Dealing With Stress When You’re Stuck at Home

— Written By

Stress is constant in our lives. Sometimes that stress is a good kind, preparing for graduation, moving to a new home, welcoming a new family member, or preparing for a championship game. Sometimes it’s not. This year we have been facing many things that bring us stress and a lot of them haven’t been good. On top of that we’ve been unable to connect with many venues that help us handle stress.

If it’s this difficult for adults to cope with the daily stressors we’ve been facing, it must be doubly so for our kids. Gathering with friends, participating in sports, going to movies, or making plans for their summer are all things that help ground kids and help reframe the stress their facing. These items are no longer available de-stressors.

If you search on the internet there are all sorts of lists to help reduce stress, most of them list ways to treat yourself. Enjoying a chocolate treat, or a day watching television, painting toenails or working on a hobby project are good places to start, however there are other acts of self-care that we can follow it up with that include sleep, proper nutrition, exercise, and mindfulness.

Mom and child exercising outside

Not taking care of our physical health can have a significant impact on our level of stress and ability to cope with it. According to the CDC, children age 5-12 should get to 9 – 12 hours of sleep per day (24 hours), and teens 13 – 18 should get 8 – 10 hours of sleep per day (24 hours), adults should get a minimum of seven hours of sleep per day. Another important aspect of our physical health is nutrition and exercise. While it can be hard to stay active when avoiding large public gatherings, there are some activities that are easy to do at home. Cooking at home can also be a challenge, however it can be reframed as a fun way to spend time together with your family. We have a list of enjoyable resources on our website, including exercises to do at home and recipes to try cooking together.

Sleeping kid

Helping kids process their mental stress can be difficult, especially when things seem impossible. Keeping track of the good things that have happened, no matter how small, is a good way for kids to shift their perspective. A visual personification of things they enjoyed helps alleviate stress. These things can include seeing a pileated woodpecker, a kind act by their sibling, or completing a hobby project they had been working on. We have a list of pdfs to help kids get started tracking the good things they are experiencing, as well as some mindfulness activities that will help kids calm down.

Another thing that helps manage stress is having something to look forward to. This year we won’t be able to meet ‘in person’ for 4-H Summer Fun, which is something a lot of us look forward to, however we will have some virtual fun where we can get together and learn.

Herb garden

I am very happy to share that this summer one of our day camps will be Garden to Gourmet. Our kids will spend three days learning about gardening and kitchen safety. A vital part of this program is how elements of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) are integral to plotting out gardens and measuring ingredients for a delicious meal. I think there are very few better ways to spend summer afternoons then getting your hands in the earth and watching plants go from seed, to seedling, to vegetable producing plant, and nothing better than feasting on the bounty our hard work has brought forth. Our youth will be following the process all the way through to the kitchen, where they will learn kitchen and food safety, as well as have a great time participating in a cookoff!!!

It isn’t summer without time in the garden, but it also isn’t a 4-H Summer without engineering challenges. This summer is no different. Every week beginning June 25 we will have an engineering challenge, from mechanical engineering, to environmental engineering, to biomedical engineering, and acoustical engineering. We will learn the fundaments of engineering, how to apply those to real-world problems, and use critical thinking to design, construct, and refine our solutions.

Our Garden to Gourmet Program will be held virtually on Tuesday afternoons beginning June 30th through Zoom, or through a series of videos if kids can’t access Zoom. Our 4-H Engineering challenges will be held on Thursdays beginning on July 2 through Zoom or videos if kids can’t access Zoom. Kids who have registered will be provided with kits to complete the projects in our Virtual Programs. For more information on 2020 Summer Fun Programs give us a call at 252-745-4121.

Resources

Healthy Recipes:
Healthy Pico de Gallo
Easy French Toast
Mexican Style Succotash
Savory Snack Mix

Exercise:
Check out yoga with Ms. Olivia

Trackers:
Healthy Me Before
Healthy Me After
Sleep Log
Exercise Log
Use different colors to represent different strengths, ask friends and family to help you point out strengths.
Strengths Garden Cloverbuds
Strengths Tree
Use different colors to represent different moods.
Mood Log 1 (8 – 18)
Mood Log 2 (8 – 18)
Mood Log 3 (8 – 18)
Mood Log Cloverbuds