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SURVEY REVEALS TOP SOURCES OF HOLIDAY STRESS FOR DETROIT RESIDENTS: EXPENSES, TIME, SHOPPING AND FAMILY OBLIGATIONS

 DETROIT, Dec. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- This holiday season, Detroit residents are stressed out about big bills, no time, long shopping lists and family obligations. These are the findings revealed in a new survey commissioned by Ameritech.
 What's the leading source of stress for Detroit residents this holiday season? In a word, expenses. Nearly three out of four Detroit residents cited holiday bills as a major source of stress. Second on the list of holiday stressors is lack of time to get everything done (69 percent), followed by finishing holiday shopping (62 percent). Almost 50 percent of Detroit residents cited meeting family obligations and 46 percent identified fear of weight gain as holiday stressors. So how can Detroit residents reduce the stress of the season and calm their jittery nerves? Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. and author of "Dare To Connect," advises harried Detroit residents to switch their emphasis from things and tasks to people.
 "We all have preconceived notions of what the holidays should be, but we need to remember that what's really important about this time of year is connecting with the people we care about -- and those with whom we've lost touch," Jeffers says. "That means spending time with them -- by phone or in person -- to let them know we're thinking of them. And, it means simplifying holiday tasks to free up that time."
 GIVE A GIFT YOU CAN'T BUY
 Jeffers, who analyzed the results of the Ameritech survey, advises Detroit residents who are worried about holiday expenses and long shopping lists to give a gift from the heart, instead of searching for an expensive gift.
 "Don't worry about spending a lot of time and money picking out the ultimate gift for everyone," Jeffers explains. "Give a gift of yourself over the next year. Spending time to connect with someone is also a gift to yourself because we all need other people in our lives to really be happy."
 For example, make a Greeting Call to an older relative who would love to hear the sound of your voice, Jeffers says. A "Greeting Call" is a phone call made over the holidays which builds on the tradition of extending holiday greetings with a card. Phone calls offer people a more personal way to express greetings or sentiments.
 She also recommends spending time with those close to you in a special way over the course of the year. For example, you could arrange to spend an afternoon together assembling a photo album, planting flowers or even helping to clean out a cluttered closet.
 "Staying connected with the people you care about is a good way to reduce the stress you're feeling during the holidays," Jeffers says.
 "Try talking through the sources of stress with family and friends who may be experiencing the same pressures."
 RECONNECTING WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
 Jeffers also suggests using the holidays as a time to think about the people with whom you've lost touch -- and reconnect. In fact, the Ameritech survey found that many Detroit residents have special people they'd like to reconnect with this holiday season. Thirty percent of Detroit residents said they would like to reconnect with an old school or work friend. Nearly 20 percent said they'd like to reconnect with a relative such as a brother, sister, parent or grandparent.
 "The holidays can bring sadness and stress when we've lost touch with people who are -- or used to be -- important to us," Jeffers said. "The holidays can also be a wonderful opportunity to heal old hurts. But don't wait for someone to contact you. Be the host in life, not the guest," she says.
 SIMPLIFY HOLIDAY TASKS
 Focusing on people this holiday season means spending less time worrying about the tasks associated with the holidays, Jeffers says.
 "Look for ways to simplify your holiday preparations," she advises. Jeffers offers these tips for organizing and simplifying your holiday "to do" list:
 -- If you won't have time to finish writing and sending out all
 your greeting cards, make a Greeting Call.
 -- Review your "to do" list and cross off three things that
 aren't really priorities.
 -- Instead of baking all your holiday meals and treats, make
 just a few and purchase the others. Or arrange a cookie or
 treat exchange with a neighbor or friend where each person
 makes a treat and swaps extras.
 -- Try shopping early or late in the day -- and with a list.
 Finally, Jeffers encourages Detroit residents to make time to remember the most important things in life during the holiday season.
 "Commit to making this the happiest holiday season in your life by connecting with all the important people in your life," she said.
 The Ameritech Greeting Call Survey was conducted by The Gallup Organization, Inc., and included interviews with approximately 500 adult men and women in the Detroit area. The survey results are representative of all adults in the Detroit area with a 95 percent level of confidence and a plus/minus 4 percent margin of error.
 Based in Chicago, Ameritech is a leading supplier of full-service communications and advanced information services, primarily to about 12 million customers in the Midwest. It also has operations in New Zealand, Poland and other international areas. Its 1992 revenues were $11.2 billion.
 -0- 12/13/93
 /CONTACT: Sara Snyder of Ameritech, 313-223-7287; or Megan McNichols or Susan Stoga of Hill and Knowlton, 312-565-1200/


CO: Ameritech ST: Michigan IN: SU:

SP -- NY021 -- 3017 12/13/93 08:49 EST
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Date:Dec 13, 1993
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