list.
  8. Don't shop 'til you drop!
  9. Hire some of Santa's helpers.
  10. Give yourself a time out.

If you're still feeling stressed, remember these tips from the American Psychological Association:

Take time for yourself - You may feel pressured to be everything to everyone. But remember that you're only one person and can only accomplish certain things. Sometimes self-care is the best thing you can do - others will benefit when you're feeling less stressed. Reflect on aspects of your life that give you joy; go for a long walk; get a massage; or take time to listen to your favorite music or read a new book. All of us need some time to recharge our batteries. Be mindful and focus on the present rather than dwell on the past or worry about the future.

Volunteer - Find a local charity, such as a soup kitchen or a shelter that needs volunteers and offer to help. Alternatively, participate in a community giving tree program or an adopt-a-family program. Helping others may lift your mood and help you put your own struggles in perspective.

Have realistic expectations - No Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or other holiday celebration is perfect. View inevitable missteps as opportunities to exercise your flexibility and resilience. A lopsided tree or a burned brisket won't ruin your holiday - it will create a family memory. If your children's wish list is outside your budget, talk to them about realistic expectations and remind them that the holidays aren't about expensive gifts.

Remember what's important - The barrage of holiday advertising can make you forget what the holiday season is really about. If your holiday expense list is running longer than your monthly budget, scale back and remind yourself that what matters most is loved ones, not store-bought presents, elaborate decorations or gourmet food.

Healthy conversations - Let your family know that holidays are times to express gratitude, appreciation and give thanks for what you all have, including each other. If there is worry about heated disagreements or negative conversations, focus on what you and your family have in common. Families might even plan activities they can do together that foster good fun and laughter, like playing a family game or looking through old photo albums.

Seek support - Talk about your worries and concerns with close friends and family. Getting things out in the open can help you navigate your feelings and work toward a solution.

If your holiday plans take you outside, follow these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to avoid exposure accidents and other hazards (read the full article here).

Know the Signs of Hypothermia
According to the National Institute of Health, anyone who spends extended periods outside in cold winter temperatures is at risk for hypothermia. Hypothermia can happen when your body temperature drops from its usual 98.6 degrees. It is a medical emergency if a person's temperature is 95 degrees or less.

In addition to the lowered temperature, someone experiencing hypothermia may have the following symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Clumsiness and stumbling
  • Dizziness and drowsiness
  • Apathetic mental state
  • Shivering
  • Slurred speech
  • Weak pulse and slow breathing

Dress Appropriately
When heading outdoors to participate in wintertime activities, whether you'll be hiking, skiing, shoveling snow from your driveway, or any other outdoor activity, make sure that you dress warmly. It's wise to dress in layers when you'll be exerting yourself in frigid temperatures so that you can start out properly insulated and then shed layers as your body temperature starts to rise as a result of your level of activity.

Use Caution on Frozen Lakes and Rivers
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, it can be very difficult to tell whether ice is solid just from looking at it. The color or thickness of the ice will not necessarily tell you how much weight it can support. In general, new ice, which has formed in the last couple of weeks, is stronger than ice that has been there for months. Ice on moving water, such as rivers, is generally weaker than ice on lakes. Always consult your local DNR about ice safety before heading out on the lake for ice fishing, ice skating, or other sports.

Use Proper Equipment
Skiing and snowboarding can be enjoyable winter pastimes, but you still need to keep personal safety in mind when you venture out onto the slopes. Wearing a helmet will help to prevent head injuries. If you don't own the right equipment, rent it from the ski resort.

Many winter sports require specific equipment. Make sure that your equipment is in good condition and properly maintained. It's also important to make sure that sized items, such as snow ski boots and ice skates, are properly fitted. Because children grow so rapidly, there's a good chance they'll need a larger size each season.

Take Regular Breaks
Taking breaks at regular intervals is a good idea when you are enjoying the great outdoors in the winter. Go inside to warm up and get a snack and something to drink. While it may tempting to go on one more run as the day winds down, a safer choice may be not to push yourself if you are already tired.

Tell Someone About Your Plans
Before you head out in the snow, tell someone where you are going and what time you will be coming back. That way, if you are overdue, someone can alert authorities to start searching for you. It's also important to stay on well-marked trails. Take a trail map with you and keep track of where you are while snowmobiling or skiing.

May your holidays be merry and bright! Enjoy Winter Break from December 24 - January 1 (remember there's an early dismissal day on Friday, December 21) and we'll see you back on Wednesday, January 2, 2019!

Annette C. Giaquinto, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Meeting the Standard of Excellence
609.748.1250, ext.

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