Stress Management Series- Part 4 of 4

Part 4

Learn by Doing, the motto that leads us all.  Now that we’ve concluded our Stress Manangement Series, we’d love to hear from you!  Share what you’ve learned by posting on any of our social media sites with the hashtags #madco4h and #4HGrowsHere

For example:

Have you tried out any of the suggested stress management techniques?

What have you learned from those that you’ve tried?  Were they helpful?

How did you modify them to meet your needs or the needs of the youth in your life?

Would you make any suggestions to others?

Stress Management Series- Part 3 of 4

Per request we are publishing the “Stress Management” series published in our monthly column for the Madison Enterprise Recorder.

Part 3

Congratulations!  We’ve successfully navigated the first month of 2017!  As we rounded out 2016 we were exploring stress management techniques for our youth, families, and ourselves.  Have you been able to be mindful of keeping your stress in check?  Have you noticed your efforts rubbing off on those around you, especially your kids?  Remember “Lean By Doing” is not just the 4-H motto, it’s the most successful method for breaking bad habits and building new ones.  Managing stress is often a trigger habit to help you and your family stick with those New Year’s Resolutions.  The American Psychological Association offers tips on navigating stress to reach healthy habit goals.


APA offers the following tips to get you and your family started down a healthy path:

  • Evaluate your lifestyle.As a parent, it’s important to model healthy behaviors for your children. Children are more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle and less likely to associate stress with unhealthy behaviors if the whole family practices healthy living and good stress management techniques. So, ask yourself ― How do I respond to stress? Do I tend to overeat or engage in other unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and drinking alcohol, when I feel stressed? In what ways could my stress coping skills be improved?
  • Talk about it.If you notice that your children are looking worried or stressed, ask them what’s on their minds. Having regular conversations can help a family work together to better understand and address any stressors children are experiencing. Low levels of parental communication have been associated with poor decision making among children and teens.Talking to your children and promoting open communication and problem solving is just as important as eating well and getting enough exercise and sleep.
  • Create a healthy environment.Your home, work space and even social environment can influence your behaviors. Altering your environment can help alleviate stress. For example, cleaning up a cluttered environment can help. Look around your home and even your car and ask yourself, does this space feel clear and relaxing? Clearing up your home space for the family is something you and your children can control, and it teaches children to focus on those things they can control when feeling stressed.
  • Focus on yourself. The correlation between health, obesity and unhealthy choices is strong. When you and your family are experiencing stress, make a conscious decision to take care of yourselves. Get adequate doses of nutrients, physical activity and sleep. When you feel overwhelmed it is easy sometimes to fall into cycles such as eating fast food, plugging into sedentary electronic activities like playing video games or watching TV, or not getting enough sleep. Research shows that children who are sleep-deficient are more likely to have behavioral problems. And, parents have an extraordinary amount of influence on their children’s food choices. A healthy dinner followed by an activity with your family, such as walking, bike riding, playing catch or a board game, and topped off with a good night’s sleep can do a lot to manage or to lessen the negative effects of stress.
  • Change one habit at a time.You may aspire for your family to make multiple important changes at once such as eating healthier foods, being more physically active, getting a better night’s sleep or spending more time together. However, if you are already overextended from juggling many different responsibilities, doing all of this at once can feel overwhelming. Changing behaviors usually takes time. By starting with changing one behavior, you and your family are more likely to experience success, which can then encourage your family to tackle other challenges and to continue making additional healthy changes.
  • Seek Professional Help. If you or a family member continues to struggle with changing unhealthy behaviors or feels overwhelmed by stress, consider seeking help from a health professional, such as a psychologist. Psychologists are licensed and trained to help you develop strategies to manage stress effectively and make behavioral changes to help improve your overall health.

Ms. Neva Grows #TrueLeaders at 4-H Camp Cherry Lake

Check out our very own Ms. Neva Baltzell on this week’s Camphacker podcast!  We’re lucky to have such a talented and big-hearted person as our 4-H Camp Cherry Lake Director and UF/IFAS Florida 4-H State Camping Coordinator.  Go Ms. Neva Go!! #gorillaprideNeva Baltzell

4-H is a Brand Name: Protect It!

Florida 4-H: Northeast District

The logo, the font, the overall style of a brand, improves recognition and builds trust with clients.  Branding for 4-H is no exception.  The 4-H emblem is one of the most recognized logos in the world.  Knowing the strength of our brand, it is critical that we as professionals, take appropriate measures to protect that brand.

The Emblem:  Only produced in green (preferred), black, gold, or white, stem always pointing to the right, and never with anything obstructing the view of the entire emblem.  When using the emblem in print or online materials it should always retain its size ratio.  Read more at: 4-H Name and Emblem:

The Name:  USE THE HYPHEN!!!! (Phew, I got that out of my system).  The only appropriate way to write 4-H is… “4-H.”  “4H” or “Four-H” are incorrect.

The Pledge:  What if we added additional motions to the Pledge of…

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4-H Alum and Volunteer earns national ARHA honors!

We are so proud of this young lady and her accomplishments! Cody Jesse is a #4HAlumni and current volunteer. At the American Ranch Horse Association awards in Somerset, Kentucky, she received recognition as the Region 5 ARHA NA Champion & 2016 ARHA most improved. If ever there was an example of a #TrueLeader, Cody is it! #4heverywhere #4HGrowsHere #madco4h

Cody Jesse ARHA awards

Stress Management Series- Part 2 of 4

Per request we are publishing the “Stress Management” series published in our monthly column for the Madison Enterprise Recorder.

