Family members required to stay home can also reconnect

By Jack McCarthy Chronicle Media

Barb Jeffers, executive director, Kane County Health Department, encouraged people confined to homes during the coronavirus crisis to indulge in activities they don’t typically have time for. (Photo by Jack McCarthy / Chronicle Media)

It may be hard to find positive news as the rampaging coronavirus leaves worry, illness and even death in its wake.

But two suburban health professionals say there could be at least one encouraging development as family members reconnect with each other.

“How often are our families all together in one place?” said John Diederich, president/CEO Rush-Copley Medical Center during a March 16 appearance at Aurora City Hall. “Usually we’re in school, we’re at work, we’re running from place-to-place.

“Do things with your family, play board games, read to your kids, just spend time together,” Diederich added. “I think that’s very good for mental health. It’s a good way to bond the family when we’re always running from place to place. This might be a little blessing in disguise.”

Diederich appeared at the gathering called to draw attention to the city’s response to the expanding coronavirus threat.

Barb Jeffers, executive director, Kane County Health Department, was also on hand and encouraged people to indulge in activities they don’t do.

“This is a time for reflection,” Jeffers said. “It’s a chance to spend more time with your family, to do some meditation, to read a little more … listen to music, go outside and get some fresh air.

“These are things that we don’t have time for.”

The Centers for Disease Control website ( includes information on dealing with anxiety and stress sparked by coronavirus worries, including these tips:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.