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My son eating an apple.

I am a Registered Dietitian and toddler mom. In the year my son was born, Weight Watchers rolled out an app called Kurbo by WW to help children ages 8 to 17 “build healthy habits for life”. The app allows users to track what they eat and how much they exercise – not by counting calories, but by using a “traffic-light system” to classify foods as healthy and unhealthy. For a fee, users can also work with a virtual health coach to set and evaluate progress toward health goals. 

Upon its release, Kurbo received overwhelming criticism and media attention from dietitians, pediatricians, therapists and other health professionals. While these experts agree that healthy eating is important, they recognize that both childhood obesity and eating disorders are serious concerns for adolescents. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, eating disorders are serious illnesses that have the second highest mortality rate of any mental health disorder, and they “are too often wrongly relegated to the sidelines as a minor consideration in the ‘obesity prevention’ conversation.” In a similar vein, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents and doctors to avoid discussing weight or prescribing weight loss to children and adolescents over concerns that it could lead to disordered eating habits. 

Parents and health professionals alike want to help young people establish healthy eating habits for life, which is the stated purpose of the Kurbo app. There is great concern, however, that using the approach of tracking food intake could lead to disordered eating, unhealthy relationships with food, low self-esteem and unhealthy body image among adolescents. A better approach for encouraging children to develop healthy eating habits and maintain healthy weight is to teach and model healthy eating without food shaming or guilt tripping. The New York Times offers a helpful guide that includes the following suggestions for parents and caregivers:

tuna

My son eating tuna noodle casserole

  • Model healthy habits
  • Involve children in food shopping and cooking
  • Initiative positive conversations about different eating patterns
  • Choose not to use food as a reward, bribe or punishment
  • Refrain from talking about weight or dieting
  • Allow less-than-healthy foods into your meal plan on occasion, without making a big deal about it
  • Respect food preferences and aversions
  • Encourage children to identify and respond to their body’s cues for hunger and fullness

Finally, be sure to voice concerns with a pediatrician or a dietitian if your child starts to obsess over food or weight at any given time. With these guidelines in mind, you’ll be doing your part to help the children in your life develop healthy eating habits.

Sources:

American Academy of Pediatrics (2016). How to prevent obesity without encouraging eating disorders. https://www.aappublications.org/news/2016/08/22/Obesity082216 

CDC (2020). Tips to Help Children Maintain a Healthy Weight. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/children/index.html

National Eating Disorders Association (2018). NEDA Statement on Kurbo by WW App. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/neda-statement-kurbo-ww-app

Sole-Smith, V. (2019). A New Weight Watchers App for Kids Raises Concerns. The New York Times. https://parenting.nytimes.com/childrens-health/weight-watchers-kids?te=1&nl=nyt-parenting&emc=edit_ptg_20190911?campaign_id=118&instance_id=12279&segment_id=16918&user_id=86dd6cac18c7ca41e6c8d433d5340d6c&regi_id=92717125

Sweeney, E. (2019). How to Teach Children About Healthy Eating, Without Food Shaming. The New York Times. https://parenting.nytimes.com/feeding/healthy-eating-habits?module=article-group&topic=Toddler&rank=3&position=7

Written by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County and Olivia Levine, Dietetic Intern, The Ohio State University

Reviewed by: Jami Dellifield, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Hardin County

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I bet you remember to charge your phone, tablet, computer, or even electric car — but when was the last time you recharged yourself? Recharging includes getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals and snacks, and taking a vacation or sick day when you need it. But it also includes finding time to do a hobby or something that relaxes you, which will reduce your stress and can provide a mental escape. When you do not take time to recharge, you are just like your phone, operating on low power. During COVID we may have had to stop doing some of our favorite stress relieving activities. I know I miss concerts, college football, and movies with my friends. If this is you, or if you have gotten so busy with work or family that you have forgotten to make and take time for yourself, you may have allowed the stress in your life to build. Hobbies provide physical and mental health benefits by giving us an alternative place to focus our time and mental energy, reinvigorating us. Other benefits from hobbies may include:camera, drink, book

