LAFOLLETTE, TN. (WLAF)- As schools close and shelter in place orders are extended, some people could be starting to feel anxious or stressed.
The Center for Disease Control is letting people know that stress during COVID-19 is normal and is offering ways for people take care of their mental health.

This includes:
- Taking breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
 -Taking care of your body.
 -Take deep breaths or stretch
 -Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
 -Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep.
 -Avoid alcohol and drugs.
 -Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
 -Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

In the event help is needed:
 -Call a healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of daily activities for several days in a row.
 -People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Parents may have concerns for their children. It is important to remember:
Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.  Watch for behavior changes in children.  Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way.

Some common changes to watch for include:
 -Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
 -Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)
 -Excessive worry or sadness
 -Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
 -Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
 -Poor school performance or avoiding school
 -Difficulty with attention and concentration
 -Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
 -Unexplained headaches or body pain
 -Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

Ways to support your child:
 -Talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak.
 -Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that children or teens can understand.
 -Reassure children or teens they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
 -Limit exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
 -Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
 -Be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with friends and family members. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED -04/17/2020- 6AM)