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Anxiety & Panic Disorders Health Center

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Returning to Normalcy in Times of Stress

Maintaining Everyday Routine Best Way to Get Stress Relief


Nuccitelli says routine and stress relief is especially important now, in light of recent events.

"The war is no longer a video game," he tells WebMD. "There was that feeling until we saw the true violence over the weekend." He strongly advises practicing the mundane -- attending Little League games, family dinners, and other activities that emphasize your reality.

"But be mindful to the fact that trauma can take several months to manifest itself. And since 9-11, we have had near daily doses of media coverage of acts of terrorism and violence that leave our society open to this trauma," he says.

When these acts occur, there is an increase in children misbehaving at school and home, Zager says. So besides doing things to maintain normalcy, like following your family's daily routine, parents and schools should stay mindful of the fact that a child's misbehavior may be a response to seeing this trauma on TV, he says.

Richard Leiby, a Washington Post reporter stationed in the Middle East, even does his part to maintain his state of normalcy. Between writing articles, he provides himself with stress relief by spending the first weekend of spring taking a swim, working out at the gym, and calling his college roommate, saying that the beach in Kuwait City reminds him of that in the sleepy Florida resort town where they both worked afterward.

Things definitely aren't normal in Kuwait, he tells WebMD. "But my advice is the same that I gave my son when I called him last week: Don't watch TV. Take a deep breath and relax. The war is going to happen whether you watch it or not. And you'll probably be better off if you don't."

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