  • A Sense of Accomplishment – You will gain satisfaction by completing a project like a quilt, a painting, a book, or a faster time on your jog or bike ride.
  • Build Your Creative Side – Especially for people who cannot be creative at work, having a creative hobby is great for your brain. Studies have found that employees who have creative hobbies are more satisfied with their jobs and are often more creative with work projects too.
  • Prevent Burnout and Provide Balance – A hobby may provide fun and something to look forward to after a hard day at work or a stressful time taking care of family members.
  • Improved Physical Health and Even Immunity– Studies show that when you engage in enjoyable free time activities you have lower blood pressure and a lower Body Mass Index (or BMI) even if the hobby isn’t necessarily active. Stress weakens the immune system and by recharging you can help keep yourself well.

Children benefit from hobbies too, by having a higher self-esteem, learning patience and social skills, and developing critical thinking skills and creativity. Remember that children who are involved in hobbies are not spending time on negative activities. Encourage younger children to try several activities as hobbies – something physical, something creative, and something mental (geocaching, crafting, music, cooking, or even magic). While some children may consider gaming to be a hobby, promote other hobbies that do not use a screen. Hobbies may be especially important to children who are missing social interaction and organized sports activities right now.

Hobbies provide both physical and mental health benefits to adults and children. In fact, companies report looking for employees who have hobbies. They feel these employees are more balanced, less stressed, and more creative. What hobby is your favorite? Respond with a comment. Personally, I’m a reader, reading is food for my soul. When I miss more than a day or two of reading I may actually tell my family “give me 30 minutes to read, I need it”.

While I wrap up, remember that part of recharging may be talking to someone. This could be a friend, family member, co-worker, counselor, or helpline. One example is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). This service is available to anyone who needs to talk; you don’t have to be thinking about suicide. Services may also be available from your employer, through your employee assistance program.man playing guitar

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Reviewers: Laura Stanton, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Warren County, stanton.60@osu.edu and Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

Sources:

Cornell Cooperative Extension, http://cceclinton.org/home-family/parent-pages/leisure-time/childrens-hobbies-have-big-payoff.

Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/joop.12064.

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Everything changes immediately after hearing the words, “you have cancer.”  The world seems to stop in that moment and you are paralyzed by fear.   Be patient with yourself and allow yourself time to adjust.  There are many important decisions to make, do not make them in haste.  Carefully consider your options as you choose your healthcare team, manage prescriptions and treatment options and navigate financial and insurance concerns.  Focus on what you can control and create an action plan that includes the following steps to live your best life with cancer.   

  • Communicate with your healthcare team.  Learn as much as you can about your diagnosis.   If you are experiencing short- or long-term side effects, let them know.  Do not suffer in silence.
  •  Eat well.   Recognize that cancer and its treatment may cause side effects that make it difficult to eat.  Aim for 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables daily.  Include citrus, dark green and yellow vegetables. Whole grains, beans and lentils helps to fuel the body.  Limit high fat foods and snack frequently through out the day with power snacks.
  • Hydrate.  Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Hydration helps regulate body temperature, aids in the absorption of vitamins and nutrients and  promotes optimal organ function.
  • Stay active.  Walking to the mailbox, lifting soup-can-weights or hitting the gym, physical activity is important. When you exercise, you are present in the moment and less focused on worries. Discuss  physical activity options with your doctor for an approved exercise plan.
  • Get enough sleep.   Insufficient sleep makes coping with challenges difficult.  Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night for optimal function.
  • Practice gratitude.   People who approach life with a positive attitude are less stressed.  Make a mental list of the things you are grateful for every night before you sleep.
  •  Get Organized: Feeling out of control is driven by disorganization. Which adds to general stress.  Reduce clutter and get organized.  You will focus on more important things.
  • Learn relaxation techniques.   Studies show that people who meditate regularly (even just three minutes!) feel calmer and more in control. Try yoga. Take a walk-in nature. Sit quietly. Spend time with your pet.  Try mindfulness.
  • Say “No” When Necessary: Boundaries are important. Do not feel bad when you feel like you need to say no. Avoid taking on more than you can commit to and do not feel guilty about it.
  • Lean on Your Support System: Stay connected with family and friends.  This leads to less stress and better coping ability. Do not be afraid to ask for support during these times.

Written by: Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Jenny Lobb, OSU Extension Educator, Franklin County  lobb.3@osu.edu

References:

https://cancer.osu.edu

https://www.cancer.org

https://www.cancer.gov

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As the world finds its way through the uncharted waters of this pandemic, you may find yourself navigating your own course. With stay-at-home orders, canceled events and limited gatherings, we are all experiencing isolation and loss on some level. Perhaps you have even suffered from depression at some point this year. You’re not alone.

Person sitting with hands folded, displaying stress symptoms

A mid-summer poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation reported over half of US adults indicated the pandemic has affected their mental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the stress from pandemics can bring about these responses:

  • Fear and worry about health (your own and loved ones’)
  • Fear and worry about your job or finances
  • Concern about loss of support services you depend upon
  • Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • Decline of chronic health conditions
  • Increase of mental health problems
  • Increased use of tobacco, alcohol and other substances

With all of these stressful thoughts, it’s no wonder we may be feeling anxious, which can lead to depression. And while there is so much that is out of our control, there are some things we can do to take care of ourselves and those around us.

Cope with stress

  • Learn the facts about COVID-19. Just knowing the facts can reduce stress and help you feel more empowered.
  • Learn what to do if you are sick. The first step is to contact your healthcare professional.
  • Find out where to get treatment, support services and resources, including counseling or therapy (in person or through telehealth services).
  • Take a break from news and social media. Constantly hearing news of the pandemic adds to your stress.
  • Distract yourself from the stress of the pandemic by taking up a new hobby or something that adds purpose or joy to your life.
person walking on road near woods

Take care of yourself

Connect with others

  • Talk with people you trust about your feelings and concerns.
  • Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, consider connecting in different ways: online, social media, phone or mail.

This pandemic won’t last forever, even though it may feel endless at times. Until then, use these tips to take care of yourself and to live healthy AND well!

Sources:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html  

Robinson, L. and Smith, M. “Dealing with Depression During Coronavirus.” HelpGuide.org. Last updated: May 2020. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/dealing-with-depression-during-coronavirus.htm

Panchal, N. et. al. “The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use.” The Kaiser Family Foundation. August 2020.  https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu.

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

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In July  I set an out of office message.

“I am out of the office on vacation. I will be seeing national parks, family, friends, and the Rocky Mountains; I will not be seeing emails.”

And I left.  For two whole weeks! It was glorious and much needed.  

My daughters enjoying the North Rim of the Grand Canyon July 2020

According to research done by the U.S. Travel Association, Americans left 768 MILLION vacations days unused in 2018. That statistic surprised me given how often a friend, neighbor, or colleague says, “I need a vacation!” in conversation.

Allow me to persuade you on why you should use your vacation days:

Are looking for better physical or mental health? Want to achieve a goal you’ve set? Take a vacation!!!

Several studies have shown that taking time away from your job can have physical and psychological health benefits. People who use their vacation time have lower stress and less risk of heart disease.

You may be familiar with stress when it comes to your job. Vacation helps with that too! Stress contributes to heart disease and high blood pressure. Chronic exposure to the stress hormone cortisol can alter our brain structure. This can contribute to anxiety and depression.  Time away from work can increase feelings of calm and relieve stress.   This allows our brains to heal in ways it can’t when it is under pressure.

Physically, the benefits are positive too.   For both men and women, the New York Times reported, taking a vacation every two years compared to every six will lessen the risk of coronary heart disease or heart attacks.

People who vacation also have a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve their goals. One study three days after vacation found subjects’ physical complaints, quality of sleep, and mood had improved as compared to before vacation found.  These gains were still present five weeks later, especially in those who had more personal time and overall satisfaction during their vacation. Returning to work can increase mental focus, creativity, and productivity. 

If you are thinking that your current budget or financial situation does not allow a vacation at this time, allow me to point out none of this research says WHERE or WHAT you have to do for these benefits. Those benefits are available when you take a break from work! A Caribbean island may sound relaxing, but there is plenty of relaxation to be found close to home. Recently the popularity of staycations has grown.  You may be missing some great destinations right in your backyard.  Stay close and get creative if you have to, just don’t add your vacation days to that 768 million. 

