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Dr. Jeffrey Staab, a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist, said this is a very stressful time for families. Here are some way families can cope:
- Stay Connected and Disconnected: Keep up with healthy support systems (The 3 Fs — FAITH, FAMILY, FRIENDS/NEIGHBORS – stay together while staying apart). At the same time, set limits on social media and the news – pick just a few favorites (your most helpful, reliable sources of information).
- Maintain Healthy Habits: Keep a fairly regular schedule for sleep and wake times and meals, be physical (with reason), and care for yourself.
- Keep Your Thinking in Check: When feeling stressed, ask HOW? (not WHY?) How is this affecting me? How has this changed me? Pick answers that you can control and take action (e.g., I’m staying up late searching news sites. This violates No. 1 and No. 2 and is fully within your power to fix.)
- Mind Your Manners: Intolerance, impatience, and frustration aggravate stress in a vicious cycle. Instead, be patient. Be kind. Be helpful. Do a simple kindness for someone else. (It’s hard to feel stressed when offering a gesture of kindness).