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Managing Worry and Stress During a Pandemic

Possible Behavior and Health Changes:


Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
Changes in sleep or eating patterns
Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
Worsening of chronic health problems
Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

If you need help or know someone who does, here are some resources.

Call 911 if in immediate danger
Schenectady City School District has an Employee Assistance Program that you can call 24 Hours a day, seven days a week - 518-465-3813  or 1-800-777-6531

All district employees and their immediate family members, are eligible for the Employee Assistance Program benefit.  These are free and confidential services. 

Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is designed to provide professional counseling and referrals for services that can help with difficulties that may affect the quality of your personal life or job performance. Eligible family members include your spouse or domestic partner, and dependents up to the age of 18 or to age 21 if living at home or attending school.

Things you can do to support yourself:

Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditateexternal icon. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep.
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.

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

There are many things you can do to support your child:

Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
Reassure your child or teen that 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 your family’s 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 your friends and family members.
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