We know that we are facing a new challenge that has not been seen before in my 67-year history, but know that you are up to the challenge and beyond this. You have heard the precautions repeatedly, so you know to wash your hands every few hours for 20 seconds and keep 6 feet away from others. Some other advice I have to give is to also socially distance yourself from social media. Watch the news for an hour day or less. Do not park yourself in front of CNN or FOX news all day or leave it running in the background constantly. This will only add to your fear. Do not dwell on sensational info on your computer or cellphone as some of the most exciting news may be false or exaggerated. Stress can actually lower your immune system.

Many people are in a state of near panic and feel as if their life is out of control. You still do have control over many things such as following the CDC guidelines and continuing to do things that you enjoy, such as reading, gaming, taking a walk around the block, etc. Exercise is one of the biggest stress relievers. Whatever you enjoy doing try to change it up. You should follow a daily schedule like going to bed and getting up about the same time each day and setting aside some time each day for different activities. For example, it is a good time to pull some weeds in the yard and work outside for an hour or so. Your parents will love it and you will get out from under them for a while when you are outside. LOL Then you can go back to gaming or watching TV or whatever. Make sure to set aside a specific amount of time next week for your classwork. You will be able to finish credits online and Florida has taken away the requirement to pass the state Reading and Alg. 1 test for this year! So now you can graduate with a standard diploma without having to pass the tests for this year as long as your class credits are done by the end of this school year. Take advantage and get your credits finished now. Next year this opportunity will probably not be available.

From Charles Dickens’ novel, “A Tale of Two Cities, we hear, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” We are so lucky to get to spend more time with our close family members and yet it can get too close for comfort. Realize that some people substitute arguing and drama for something constructive to do. Don’t let arguing and drama with your siblings or parents become a substitute for constructive activity. Remember that no one can drive you crazy unless you give them the keys. When 2 people are playing tennis or ping pong, they hit the ball back and forth to each other. What happens if one person does not hit the ball back, – – – the game is over! No matter what someone in your home says to you, you can take charge by saying nothing back. If you know the comment is false, then let it be false by saying nothing. Eventually, the other person will know to move on to a new target.
As Mark Twain said, “The best way to cheer yourself u is to try to cheer somebody else up.”
Another quick reminder: shopping online can be an instant gratification and the anticipation of the package’s arrival may be a distraction, but when this is over the bills have to be paid; Same goes for renting movies online, they add up fast to big expenses.
Things to think about:

1. Connect with the earth around you, walk outdoors, ride a bike, or just go out each afternoon and sit and watch the sunset or create a flower bed or garden space next to your house.

2. Read or listen to a book, check out the “Audible” website. For the next 2 months, they have free books to listen to. It’s usually about $15 per month but is free to students now: stories.audible.com

3. Take a relaxation break for 5 or 10 minutes per day. I recommend the app. “Calm.” There is a daily calm for a few minutes each day and at night there is a bedtime story for adults read by a soft voice that will put you to sleep. The more you use it to go to sleep the more it works. You need to go to sleep with soothing thoughts in your head: www.calm.com/<http://www.calm.com/>

4. Be relaxed and calm, it is not usually what happens to us that is the problem, it is how we react to events that can create a problem.

If you are having difficulties coping with the situation, remember you can look on the back of your health insurance card for a customer service number and call for an appointment with a therapist. Nowadays therapy is free or has a very inexpensive copay with most insurance companies.

Other help numbers:
Dr. Russ Crawford: 239-296-7088, preferably between the hours of 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Mondays to Thursday, anytime if you feel you are in real & immediate need.

Suicide & Crisis help:

Dr. Russ Crawford

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