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LORI IVEY COLUMN: Families coping with stress, anxiety

By Lori Ivey

Many of us are fearful and uncertain about our new normal due to Covid-19.

It’s ok to feel more stressed, that’s a natural response to what’s going on around us. Stress is different for each of us and we respond differently. Isolation alone can create stress.

There are many things that we can do as adults to help cope with stress such as eating healthy, exercising, sleeping, having healthy relationships, getting mental health support and practicing mindfulness or meditation.

Lori Ivey

Simply being mindful about breathing can help you cope with anxiety – take a deep breath in through your nose and slowly release through your mouth. This is a typical exercise in yoga which is an activity known to help you both physically and mentally.

Taking care of you is a top priority so you can take care of others.

Adults can help teenagers and younger children deal with stress and anxiety.

Keeping a routine with your kids is important. You might have a routine for weekdays and one for weekends. Make sure physical activity is a part of their routine. Much like their school day, releasing energy through physical activity is a must.

If you’re on social media, there are lots of great ideas for fun, educational activities for kids. Visit our Extension’s Facebook page North Carolina Cooperative Extension – Stanly County for fun farm facts or Stanly County 4-H Live weekdays at 2 p.m. for “Got Science” activities to do at home.

Many of us are at home and are sharing meals together unlike we did in our busy, hurried schedule. Try a new recipe. Extension’s http://www.medinsteadofmeds.com is a great resource for healthy recipes. Apple Celery Slaw is one of my favorites.

What might have been a dinner table conversation such as “How was your day at school?” has changed.

Ideas for dinner conversations might include:

  • What’s the best thing about being a kid?;
  • What’s your lucky number?;
  • Today I’m most thankful for;
  • What do you enjoy about your brother/sister?;
  • What’s your favorite movie and why?; and
  • If you owned a racehorse in the Kentucky Derby, what would you name it?

Changing times allow us to make changes in our daily lives. Being at home allows us to spend quality time that is hard to find in today’s busy society. Take advantage of the time at home with family.

Maybe you play a new game, work to put a puzzle together or take an online dance class.

Remember, there is no one way to deal with stress and anxiety. Do what works for you and your family.

For additional information, visit https://fcs.ces.ncsu.edu/2020/03/covid-10-resources-for-parents/ or contact N.C. Cooperative Extension, Stanly County Center at 704-
983-3987.

Although we are working remotely due to Covid-19, we continue to check voicemails and emails throughout the day.

Lori Ivey is the executive director of the Stanly County center of the N.C. Cooperative Extension.