Wherever your vacation takes you, we hope it is relaxing!

Author: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Resources:

COVID 19: Staycation. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://dhr.delaware.gov/benefits/covid-19/documents/eap-staycation-ideas.pdf

Harmon, M. (2020). It’s Vacation Time. Live Healthy Live Well, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Scienceshttps://livehealthyosu.com/2020/06/29/its-vacation-time/

Importance of taking vacation. (n.d.). Retrieved August 25, 2020, from https://www.allinahealth.org/healthysetgo/thrive/importance-of-taking-vacation

Kim, A. (2019, August 16). A record 768 million US vacation days went to waste last year, a study says. Retrieved August 25, 2020, from https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/unused-vacation-days-trnd/index.html

US TravelAssociation (2019). PAID TIME OFF TRENDS IN THE U.S. Retrieved from https://www.ustravel.org/sites/default/files/media_root/document/Paid%20Time%20Off%20Trends%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf?utm_source=MagnetMail&utm_medium=email&utm_content=8%2E15%2E19%2DPress%2DVacation%20Days%20Release&utm_campaign=pr

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"Fake news" on wooden game tiles.

Misinformation, disinformation, fake news…. All these terms, in general, describe the same thing: information that is out of context, missing details, lacking reputable sources, or is just plain false. We hear about misinformation within the context of world or political news a lot, but misleading information can appear elsewhere. Misleading and incorrect information shared about health and wellness and can lead to health decisions that could put you at risk. If something seems suspicious, it might be worth a fact check!

Mediawise, a branch of the fact-checking site Poynter suggests these three questions when looking to discover if something is factual or missing the mark.

  1. Who published the information?
    • By answering this question, you may uncover a potential bias by the author or agency. For example, a company selling a weight loss supplement may not be the best place to learn about a new “miracle” vitamin that the company is selling. A good place to begin this step of the fact-check is to look at who is sharing the information and how they will benefit from such a claim.
  2. What is the evidence?
    • Looking more into the evidence behind the claim can shed light on information that supports or discounts the claim. This article claims, “Teenager left ‘blind’ from diet of Pringles, chips and bread”.  When reading this headline alone, it is easy to be skeptical of the information presented. Looking at the evidence, it is a BBC article and they are a reputable news source without a bias for reporting the story. They interview experts familiar to the case in question and share the science behind what happened. The article also cites a case study from a reputable medical journal that shows further evidence to support the headline’s claim.
  3. What do other sources say?
    • A search of keywords in the suspicious article is a good way to find out what other sources say about the topic. When investigating a “miracle” vitamin or fact checking another claim, look for trustworthy, evidence-based sources. Depending on the topic, a reputable fact checking site may have already done the work for you!

Doing a fact-check only takes a few moments, it can help you make evidence-based decisions. A fact check might just prevent you from sharing misleading or false information on your social media feed.


Author: Courtney Woelfl, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Cuyahoga County

Reviewer: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Miami County         


Sources:

Roberts, M. BBC. (2019). Teenager ‘blind’ from living off crisps and chips. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-49551337

WBUR. (2020). ‘Everything’s Worth A Fact-Check’: Network Teaches Teens To Debunk Online Myths. https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2020/08/11/mediawise-teen-fact-checking-network

World Health Organization (2020). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Mythbusters.  https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters#pepper

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Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. It is not part of the normal aging process. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that begins with mild memory loss and can later affect one’s ability to carry out activities of daily living.  On a personal note, my Mom – an Alzheimer’s patient – no longer recalls who I am and struggles with most daily activities.   Alzheimer’s caught up with us in November 2011.  After she received her diagnosis, we developed an action plan to direct her care with a goal for her to live well with Alzheimer’s.  

