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The University of Wisconsin-Division of Extension in Winnebago County is offering resources to help during the coronavirus crisis – or at any time.

Stress and Well-Being – So many times we are starting conversations with, “How are you doing?” Depending on the time of day, the last article read or what a social media feed is populated with, the answer can be vastly different. It’s important for each person to allow his or her feelings to be what they are and to be honest about them with any support system. "Reframing" is an excellent tool for trying to navigate the pressure to be thankful, vs the isolation and grief that are being experienced as the world is changing so rapidly.

  • How do you feel about this challenge? Primary emotions are anger, fear, sadness and joy. For example, “I am very sad that ...”
  • What is the meaning of this challenge? How did I get here? What things were out of my control? What things could I have done differently? What can I learn from this?
  • What new opportunities can there be for me?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a space for a lot of great ideas and resources. Visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and search for “stress” for several resources.

Parenting – The most common theme heard from parents right now is the word overwhelmed. Children’s feelings, school work, lack of daycare options and worries about basic needs are all weighing on parents. Social media feeds are crammed full with suggestions and ideas for making the most of this time together. Visit preventchildabuse.org/coronavirus-resources for more information. Visit local county Extension websites for help with paying bills.

Parents are also dealing with their own concerns and feelings. The very best thing they can do for their children right now is to do what works for their family. If they are a tech-savvy schedule-loving family, do that. Spend time with charts and resources to make a plan to follow. If the family is more prone to cooking, skills and crafts, do that. Try a new recipe, teach new card games, or just play old and familiar games from childhood. Honor the family’s spirit during these times. Use resources that are around – teachers, friends, social media and the parents’ own parenting wisdom. No one knows their family better than the parents. The most important thing to do right now is to take excellent care of the family’s leaders. That will benefit the children immensely.

Tip of the Week – Consider creating a “not now” wish list for the family. Create a space where each member can put their wishes and dreams of things they want to do but current conditions do not allow. By making this a “not now” vs “no” list we can start to look forward to the future while honoring the many small and large losses we are experiencing.

Finances – The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is impacting households, communities and businesses. A new national survey shows that one in five households in the United States have already had their income cut or stopped altogether. UW-Extension continues to gather up-to-date financial information for our communities to utilize during this time. Visit fyi.extension.wisc.edu/toughtimes/covid-19-financial-resources for more information.

Setting priorities for spending is an essential step in balancing a household budget – especially when less money is available. UW-Extension offers tips and worksheets on managing personal finances in difficult times, and how to prioritize bills when there’s not enough income to cover all expenses. Visit fyi.extension.wisc.edu/toughtimes for more information.

Food – Families are making more meals and snacks than usual in a regular week. UW-Extension has created a “Quick and Easy Snack Cookbook” filled with healthy, easy and mostly no-bake recipes to help during the next few weeks. There are a lot of fun ideas kids will really enjoy. Visit waupaca.extension.wisc.edu/2020/03/17/quick-and-easy-snack-cookbook-free-download to download the cookbook.

UW-Extension has also put together a “Easy Meals Using Pantry Staples Cookbook.” It’s filled with meals that contain recipes using ingredients that will last a long time in the pantry like rice, pasta, and frozen fruit and veggies. Visit waupaca.extension.wisc.edu/2020/03/23/easy-meals-using-pantry-staples-free-cookbook-to-download to download the cookbook. Contact Christi.gabrilska@wisc.edu or Hannah.phillips@wisc.edu or Kris.soper@wisc.edu for more information.

Stay Connected – Visit fyi.extension.wisc.edu/news/2020/03/02/get-the-latest-news-on-the-coronavirus for more information.

Catch Your Breath – From 7:30 to 8 a.m. Tuesdays visit uwextension.zoom.us/j/401515082 to join a weekly time with professional partners to connect and share tips and resources. Use meeting ID 401515082 to join the meeting, which is co-hosted by UW-Extension human-development and relationships educators from Washington, Dodge, Fond du Lac and Winnebago counties.

Let’s Talk – From 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesdays visit uwextension.zoom.us/j/211546347 or call 312-626-6799 to join a digital conversation about isolation, ways to connect, ideas for wellness and building community. Use meeting ID code 211546347 to join the meeting, which is hosted by Mandi Dornfeld, human-development and relationships coordinator with the UW-Extension in Winnebago County.

This article originally ran on agupdate.com.

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