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Managing mental health in face of coronavirus pandemic – WKOW

Posted: March 16, 2020 at 1:48 am

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MADISON (WKOW) -- During the coronavirus pandemic, it can be easy to feel like we're constantly in danger.

"Those emotional states really wear down our system and it actually weakens our immune system and we don't think the most constructively," Dr. Shilagh Mirgain, a psychologist at UW Health, said.

She says the panic right now is just as contagious as the virus, so taking care of your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

"Monitor your own emotions and when you start to get keyed up, the first thing to do is just to calm the system," Dr. Mirgain said. "The second is to put this in perspective."

She equated this current emergency to 9/11 or the Boston marathon bombings, two terrible tragedies that we were able to overcome as a nation.

"We want to take this seriously and really engage in the kind of self-care that will keep ourselves and others safe," she said. "It isn't just a common cold or a flu."

With recent school closures, communicating the situation with your children calmly will also help prevent further harm for your family.

"Stick to the facts. You might want to limit how much your kids are exposed to media because certainly things like social media posts can be exaggerated or there can be misinformation that can scare your children unnecessarily," Dr. Mirgain said.

As large gatherings are being cancelled, she says you should try to have more family bonding time.

"You can do a hobby, spend time outside and certainly prioritize health for your kids and yourself," she said. "We want to be eating well, we want to be exercising and prioritize sleep."

She also said to watch local news and read enough to get your necessary updates but then avoid social media or constantly checking for more information on the pandemic.

If you're really struggling, you should seek help from a professional.

Many of them are going to do telehealth appointments to get the help you need without having the risk of infection.

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March 16th, 2020 at 1:48 am

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We must equip graduates to excel in tasks that are beyond the scope of AI – Mail and Guardian

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The precise rate of artificial-intelligence (AI) adoption in South Africa is unknown. Some reports suggest half of the countrys larger businesses are actively plugging in, while others indicate that South African companies are slower on the uptake. Regardless, the transition to a workplace in which AI has a significant role to play is under way and is having a knock-on effect on the skills required by business especially for entry-level positions.

During this transition, fewer positions will be available, and we will see a significant shift in skills requirements for entry-level positions, commented World Wide Worx managing director and fourth industrial revolution project principal, Arthur Goldstuck. This, of course, is the fundamental challenge of the 4IR.

This issue is playing out particularly vividly in the global financial services sector, which, according to a McKinsey report, is one of the leading adopters of AI and machine learning.

From banking to trading, AI is reducing the time it takes to generate reports, analyse risks and rewards, make decisions and monitor financial health. AI is used to give more accurate, personalised advice, combat fraud, automate savings, make indecipherable data intelligible for service providers and their customers, and make self-help options viable, practical and safe. These are many of the skills that financial-services graduates are traditionally trained in.

University graduates today are stepping into a world in which they will be working alongside AI, and they will need a different skill set and mindset to do so. Research is identifying a growth mindset as a key requirement in workplaces in which humans and computers work side by side. The term was coined by Stanford University professor Carol Dweck, and having a growth mindset means that you believe your talents can be developed (through hard work, effective strategies, and input from others). By contrast, if you have a fixed mindset, you believe your talents are innate gifts. People with a growth mindset tend to perform better in the modern workplace because they worry less about looking smart and put more energy into learning. They dont get as easily knocked back by criticism or failure because they are less defensive, quicker to admit errors and move on, and more likely to share and collaborate.

The good news is that although developing a growth mindset is not easy (it seems that a fixed mindset is often the default setting for our brains) it can be done. And it starts with helping individuals to become more self-aware.

To remain in a growth zone, we must identify and work with [our] triggers, says Dweck. Many managers and executives have benefited from learning to recognise when their fixed-mindset persona shows up and what it says to make them feel threatened or defensive. Most importantly, over time, they have learned to talk back to it, persuading it to collaborate with them as they pursue challenging goals.

It falls to educators from primary school through to tertiary education to make sure that we are preparing our students for the future world of work. It is our responsibility to develop not only the technical skills and competencies they need but also the self-awareness and associated mindsets that will make them more resilient and adaptive. Furthermore, we will have to co-operate more closely with industry recruiters to understand their precise needs in respect of talent. This is the premise upon which the African Institute of Financial Markets and Risk Management [AIFMRM] at the University of Cape Town was founded more than five years ago.

Against a backdrop of skills shortages, 8.3% of graduates are reportedly struggling to find jobs in the current economy; this suggests that academic institutions and the world of work and business are somewhat misaligned. Realignment is essential for the survival of academia, industry and the economy. And in the age of AI, this challenge is magnified.

The World Economic Forum estimates that automation will displace 75-million jobs worldwide by 2022, but that with sufficient economic growth, innovation, and investment especially in wise human-capital development there can be enough new job creation to offset the effects of automation.

AI cant do everything. It (currently) cannot make moral decisions or explain how it came up with a particular solution. It is essentially subordinate to its algorithm and generally doesnt act in ways that are outside of its training. It is in these functions that graduates will need to excel.

We must embrace this imperative and act together systemically to find the best of traditional education, and rewire it to emerging requirements and trends in the workplace so that graduates can complement the role of AI and maximise its benefits for consumers and the economy.

Professor David Taylor is the director of the African Institute of Financial Markets and Risk Management at the University of Cape Town

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We must equip graduates to excel in tasks that are beyond the scope of AI - Mail and Guardian

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March 16th, 2020 at 1:48 am

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5 Tips To Balance Remote Working While Your Family Is Also At Home – Forbes

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Your ability to strike a reasonable balance between family and work life demands is about to be tested like never before.

In the last few weeks, attempts to increase social distancing and address the coronavirus pandemic has led to businesses all over the world shifting to remote working. Without much preparation, many people are abruptly having to adjust to new ways of operating, leading and connecting.

Working parents have an additional burden now that universities and school systems are sending students home to conduct virtual learning and daycare providers are suspending services. You now have two environments coming togetheryour job and your home lifethat were never meant to overlap this much.

Even if youre a seasoned pro at working from home, doing it alongside a spouse or with children around is sure to present a whole new set of challenges. But before you get overwhelmed, here are five tips to help you communicate more effectively, manage the unavoidable stress of this situation and balance competing priorities.

1. Plan holistically

You may be tempted to hope for the best and take one day at a time; you plan to try to work from home and meet family needs as they come up. This is a mistake.

If you dont make the time to plan for how you will address the myriad of tasks coming your way, you will inevitably find yourself failing to meet expectations at work or working around the clock because home life required more from you than you anticipated.

Before now, you may have taken for granted the luxury of working without constantly being interrupted by the people you love. Take time to play out the various scenarios that will likely come up when working around your family, and ask yourself important questions. Do you need quiet to focus and can you get it? How often will you need to multitask while working? Can you predict the best times to take calls?

For some, it may be an option to carve out exclusive work time by sending older kids off to entertain themselves or by alternating childcare with a spouse that is also working from home. For others, you may have to be the primary (or only) caretaker of young children, which leaves limited time to work.

Face these realities up front while drafting your initial plan of attack. This will help you to better communicate your needs and not underestimate the challenges ahead.

2. Get real with your boss and teammates

While its a privilege to have the option to work from home and continue to get paid, dont let your gratitude for the situation make you lose sight of the practicality. Trying to remain at the top of your game at work while also taking care of young children is completely unrealistic.

Even older children may end up needing more attention than you expected. Consider what is being asked of your kids. Theyve had to suddenly stop all of their normal routines, from school interactions to sports to activities, and sit at home every day with you while you try to work. They will get restless.

Its time to have a candid conversation with your boss and team about your unique circumstances. Explain your commitment to helping the company navigate these unprecedented times, but also make sure you voice what obstacles you will have to manage in the background.

You dont want anyone making their own assumptions about what you can and cant do. This is especially true for working fathers as gender bias may create the incorrect perception that you have fewer responsibilities at home.

Address any parts of your job that will be impacted from working from home and confirm what tasks you can commit to or complete. This will help you and your boss to get ahead of any potential issues. Do your best, but dont overpromise.

3. Confirm changing priorities and deadlines

Your goal for the next few weeks is to successfully fulfill the essential requirements of your job while caring for your family physically and mentally.

While only meeting the minimum required at work has a negative connotation, in this case, that strategy may be your only shot at finding a sustainable balance to get through the next few weeks. Now is not the time to waste energy on initiatives that are no longer as important as they were previously or projects with changing deadlines.

Theres a good chance some new mitigating circumstance may have changed the priorities of your work. Be sure to follow up with your team and get explicit feedback on when things are due so you arent overextending yourself in order to meet a timeline that is outdated.

The same applies if you routinely ask your colleagues for support. Be thoughtful about what you actually need versus what you want and set clear deadlines. Consider things you requested previously. Are they still necessary?

Delivering for your clients will remain a high priority, but as much as you can, be sure to provide your colleagues with flexibility to manage family life.

4. Optimize your stamina

Managing your physical stamina is one of the most important things you need to do right now.

This means getting as much sleep as you can, eating high-quality food, staying hydrated and sneaking in stress management practices like meditation. These are all things that you are sure to struggle to incorporate into your schedule in the coming weeks.

Do yourself a favor and skip the late-night stress eating while binge watching the news. This will leave you grumpy and frazzled the next day and not ready to take on your workload that is even higher than usual.

If you find yourself only able to protect one self-care habit in the days to come, make it sleep. Guard your rest aggressively. It is not selfish to choose sleep over sending emails or finally watching a show with your partner.

Try to remind yourself that your entire family will benefit from being around the healthier, or at least better rested, version of you.

5. Communicate, communicate, communicate

You need even more support from your partner while living in closer proximity with them but with greater physical isolation from your work team. Yet a failure to communicate effectively could bring unnecessary tension.

Dont make any assumptions about how you will balance childcare or other home tasks. And dont hesitate to speak up when an established relationship norm no longer works in this new setting. For example, after putting the kids to bed you may need to skip your habit of watching Netflix together because you need more alone time now that youre both home and working around each other all day.

Whatever it is that you need, share your thoughts and concerns early. If you wait until you are truly frustrated, youre more likely to become demanding or blame your partner for failing to help with a desire they didnt even know you had. Its critical that you discuss each of your needs, wants and expectations frequently.

Navigating change is hard. Go easy on yourself if you start to feel you are falling short. This lifestyle change wont be easy, but long after you get through this tumultuous time, you will be proud of your ability to adapt and persevere.

Kourtney Whitehead is a career expert and author of Working Whole. You can learn more about her work atSimply Service.

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Prayer for Peace to Rain – Thrive Global

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Prayer, to me, is about service and becoming a more efficient, creative instrument of The Divine. Here is my personal testimony.

In my experience, prayer and Self-knowledge go intrinsically hand in hand, forming the bedrock of a rich, sustainable, inner life. Honed through many trials and tribulations, prayer is an integral part of my spiritual and creative practice, hard-wired into the sound of silence, the expansion of inner space and the movement and prompting of the creative spirit. Connecting to the realm of prayer reminds me to breathe in the clear, clean mountain air, drink directly from The Source and allow the noise of the busy world to drop away.

I use the power of prayer as a vehicle of praise and gratitude, an intentional way to help others and as a practical portal to access higher levels of consciousness and the world of infinite supply through which we can manifest all manner of possible things. Life is a mystery. We never know when, why or how a divine spark of creativity will strike or where an initial creative impulse will lead

On 5th January 2020, the American-Iranian conflict was raging, as were the Australian Bushfires. At the end of a condolence call to my friend in Adelaide, I said We must pray for rain and offered up a prayer to see if I could write something. that would speak to the moment. The words came swiftly:

Prayer for Peace to Rain

Pray for the rain to come again

To quench the flames and soothe the pain

Pray to unite our world entire

To stave off war and quell the fire

May healing rain and fury cease

Pray for our planet, pray for peace

Reflecting on the prayer, led to a clear, spiritual call to action, to mount and choreograph a Vigil for Our Planet around the torchlit, healing waters of The Roman Baths in Bath where I live. What better place to hold this timely, spiritual gathering than in a historic site, with a sacred spring in the heart of a beloved World Heritage City? The event would be in aid of the Australian Bushfire appeal. I hesitated to take on such a major undertaking, but it was the words of Greta Thunberg Our planet is burning that compelled me to commit and do all I possibly could to realise this wonderful vision.

The Vigil for Our Planet was duly dedicated to our children and our childrens children a call to action to people of all faiths and none to stand together as one. Date and time: 8th March, International Womens Day, 8.00-9.00 pm.

Organising the event was a deep act of faith and it was prayer that gave me the courage and strength to dare to walk forward into the unknown, trusting that my hand was held in the unseen world and that I was being guided in my mission at each step. The project was blessed with a groundswell of generosity and warm-hearted community support from my friends, sponsors, volunteers, musicians, performers and ongoing prayer throughout from the Benedictines at Prinknash Abbey in Gloucestershire.

On the night. we were a reflective, prayerful gathering of around eighty people, quietly holding the light in the magical setting of The Roman Baths. The programme of words, music and silence included a Maori water prayer, Prayer for Peace to Rain set to music and sung by a local duo, Sinnober, and the work of two Australian poets, one a member of the Aboriginal community and another who evacuated his home due to the bushfires in New South Wales. At a practical level, the vigil raised over 1,000 in donations, proceeds going to the World Wildlife Fund and the British Red Cross.

I invite you to stand with me in praying for peace to rain and holding the vision of a global Vigil for Our Planet. Who will carry the torch next? Every single vigil, however small, will help to build the dream and help create a better, brighter world for ourselves, our loved ones and the treasured generations yet to come.

Lizzie Davies

Lizzie Davies is a committed change agent and innovator who has been actively involved in promoting peace through the arts for over twenty five years. She is a writer and performance poet and the originator of the Candala, an illuminated art form to light up our world. A trauma survivor, she is passionate about the power of beauty and the creative spirit to overcome unimaginable loss and suffering and has just completed writing a self-help book on her unique practice of resilience training.

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How to help your favorite small businesses survive the coronavirus crisis – CNN

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The drop in foot traffic and a reluctance to go out will leave shops and restaurants empty.

While federal, state and local governments will need to step in with financial help and other policy measures, there also are some small ways that individuals, if they have the means, can help their favorite small businesses stay afloat through the crisis.

Purchasing a gift card to your favorite shop, theater or restaurant is an immediate way to put cash into the business, said Amanda Ballantyne, national director of The Main Street Alliance.

That's exactly what Luz Urrutia, CEO of the Opportunity Fund, a nonprofit microlender, has done. "I just bought gift cards to every one of the [local] restaurants that I love. They get their cash today. And I'll be able to use it later."

Molly Moon runs several ice cream shops in Seattle, which already has been hard hit by coronavirus. Moon, who employs 120 people, said she's now considering "extremely reduced hours ... It's breaking my heart."

For healthy customers running errands, she encourages them in good humor to "stock up on pints for the hard times." For those who stay home, Moon invites them to buy gift cards and store merchandise on her company web site.

When it comes to shopping locally, health guidance from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control "is literally disrupting business as usual," said Abigail Ellman, a director at the Cooper Square Committee, a nonprofit working to prevent the displacement of residents and small businesses on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Right now, Ellman noted, businesses are worried about how to make rent and payroll. Customers alone can't cure that strain, but she said "they need you to shop there. Support your local pharmacies and restaurants and businesses."

Taproom No. 307, a craft beer restaurant in New York City, is usually packed on Friday nights, and is really busy around St. Patrick's Day.

As of this week, the place has been practically empty. "People are afraid," said co-owner Roberta Souza.

It doesn't help that the restaurant is a place patrons come to watch live sports and most have now been canceled.

To entice customers who would rather stay home, Souza is offering a 20% discount on takeout.

In Seattle's Chinatown, restaurants are offering different types of deals to attract customers, said Monisha Singh, who runs the Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Area, a nonprofit providing marketing, street cleaning and other services to local shops and restaurants.

Some are offering incentives for first-time users that order delivery through services like Uber Eats and Postmates, Singh said. They're also offering curbside pickup for takeout orders.

And in a bid to help neighboring businesses in the area, some restaurants in Chinatown are offering a 20% discount to customers who show them a receipt from their purchases at another small business, Singh added.

Many independently owned restaurants and food businesses that haven't previously done so are now getting on to delivery platforms like Uber Eats or Postmates, as Moon is doing.

How you pay may be a concern. If you're sick or in a self-quarantine or if you're elderly and at risk, you might use your credit card to pay over the phone, including the tip for the delivery person, and ask them to leave the bag of food outside your door, said Dr. Robyn Gershon, an epidemiology professor at New York University's School of Public Health.

"But if you are fine and not in a 14-day quarantine, there's no reason not to open your door and hand the delivery person a tip."

If you do go to a restaurant or bar, or when you order takeout, consider being a little extra generous on the tips for wait staff and delivery people, since their income will drop due to fewer patrons.

A bigger tip may not directly contribute to a restaurant's bottom line, but it does help others and it contributes to the spirit of goodwill and appreciation in the community, which can help with everyone's mood.

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How to help your favorite small businesses survive the coronavirus crisis - CNN

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March 16th, 2020 at 1:47 am

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How to keep your mental health in check during the coronavirus pandemic – Houston Chronicle

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In the last week, Houston therapist Kara Smith has had to field several questions about COVID-19.

One client asked if everyone who contracts the virus dies; another asked if she will suspend her practice. A third asked if the virus can be passed to pets.

I am seeing a wide range of reactions to this pandemic, said Smith, a licensed clinical social worker. As stories arise, such as the cancellation of the Rodeo and the remainder of the NBA season, clients anxiety levels are rising. Many clients are worried about losing their jobs, especially those in the supply chain, oil and gas, or travel and leisure industries.

But people who do not normally seek mental health services are feeling an uptick in anxiety as well, partly due to a sudden sense of loneliness and isolation, as working from home and social distancing become more prevalent.

On Not feeling well? Here are some practical home remedies

Mental health, self-care practices one can do alone from home

For your body:

Eat more nutritional foods

Drink less caffeine

Eat less sugar


For your mind:

Deep breathing


Journaling your thoughts, body sensations and emotions

Play games

Do a crossword puzzle

Read a book

Limit exposure to coronavirus media to one or two times per day


Learn something new

Discover new music

For your spirit:

Read religious, spiritual or metaphysical literature

Watch a religious, spiritual or metaphysical video or listen to a podcast

See if your place of worship will offer online streaming or religious services

Connect with nature (go outside, care for a houseplant, look out the window at nature)

Spend time with your pets


Reach out to someone outside your household at least once a day. It is important for us to stay connected to others during this time.

Source: Kara Smith, Houston licensed clinical social worker

What are people the most afraid of? Other people, Smith said.

The most difficult thing for most of my clients to do is to trust that other people are protecting us as much as we are protecting ourselves, she said. As we hear stories about people who were asked to self-quarantine going to crowded places, the ability to trust those around us to do the right thing decreases.

These heightened feelings are normal, and its important to understand the difference between anxiety, obsessive compulsive patterns and coronavirus news-induced feelings of panic.

Dr. Elizabeth McIngvale is the co-director of the Houston OCD program and president of the Peace of Mind Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the goal of helping people who suffer from various types of obsessive compulsive disorder.

Certainly during this time, we see a lot more increased fear responses and anxiety, McIngvale said. What were seeing are more patients who arent normally at our clinic. Were really seeing anxiety and panic take over and be part of the general population at this point.

Anxiety levels spike in a general population during times of uncertainty, like when theres a hurricane in the Gulf. But with a virus like COVID-19, which is spread person-to-person and takes days to show symptoms, there is an extra level of fear. Constant news updates, mile-long lines at grocery stores and supply shortages can contribute to a collective feeling of urgency or panic.

Theres this added level of responsibility that if Im not cautious enough, I can catch it, spread it and itll be my fault, McIngvale said. Youre going to definitely see that people are making decisions based on risk.

On Four hacks to help you sleep better

Measures to slow the spread of coronavirus have extended much further than wash your hands for 20 seconds. Most large gatherings have been canceled, and companies are encouraging their employees to work from home if theyre capable. This weekend, the House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which mandates employers provide paid sick time to employees who qualify.

Americans crave communion with others, and self-isolation can play into a greater feeling of anxiety, and in some cases, depression.

As people isolate more and socialize less, they are more prone to feelings of loneliness and restlessness, if not anxiety and depression, Smith said. If people are asked to remain at home for days, it may also bring up trauma memories of Hurricane Harvey, leaving people feeling trapped, isolated and helpless.

The best thing to do is take better care of ourselves in body, mind and spirit, Smith said.

McIngvale and Smith both recommend limiting exposure to coronavirus media to one or two times per day because constant exposure can increase feelings of anxiety and panic.

Also, find a credible source, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or a trusted media source,, and only get information from there. Pay attention to recommendations and guidelines, but try to avoid the rest if youre feeling uneasy.

Finally, use the appropriate amount of caution, but dont overdo it.

On Quarantined? Take the time to declutter your home

When anxiety is taking over, we start to see 20-second recommended hand washes turn into multiple hand washes and an inability to leave the kitchen because theyre stuck washing their hands, McIngvale said. When is it a normal response or when is it (obsessive compulsive) or anxiety taking over?

Social distancing can also affect people who rely on in-person communities, such as Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous, to stay accountable in their recovery from drugs and alcohol. A good alternative is In The Rooms, an online support group website with video meetings.

Many therapists, including Smith, offer video therapy appointments in lieu of in-person visits. Its important to stay accountable and on top of your mental health even if youre under quarantine, McIngvale said. At area hospitals, telemedicine apps are being used in as many consultations as possible, especially those not related to coronavirus.

Anxiety and a little bit of uneasiness are normal during this time, McIngvale said. But most people should return to functioning. If its consistent and affecting your life, seek help before it causes any major disruption.

Renew Houston: Get the latest wellness news delivered to your inbox

Julie Garcia is a features reporter at the Houston Chronicle focusing on health, fitness and outdoors.

Originally from Port Neches, Texas, Julie has worked as a community journalist in South Texas cities since 2010. In Beaumont and Port Arthur, she wrote feature stories and breaking news before moving to the Victoria Advocate as an assistant sports editor writing about high school sports and outdoors. Most recently, she worked at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times in areas spanning city and county government, new business, affordable housing, breaking news and health care. In 2015, she covered the Memorial Day floods in Wimberley, Texas, and in 2017, she was a lead reporter covering Hurricane Harvey as it affected the Coastal Bend region. These experiences have pushed her toward exploring environmental journalism and climate change.

A textbook water sign, Julie is an advocate for people feeling their feelings and wants to help people tell their stories. When not at work, shes probably riding around in her Jeep looking at all the tall buildings.

Have a story to tell? Email her at For everything else, check her on Twitter @reporterjulie.

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Mum shares list of child-friendly activities, to help self-isolating families – Positive News – Positive.News

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Ive been stuck inside ill for the last couple of weeks. During this time, I thought to myself what would I do if I was stuck at home and had to entertain my kid as well?, wrote Vicky Blyde, a parent from the UK.

So she started writing a list of ways to keep a child of infant school age occupied without simply putting the TV on. Full disclosure: Id also shove the TV on, Blyde wrote.

As more and more schools are closing and I see more of my friends are self-isolating with their families, I hope this list is helpful to some of you!

Blydes suggestions include cooking and baking together, making models from rubbish, making paper planes, building dens, carrying out basic home science experiments, making paper chains from old magazines, dressing up, putting on a fashion show and setting treasure hunts.

Image: Origami is among the suggestions from UK mum Vicky Blyde

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Mum shares list of child-friendly activities, to help self-isolating families - Positive News - Positive.News

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What Is Social Distancing and Why Is It So Important During the Coronavirus Outbreak? –

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With the current coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) upon us, youve likely heard health officials, celebrities, and even the friends you were supposed to go out for drinks with tonight, stress the need for social distancing. But as a relatively new phrase, there maybe some confusion over what it means and why it's important for us to follow right now.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines social distancing as remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible. Its the reason many colleges are finishing out the spring semester online, Broadway shows are on hiatus, and cinemas are only allowing half as many people in as usual.

The best way to better protect yourself from developing COVID-19 are things you can do right now: wash your hands, avoid large crowds, and stay home if you feel ill.

It's all in an effort to try and minimize the number of germs that pass from one person to another. Anytime we interact with other people, we exchange microbes bacteria or viruses, says David Larsen, Ph.D., M.P.H., an epidemiologist and assistant professor of public health at Syracuse University. Each interaction carries a probability of a transmission, and in the case of an outbreak of an infectious disease, if you decrease those interactions, you can decrease the probability of transmission events. Essentially, if a person practices social distancing, they can protect themselves, he says, but if an entire community practices it, you can possibly stop a virus in its tracks.

In fact, theres a graph circulating online that features two bell curves: one that goes up and down steeply past a horizontal line indicating the capacity of our healthcare system (illustrating the current track were on), and one whose rise and fall is more gradual and doesn't surpass that horizontal line (illustrating what might happen with more protective measures in place).

Since our healthcare industry can handle only so many severe cases at once, if COVID-19 spreads too quickly, well be in big trouble: Experts say that 10-20% of people with the disease may require hospitalization. With that number of hospitalizations, you can overwhelm the system and get into situations where theres insufficient care available for all the people that need it, says Larsen. We want to avoid being in a position where doctors are trying to decide who gets a ventilator, where theres not enough available for the people who need it to continue living, which is happening in Italy. Healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, technicians, etc.) may also start to get sick, bringing down the quality of care and triggering a rise in fatality, he notes. If you wait for the curve of the graph to rise before you take precautions, it could be too late to make a difference, but the right precautions can "flatten the curve."

But even if you're feeling fine, or aren't in the group of higher-risk people, practicing social distancing is important. One problem with COVID-19 is that some people, especially those who are younger, have only mild symptoms or none at all. New science suggests that people can spread the virus before they are symptomatic, says Larsen. Theres whats called a latency period between the time when you are infected and when you exhibit symptoms. This means that someone who seems pretty healthy could infect others without even realizing they carry the virus.

Unfortunately, testing isnt widespread right now so we dont know exactly who has COVID-19, which makes it more difficult to contain. It is believed that one positive person can transmit the virus to two or three other people, which results in those two to three affecting more people, says Peter Gulick, D.O., professor of medicine at MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. The mild or asymptomatic are high-risk as they are not sick enough to know to stay away from crowds, whereas those who feel sick usually visit a doctor or ER. We can mitigate the spread if we disassemble the crowds.

Remember: If youre exhibiting symptoms, call your doctor and let them know and decide on a course of action, says Dr. Gulick. Even if you dont have symptoms, but youre an older adult or a person who has heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, youre at a higher risk of developing life-threatening complications from COVID-19 and should follow these precautions from the CDC.

However, social distancing doesn't mean you can't leave your house, or have fun with friends. It's important to remember to practice it within reason. We need to do things, we need to go out and be human, says Larsen. We need food and we need social interaction to be healthy. But voluntary things like attending large events, large gatherings, and voluntary travel we should try to decrease those.

Instead of going out to drinks with friends, try doing a virtual hangout where every can still interactive with one another. And rather than taking a spin class at your gym, go for a jog outside. Remember, you're not just doing this for yourself, you're helping your entire community, especially people who are at higher-risk for serious illness from COVID-19, including older adults, and those who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease.

If you're feeling overwhelmed by say, working from home, or if you're experiencing anxiety over the coronavirus, there are certain things you can do to keep yourself healthy, including: eating well, getting enough sleep, and communicating with friends and family via phone and text.

For helpful resources regarding coronavirus, visit: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Coronavirus Disease 2019 fact page and The National Association of County and City Health Officials' directory of local health departments.

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What Is Social Distancing and Why Is It So Important During the Coronavirus Outbreak? -

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March 16th, 2020 at 1:47 am

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Mother’s Day marketing is not what it used to be – The Guardian

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Give your mum the gift of a lie in or a sex toy. Photograph: Alamy

Mothers Day has got weird. Hasnt it? As I remember it, next Sundays celebration has traditionally been a morning of handmade cards rashy with glitter, a proud bunch of tulips and perhaps jammy toast in bed. Of course these traditions have evolved Ive been aware, as age has come, of the increasing number of afternoon tea deals and heavy marketing of heavy perfumes, neither of which offer much change from a hundred pound note. Soaps stand in for apologies, hand creams are purchased in lieu of a conversation about the past. Here is a bath bomb, signifying regret. This year however, I am conscious of a shift.

A ping, an email: The case for buying your mum a vibrator New sex toy retailer offering 25% off Mothers Day gifts. I dont think of myself as a prude, though yes, I can see the appeal. I can see the appeal of identifying as such, and so being free to ignore the sweaty sexualities of others, their glazed little eyes when somebody says angina. Prudishness has much going for it, but I am a modern woman, able to contemplate and acknowledge the private shadowlands of my fellow passengers evenings without judgment. But Christ, not my MUM. Lovely lady, but she is, always has been and must always remain sexless, thank you. Its not appropriate to gift a vibrator to the woman whose genitalia one once emerged from. Its not appropriate, and its not nice.

Among the other mad and maddening suggestions for Mothers Day ideas Ive tripped up on this week were a list of Instagram captions to pay tribute to your mum, helpfully divided into funny (Cheers to the woman who gave up wine for nine months, just for me), cute, song lyrics and quotes (A mothers arms are more comforting than anyone elses, Princess Diana). The idea here being that a person can copy and paste her love from a pre-approved selection, only one typing finger necessary to @ literally the person who created her. Im struggling to imagine something that requires less effort. Blinking, perhaps. Raising a buttock for a muted fart.

More creative, yet just as baffling is the new scheme in Hull providing small thank-you cards for strangers to give to mothers they see breastfeeding in public. Again, weird. Why should a passerby be thankful a stranger was feeding their child? If the card came from the suckling kid hanging off her chafed tit on a cold March morning I could perhaps see the logic.