When seeking to take control of your health and wellness after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it may be helpful to focus your energy on the aspects of your life that are most meaningful.  Recognize that there will be good days and bad days, and an emphasis on living a healthier life will help prepare you to center your energies on what is most important to you.  Start today by:

  • Managing your physical health
    • Get regular checkups
    • Establish a relationship with a physician you trust
    • Get plenty or rest
  • Taking charge of your emotional health
    • Allow yourself to experience a range of emotions
    • Consider meeting with a trusted friend
    • Maintain close relationships with loved ones
    • If experiencing rapid mood changes or a short temper, be mindful of negative responses and understand your reaction is caused by the disease
    • If today is not going well, do not force it.  Stop. Do something you enjoy.
  • Increasing mental stimulation
    • Take a class
    • Try a new hobby
  • Educating yourself about the disease    
    • Plan for the future

Examine the influences that impact your experience living with Alzheimer’s.  Choosing to live a healthy life by maintaining your physical, social, and emotional well-being will help improve your daily life.

Written by: Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County. stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Jenny Lobb, OSU Extension Educator, Franklin County.  lobb.3@osu.edu

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/aging/aginginfo/alzheimers.htm

https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers

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Photo by Pragyan Bezbaruah on Pexels.com

Over the last few weeks I have been pondering a difficult decision. With all the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, I honestly do not know how I feel about my children returning to school – whether that means virtual learning or in the classroom.  

Many of these feeling came when our school district distributed a survey regarding back to school. I assumed it would be a survey with many questions regarding the return to school with several questions regarding virtual and classroom attendance. I was surprised the survey was one question: Are you sending your child to school or will they be doing virtual learning? This left me with racing questions! How can they have 75 students on a bus and social distance? How can they logistically serve the whole school lunch and maintain social distancing and food safety? If one student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19 are they going to quarantine that class or the whole school? If I choose virtual learning, how engaging will it be?  

The decision of sending my children to school or learning virtually has been difficult. My husband and I are not alone. Parents across the world will make this decision, and even if it is different than ours, I am sure that this has been difficult for all parents! As parents navigating in an uncertain world, we need to support each other and our children. Here are some tips to help support your child going back to school whether they are returning to school or learning virtually:

  •  Empathize with your child(ren) and understand they may be feeling anxious or worried about COVID-19. Remind them that there are many effective things we can do to keep ourselves and other safe such as washing our hands, not touching our face, and social distancing. 
  • Children do better with structure. Routine gives children a sense of security so even when there are abrupt changes, they know some things in their day will be the same. Allow your children to help design the schedule.  
  • Encourage your child(ren) to feel their emotions. Just like us they are missing out on events that are important to them. Acknowledge their feelings of anger, frustration, and sadness when they have missed out on ball games, dances, sleepovers with friends, etc. In a child’s eyes these are major losses. Tell them it is ok to feel the way they do. 
  • Find distractions and balance. Kids need relief from feeling frustrated. Be creative with your distractions. You can have a family game night, picnic supper outside, virtual play date with friends, or listen to music and dance!

As parents we are feeling overwhelmed and anxious too. Make sure you exercise self-care, so your children can rely on you to provide safety and security. 

Written by: Kellie Lemly, MS, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Champaign County, lemly.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Dr. Roseanne E. Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Darke County, scammahorn.5@osu.edu

Resources:

Bailey, B. (2020, March 18).  COVID-19:  Five Helpful Responses for families.  Retrieved on July 23, 2020 from https://consciousdiscipline.com/covid-19-five-helpful-responses-for-families/?mc_cid=2df75cbd90&mc_eid=ca6418d16f

UNICEF, (2020). Supporting your child’s mental health as they return to school during COVID-19. Retrieved on July 23, 2020 from https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/supporting-your-childs-mental-health-during-covid-19-school-return

Nationwide Children’s Hospital, (2020). Schedules and Routines. On Our Sleeves. Retrieved on July 23, 2020 from https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/giving/on-our-sleeves/find-help/tools-for-you/coronavirus/schedules

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During this time of unknowns, are we forgetting to check in on our teenagers? Do we sometimes think, “they have their video games and phones” and don’t bother to check in on them anymore than that? I have many friends with teenagers who share how self-sufficient their teenagers have become in the midst of COVID-19. Sure they sleep in too long, stay up too late, and may not be eating as healthy of a diet, but overall they appear to be happy and healthy. However, is that truly the case for our teenagers?

A recent study conducted by the National 4-H Council shared startling statistics. Of the 1,500 youth who were polled, 7 out of 10 identified they are struggling with their mental health. One key indicator found that teens report more pressure to hide their feelings than to do drugs. The Harris Poll conducted on behalf of the National 4-H Council was published by multiple outlets including HuffPost. For more detailed statistics, the 4-H National page provides more.