Part 2

As we discussed in last month’s column, teaching our youth stress management techniques can often be one of our most important jobs as an adult in their life.  But how can we expect our kids to do what we say if we don’t demonstrate positive behaviors and stress management in our own life?  Like the airplane instructions go, “First you put on your mask, then you assist your [child].”

So what are some ways we can be positive models of stress management?  Let’s take a look at some of the ways the American Psychological Association (APA) suggests dealing with holiday stress in particular.

APA suggests these tips to help parents effectively manage holiday stress:

  • Strengthen social connections– We know that strong, supportive relationships help us manage all kinds of challenges. So, we can view the holidays as a time to reconnect with the positive people in our lives. Accepting help and support from those who care about us can help alleviate stress. Also, volunteering at a local charity on our own or with family can be another way to make connections; helping others often makes us feel better, too.
  • Initiate conversations about the season– It can be helpful to have conversations with our kids about the variety of different holiday traditions our families, friends and others may celebrate. Parents can use this time as an opportunity to discuss how some families may not participate in the same holiday traditions as others. Not everyone needs to be the same. It is important to teach open-mindedness about others and their celebrations.
  • Set expectations– It is helpful to set realistic expectations for gifts and holiday activities. Depending on a child’s age, we can use this opportunity to teach kids about the value of money and responsible spending. We need to remember to pare down our own expectations, too. Instead of trying to take on everything, we need to identify the most important holiday tasks and take small concrete steps to accomplish them.
  • Keep things in perspective– On the whole, the holiday season is short. It helps to maintain a broader context and a longer-term perspective. We can ask ourselves, what’s the worst thing that could happen this holiday? Our greatest fears may not happen and, if they do, we can tap our strengths and the help of others to manage them. There will be time after the holiday season to follow up or do more of things we’ve overlooked or did not have the time to do during the holidays.
  • Take care of yourself– It is important that we pay attention to our own needs and feelings during the holiday season. We can find fun, enjoyable and relaxing activities for ourselves and our families. By keeping our minds and bodies healthy, we are primed to deal with stressful situations when they arise. Consider cutting back television viewing for kids and getting the family out together for fresh air and a winter walk. Physical activity can help us feel better and sleep well, while reducing sedentary time and possible exposure to stress-inducing advertisements.

Stress Management Series- Part 1 of 4

Per request we are publishing the “Stress Management” series published in our monthly column for the Madison Enterprise Recorder.

Part 1

Stress affects us all in different ways.  Some are more resilient to stressors while others are traumatically affected by the smallest of triggers.  According to the American Psychological Association, common symptoms of stress in youth include “feeling nervous or anxious, feeling tired, procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities, feeling overwhelmed, having negative thoughts and experiencing changes in sleeping habits. Problems with concentrating and changes in eating habits (eating too much or too little) are also linked to stress.”

So what can we do to help our youth manage their stressors a little better?  The most important thing adults can do is model healthy coping skills.  Just as everyone is affected by stress differently, each person finds different coping methods more effective than others.  If your child doesn’t benefit from the methods you find useful, don’t add more to their stressors by making them feel that they are doing something “wrong.” Help them seek out positive alternatives and activities.

The APA suggests the following methods for stress management in youth:

Move your body. 

Physical activity is one of the most effective stress busters. That doesn’t mean you have to go for a jog if you hate running. Find activities you enjoy and build them into your routine such as yoga, hiking, biking, skateboarding or walking. The best types of physical activities are those that have a social component. Whether you’re into team sports, or prefer kayaking or rollerblading with a friend or two, you’re more likely to have fun — and keep at it — if you’re being active with friends.

Get enough shut-eye. 

Between homework, activities and hanging with friends, it can be hard to get enough sleep, especially during the school week. Ideally, adolescents should get nine hours a night. Most teens, though, are getting less. According to APA’s Stress in America Survey, teens say they sleep an average of just 7.4 hours on a school night. That’s unfortunate, since sleep is key for both physical and emotional well-being. To maximize your chance of sleeping soundly, cut back on watching TV or engaging in a lot of screen time in the late evening hours. Don’t drink caffeine late in the day and try not to do stimulating activities too close to bedtime.

Strike a balance.

School is important, but it’s not everything. When you plan your week, schedule time to get schoolwork done, but also schedule time to have fun. When it’s time to enjoy yourself, try not to worry about school or homework. Focus on having fun.

Enjoy yourself. 

Besides physical activities, find other hobbies or activities that bring you joy. That might be listening to music, going to the movies or drawing. Make a point to keep doing these things even when you’re stressed and busy.

Let yourself shine. 

Spend some time really thinking about the things you’re good at, and find ways to do more of those things. If you’re a math ace, you might tutor a younger neighbor who’s having trouble with the subject. If you are a spiritual person, you might volunteer at your church. If you’re artistic, take a photography class. Focusing on your strengths will help you keep your stresses in perspective.

Talk through it. 

It’s so much easier to manage stress when you let others lend a hand. Talk to a parent, teacher or other trusted adult. They may be able to help you find new ways to manage stress. Or they may help put you in touch with a psychologist who is trained in helping people make healthy choices and manage stress.