Workshop helps adults de-stress during holidays |

Workshop helps adults de-stress during holidays

Summit Daily/Brad OdekirkThree accidents occured along Highway 9 between Farmer's Korner and Breckenridge late Friday afternoon after two inches of snow fell and caused slick road conditions.

SUMMIT COUNTY – Ah, the holidays: logjam traffic, full parking lots, long lift lines, kids out of school, in-laws in town, gifts to buy, kids tugging at shirts begging for more gifts, days at work that never seem to end … Joy to the world!It’s no secret the holidays bring plenty of stress, despite being billed as “the most wonderful time of the year.” Katherine Starnes, manager at Peak-A-Boo Toys in Breckenridge, sees a little bit of that, you could say. A lot of shoppers are excited, especially in a toy store, but just as many are frazzled. Starnes said the stress can rub off on employees, too.

“We’re such a busy store, with such a high volume and so many people coming through,” said Starnes, who also manages a family in addition to the store. “But we have a great group of people here who are really good at blowing it off. We’re treated well, and we know it’s just part of working in a toy store.”For those that don’t find it so easy to “blow it off,” Summit County Advocates for Victims of Assault is sponsoring a free stress-reduction workshop.The seminar, to be held from 2-4 p.m., on Saturday at the Summit County Community and Senior Center, will help worry-warts and the worn-down identify their own stressors and come up with strategies for alleviating those thorns-in-the-side.”For some it’s overindulging – spending, eating or drinking,” said Sarah Vaine, an Advocates counselor. “Some people have painful memories, maybe it’s the anniversary of a loss. Sometimes they’re thrust together with relatives they don’t do well with, or their expectations are too much and no holiday can ever live up to it.”

Vaine, who worked in counseling and therapy before joining the nonprofit Advocates, said it’s well known that the winter holidays are accompanied by increased agitation that often leads to problems. Law enforcement, social workers, marriage counselors – all of them see the impacts.”In the last week, we’ve had calls from couples getting in fights for all sorts of reasons,” Vaine said. “Families not getting along, there’s all this pressure to provide for kids. Money is a huge concern. There’s a lot of anxiety and depression, and that can lead to people self-medicating with alcohol or drugs, and that leads to more problems.”Vaine said the workshop will help people find ways to alleviate holiday stress, or at least to plan ahead for it and maybe reduce it. Sometimes people find relief by infusing the holidays with meaning – spiritual or otherwise – or learning some new coping skills.

Those already pulling out their hair might find an excuse not to attend – “What do I do with the kids?” or “I’m already too busy.” The Advocates thought of that, too. A separate room for the kids is planned, with storytelling, ornament-making, snacks and other activities. And parents can take advantage of a massage therapist on hand, as well as door prizes and gifts.And, Vaine stressed, it’s free. She said the nonprofit decided to offer the seminar at the request of a community member, and an anonymous Advocates supporter offered to fund the event. Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or at

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