While concerns of suicide are on the rise in our youth already, this global pandemic has increased the importance for us to check in with our youth to see how they are feeling. A statistic from the Youth Mental Health First Aid course shares that if a youth feels they have one trusted adult they can seek out to share feeling with, it decreases their chance of suicide drastically.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital has a campaign called On Our Sleeves that offers a place to begin a conversation. Resources are available to help parents, educators, and healthcare providers talk with youth about mental health. Honest and open conversations allow young people to share openly and honestly with you, a trusted adult.  This helps them so they don’t feel like the 65% of youth that are “dealing with it on their own”.

on our sleeves

Our youth are resilient, but they need your help to navigate these difficult years. Whether it is from a parent, guardian, or family friend, our youth need to have advocates when it comes to their own mental health. What are you waiting for? Invite that teen you know out to lunch (virtually or in-person!) and let them know how much you love and care for them.

References:

National 4-H Council. (2020). https://4-h.Org/about/Research/#!Healthy-Living. https://4-h.org/about/research/#!healthy-living

Nationwide Children’s Hospital. (2020). Nationwide Children’s Hospital. https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/giving/on-our-sleeves

Mental Health First Aid. (2020). Mental Health First Aid. https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/

Written by: Bridget Britton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Carroll County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County

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I feel like I have a lot on my plate right now, maybe more than that jam packed month of May.  Which in May of 2019 that was saying a lot. . .

Now my plate is full! Full of balancing home and work, bored kids, canceled activities, trying to socialize, staying involved with social issues, questioning my already made decisions, checking in on the mental health of my family, finding time for hobbies, and more.  This list could go on!

Life is hectic right now in a way it never has been before. 

I’ve learned in my (more than a) few years as an adult that I can’t control what is swirling around me but I can control my response to it.  My favorite new series of words to string together to help me with this mindset: and that’s ok!

 

Today was a hard day being a parent. . . and that’s ok!

I completely dropped the ball on that. . . and that’s ok!

I didn’t cross anything off on my list today. . . and that’s ok!

I feel sad today. . .and that’s ok!

I’m having a hard time processing all the events right now. . . and that’s ok!

The dishes are piled all over the kitchen. . . and that’s ok!!

 When we tell ourselves and those around us that we love that it’s going to be ok we are creating HOPE.  We don’t know how long it will be ok.   We don’t have to commit to how it will be ok, but we can create HOPE and we all need that hope right now. 

With just a few changes in our words and thoughts, we can build HOPE right now in our families and community:

  • Join with others in your community who can provide emotional support and encouragement by texting, calling, or by dropping a letter in the mail.  We had some friends drop by some simple treats one evening.  We had an enjoyable visit with them at a safe distance while wearing masks.
  • Reach out and ask a good friend or a family member how they have maintained hope in troubled times. They may offer some helpful suggestions.
  • Make a list of your strengths and talents, and then list your options and resources. Help family members do the same. Ever heard of count your blessings?  You’ll be surprised and grateful when you start to add them up.
  • Learn the true facts about the crisis or economic situation, so you don’t just act on people’s opinions. Look for reliable and unbiased sources of information. 
  • If you are feeling suicidal, get help. Reach out to your family or call SAMHSA’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Holding on to some HOPE right now might be just what we need to make it through tough times, exist together, and pull ourselves from so much uncertainty.  Or maybe you need something completely different right now. . . .and that’s ok too.

Written by:  Alisha Barton, OSU Extension Educator, Miami County barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Dan Remley, PhD, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension

References:

Coping in Hard Times: Fact Sheet for Parents. (2007). Retrieved from https://www.maine.gov/ems/sites/maine.gov.ems/files/inline-files/coping_in_hard_times_parents.pdf

Marrison, E. (2020, May 20). It’s Time to Unplug. Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2020/05/21/its-time-to-unplug/

 

(2020). Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/location/ohio

GALILEO@UGA Subject Guides: Finding Reliable Sources: What is a Reliable Source? Retrieved 2020, from https://guides.libs.uga.edu/reliability

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