Taking care of ourselves and our families

JSSPA Extension Information

In times of stress, such as during this COVID-19 outbreak, many of us feel like rolling into a ball and protecting ourselves. This position may work for a while, but eventually we should unroll, stand up and take control of what is in our control.

This includes taking care of ourselves and our families. Nutritious foods, physical exercise and good sleep are key ingredients in staying healthy. Connect with your family over physical exercise. It can be low or no cost. It will improve everyone’s attitude, sleep and energy. Outdoor activity is especially good when we are feeling isolated and secluded.

Try shoveling; raking; walking; biking; sledding; skiing; climbing; pulling; pushing; walking faster; touching your toes, head, shoulders, knees and toes (sing loudly while doing the actions); skipping; galloping; or walking on an imaginary tight-rope. Whew!

Play charades where each person acts out a sport or physical activity that the individual would like to try. Write them down and use the list to plan future family activities.

What are you already doing well as a family around physical activity? What would you like to add or change?


Morning workouts not your thing? If you can’t carve out alone time to exercise, multitasking during your kid’s activities is a great way to keep the family fit. Walk or jog around the ball field with the rest of the family, or do strength work or stretching at the park to keep everyone moving for better health.

What to Do When Your Income Drops

An abrupt reduction in family income, such as if your employer closes during the COVID-19 outbreak, can be a traumatic experience psychologically and financially. But you have ways you and your family can minimize the hardship.

First, don’t panic. Give yourself time to get over the initial shock and then start making plans. Don’t blame yourself or anyone else. Just concentrate on dealing with the situation. Here are some things you can do:

  • Take stock of family and community resources. If you are experiencing food shortages in your home, there are several options in our community for obtaining food. Check out the Food Assistance/Stutsman County publication, visit to learn more.

  • Recognize that your life will be different, at least for a while, but you and your family still can be in control of your household financial affairs.

  • Start making adjustments immediately by setting priorities for spending.

  • Involve the entire family in setting these priorities.

  • Plan to pay creditors and protect family welfare.

Make every effort to maintain positive family relationships and not allow financial pressures to destroy these bonds. Recognize that family income will be reduced and the past level of spending will have to be lowered.
Article used with permission from Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension, The Family Table newsletter, Issue 28. For more information, contact the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030 or email .

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