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    art of journal

    Many people find journaling a great way to process feelings in a positive way.

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    When we cannot see friends or family members, remember there are many ways for us to still connect. Human connections promote wellness, here are ways to reach out to family and friends who may be alone. Reframe your thinking. Instead of focusing on the negative, flip the script and think about the positive ways you can use this time. Start by reaching out to those who are important to you and deepen your relationships.

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    In a time when more people are working from than usual, we felt it might be helpful to offer some tips for working from home.  Of course some of these tips are best when working from home and not while some are trying to both teach their children and do their jobs from home.  We understand if some of these tips are the ideal and possibly not your current situation.  Hopefully some of them will be beneficial for you the reader:

    Set a Schedule

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    The teenage years revolve around friends, school, family, sports, and events. Cancellation and social distancing may have real effects on the emotional health of teens.

    Look for:

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    There are over 34 million people in the US that provide care for someone over the age of 50. Although there tends to be an average profile for caregivers, their population is greatly diverse representing both genders and all races, cultures and ages. However, the majority of caregivers give of themselves without expecting anything in return, and they rarely think of themselves first. Caregiving is a rewarding experience for most, but also has many challenges and burdens that cause great amounts of stress. 

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    It is safe to assume that many adults today remember being told at one time or another by their disciplining parents, “You are grounded and are not to leave the house.” This typically meant separation from friends, playing outside, and taking part in planned activities. Even if it’s been a while since the age of being grounded, the social distancing plan underway may bring back feelings of “having one’s wings clipped.”

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    Many families with young children are seeking resources about learning at home with young children as the COVID-19 situation evolves in our communities. This is a trying time for early childhood programs and families as they work together to keep young children safe, healthy, and learning.

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    Many families with young children are seeking resources about learning at home with young children as the COVID-19 situation evolves in our communities. This is a trying time for programs and families as they work together to keep young children safe, healthy, and learning.

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    Raising kids, eating right, spending smart, living well—that’s the theme of a national Living Well Campaign that is being promoted by the Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, both at the national level and here in Illinois. The goal of the Living Well Campaign is to provide people with the education and information they need in order to “live well.”  

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    We often hear about the importance of family mealtime, but do you know what all the fuss is about? As a parent, it is sometimes easier to dismiss this family routine and feed kids fast food or prepared food in the car coming or going to their multitude of activities and events. So let’s pause for a moment from the rush of family life and learn a little more about the importance of eating together.

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    Minimizing sedentary behavior and participating in regular physical activity is essential for good health and wellbeing. Sedentary behavior is often interpreted as being physically inactive; however, there is a difference between physical inactivity and being sedentary. Sedentary behavior is anything that is done while sitting or lying down. This can be sitting at work or school all day, sitting and watching TV, and even sitting while driving. Behavior that the majority of people participate in every day.

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    With families so busy with work, school, extra-curricular activities, sports, church, civic groups, clubs, etc., they can find it difficult to spend quality time with each other. Because families can be so busy, they need to intentionally plan their time together.

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    When I think about February, many celebrations come to mind. Whether it is birthdays, the Super Bowl, or Valentine’s Day, we have something to celebrate. Not only do I think about the heart when someone references Valentine’s Day, but February is Heart Healthy Month.

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    I recently found this article on the National Institute on Aging website that reinforces a topic of my programming lately – that socialization or social engagement is beneficial for brain health and longevity. I have been focusing on the effects practiced in later life but this article expands that to midlife, so I would like to share it with all of you:

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    The other day I was visiting with a friend about the importance of feeling optimistic about the future. It is only fitting to think about the future and having a positive mindset as we move into 2020. Being optimistic doesn’t mean to forget about the struggles or issues that you might be experiencing. Still, it is about making sure your mindset is in order.

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    We talk a lot about stress during the holidays and try to find ways to reduce or make that stress more manageable. However, we usually talk about it in regards to us – the adults – and sometimes forget that holidays can be difficult for children as well.  Parties, shopping, and other activities may take families out of their usual daily routine and these routines provide security and stability for young children.

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    With the anticipation of the holidays, there can also be that feeling of dread – how are you going to get everything done on an already busy schedule? For many people, the extensive preparations they engage in to pull off those picture-perfect holidays create so much stress, that they can’t even enjoy themselves. The “picture-perfect” part is where much of the stress originates from.

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    In 2018, approximately 20.3 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder (SUD).

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    We all know someone who is providing care for someone else. They may be caring for an older parent, a disabled adult child, or a spouse suffering from a traumatic injury or chronic illness. Even parents raising children are considered caregivers. Caregivers give of themselves without expecting anything in return, and they rarely think of themselves first.

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    Since most of the farmers in my area are deep into harvest season, I thought it might be a good time to touch on the topic of farm or agricultural stress. Those in the agricultural industry can face unique pressures, many of which are beyond their control. Some of these include: