The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a pandemic as a worldwide spread of a new disease facing populations with no immunity to combat the illness. The pandemic is causing many other concerns for people: stress, mental health issues, anxiety, etc. Marie Witzel, Positive Youth Development Educator shares resources and information from the National Association of 4-H Youth Development Educators for youth and adults to live proactively through a pandemic.

According to Amy Lynn Rhodes, University of Maryland Extension, through the resources researched the following ways to be proactive emerged:

• Limit your exposure to media — staying glued to Facebook and online news feeds will only heighten your state of stress and anxiety

• Empower your knowledge — use only reliable media sources, face it not everything on the web is facts; we all know this but do we listen?

• Reduce your anxiety by reducing your risk — take steps to limit your exposure, improve personal hygiene, be prepared by having necessary medicine and household necessities on hand

• Create a plan — thinking ahead about what you would do if you are loved ones become sick

• Have a conversation — talking to friends and loved ones sharing concerns and understanding you are not the only one feeling worry

• Practice resilience — know we will bounce back from this situation, normalcy will return, we will become more educated and prepared through these inconveniences

• Continue to live — using a proactive approach continue to participate in your daily life, go outside and breath fresh air

• Stay positive — focus on all the wonderful things in life big and small

• Avoid the bandwagon — do not jump into emerging trends unless recommended by professionalS

• Seeking professional help from a licensed mental health professional if necessary

The fall season may be a more stressful time for families with youth going back to school, either in-person, virtually or both. It is also a great time to get outside, do activities together as a family, enjoy the fall weather and have fun together. Below are some resources available to help or contact your local UW-Madison, Division of Extension office for additional support.

• Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19 (excellent resource from the CDC) (

• How to Cope With Anxiety About Coronavirus — Learn strategies for managing stress during a pandemic (

• Feeling Anxiety About Coronavirus? A Psychologist Offers Tips to Stay Clearheaded (

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