Elsewhere, the Daily Mail has published a list of self-help books to give as Mothers Day gifts, which, call me old-fashioned, I would very much take as a passive-aggressive snipe from an unappreciative whinger whos neither paid me back for last years loan nor, clearly, is willing to listen to my advice on eyebrow plucking. And finally, in the window of Boots (which last year did a Mothers Day promotion on intimate feel condoms, and has this year added a rack of Berocca to their seasonal display) a sign urging customers to celebrate Mothers Day by purchasing menopause hero products for them, including discreet bottles of Durex lube. Happy Mothers Day Mummy, just a little something to help your boyfriend guide himself in more smoothly, Xx.

Could the new Mothers Day marketing have been inspired by the campaigns around International Womens Day, which fell with a pinkish clank a fortnight earlier? It is certainly familiar, this soggy combination of commodified female pleasure, misplaced branding and expensive mindfulness. We have become accustomed to being sold our feminine celebrations wrapped in empowerment, accustomed to every female emotion being price-tagged, sugared and sold back to us as feminist. For every occasion women have come to expect a slogan T-shirt telling us how fierce we are, and in every gift bag a book explaining, actually, how we could improve. This is how such celebrations are marked now, in cupcakes and sweet things to help the medicine go down.

The history of Mothers Day can be plotted back to ancient Greece, where they honoured Rhea, mother of many mythological gods who tricked her husband into swallowing a stone rather than their baby; then through to the Roman festival Hilaria, dedicated to another mother goddess, Cybele. In the 1600s, mothers were celebrated in England on the fourth Sunday of Lent, and the day was made official in 1872. Far be it from me to sigh at the modern world it has treated me well; I have two pairs of Uggs but even I can see a disconnect between the gentle honouring of women who bore us, and the sparkling confusion of politicised boredom.

I will fight for the right of women to have afternoon teas at fancy hotels, and to wear a Badass Mama shirt, and for Dior to decorate their catwalk with feminist platitudes (Womens love is unpaid labour) in order to sell high-heeled boots. But personally, this Mothers Day I am hoping to receive the gift of a lie-in, and I will be giving daffodils. My mum can sort out her own vagina.

Email Eva at or follow her on Twitter @EvaWiseman

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Mother's Day marketing is not what it used to be - The Guardian

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March 16th, 2020 at 1:47 am

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How to keep coronavirus fears from affecting your mental health – CNN

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But the constant spring of information, precautions and warnings, whether it's straight from the CDC or some recirculated, dubiously-sourced post on Facebook, can take a real toll on your mental health.

A pandemic is a rather abstract villain, so it may help to sit down and really consider what specific threats worry you. Do you think you will catch the coronavirus and die? "The fear of death taps into one of our core existential fears," says Bufka. "But you have to think about what your fear is, and how realistic it is." Consider your personal risk and how likely it is that you will actually come in contact with the virus.

Of course, you could have other, more practical fears. "Some people may worry about what would happen if they were moved into self quarantine, or if they're not able to work. They're wondering if they would have access to groceries or childcare," says Bufka. "Again, people have greater abilities to manage hardships than they think they do. Think about a plan. Consider options if you can't telework. Do you have savings? Do you have support?" Being prepared for your fears will help keep them in scale.

Since action can allay our anxieties, you may want to also consider what you can do to help others who may be more affected by the outbreak than you. Service workers, medical workers, hourly workers and people in the restaurant or entertainment industries may have their livelihoods paralyzed or have to put themselves in disproportionate danger. "It will be important for us as communities to think about how to support these individuals whose lives are going to be disrupted," Bufka says. "How can we even this burden and support those who have less options?"

People are going to talk. But if you want to run to a friend to discuss the latest outbreak cluster or your family's contingency plans, try not to create an echo chamber. "If you are overwhelmed, don't necessarily go to someone who has a similar level of fear," Bufka says. "Seek out someone who is handling it differently, who can check you on your anxiety and provide some advice."

If you can't seem to get a handle on your thoughts, professional help can be an option. "It doesn't need to be a long-term thing," Bufka says. "It means you can get some guidance for this specific situation."

In short, don't get so wrapped up in thinking about the coronavirus that you forget the essential, healthy practices that affect your wellbeing every day. "In times of stress, we tend to minimize the importance of our foundation when we really should be paying more attention to it," Bufka says. Make sure you are:

Practicing mindfulness, meditation, yoga or other forms of self care can also help center you in routines and awareness, and keep your mind from wandering into the dark and sometimes irrational unknown.

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How to keep coronavirus fears from affecting your mental health - CNN

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March 16th, 2020 at 1:47 am

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