EMA Care Blog

Our Blog covers recent, relevant and helpful health and healthcare news

Dealing With Stress During Your Year in Israel

Fotolia_58365714_XS


As parents of kids in Israel, it is nerve-wracking enough having your child so far away, much more so when the internet, news, and even the students have continuous reports of terror and violence in Jerusalem and the rest of Israel.

Here is some advice on how to help your child cope with the  stress.  



    1. Safety First. There is no health without safety. If you see something that makes you uncomfortable – LEAVE.  Trust your instincts: The best defense is not to be there.



During Succot, I met a seminary student in Jerusalem who had just seen  a violent protest. Lots of police, lots of screaming.  She was breathing fast, sweating, and understandably shaken.  She also was unable to think clearly and make good decisions because that’s what happens when you are under stress.  She was frozen - didn't know what to do (think deer in headlights). If you always have a plan, always think “If I need to leave quickly, I can walk up THAT block”.  Having a plan, no matter where you are, gives you more control when something IS going on.

    1. Avoid places where attacks have occurred. Attacks seem to be repetitive.  Also, avoid very crowded places at peak hours.  Choose wisely where you want to go and plan alternative routes and destinations in case you are uncomfortable.  Follow instructions of authorities, whether school, police, security.  If you don’t understand the language, ask someone nearby or follow your instincts and walk in the opposite from the trouble spot. Quickly.



3. Watch for signs of stress or anxiety. In our experience (through 2 intifadas, 2 wars, and several mini-wars since living in Israel) these are the most commonly seen symptoms of anxiety and stress during difficult times:       

-Stress responses. Our bodies are wired to cope with small doses of stress using “flight or fight” modes. Chronic stress, or living in a (perceived or real) continuously stressful situation can lead to abnormal reactions in some people.                         

-The “fight” reaction was seen in recent video footage of terror attacks when civilians gathered to watch rescuers, and even picked up umbrellas, sticks, and other items to hit the terrorist with. This is never a good idea.  You aren’t a superhero. Many attackers have more than one weapon, and sticking around or fighting may be dangerous.  

-The “flight” reaction is appropriate, but fleeing from every moving car and flinching with every ambulance siren is a sign that you are too stressed.       

-Abnormal physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety may include: Moodiness, feeling overwhelmed, difficulty relaxing, inability to quiet the thoughts in your head, feeling depressed or low-energy, difficulty focusing, headaches, nausea or diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, fast heart rate, clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth, fidgeting, and appetite changes.  The Mayo Clinic has a great chart on the common effects of stress categorized by body, mood, and behaviors.                  

-Hypervigilance is defined by a popular online medical dictionary as: “abnormally increased arousal, responsiveness to stimuli, and screening of the environment for threat; it is often associated with delusional or paranoid states."



In Israel right now, SOME hypervigilance is healthy: You SHOULD be more alert, you SHOULD be screening your environment for threats.  But we want to avoid paranoid or neurotic behaviors.

When you are safe in your school, your heart should not pound when you hear ambulances or helicopters.  You should not be hypervigilant to the point of thinking someone will attack you at any moment. You should NOT be unable to sleep, learn, eat, and function normally. You should not be continuously scanning your smartphone for news (sound familiar?).


6. Most importantly - If you witness any traumatic event:

- Do not observe: WALK/ RUN AWAY while SHOUTING for help. This is not the time to be shy.  Repeat attacks are possible at the same site within a short period of time.  Newsflash: You are not a paramedic, police officer or soldier.  You are a student. You cannot help and you may get hurt.

-Call your parents – let them know that you are safe. DO not make them more worried than they are.       Speak to your program head or counselor about the event you saw.     

- Ask for professional help if you are not able to recuperate within a day or two. There is no stigma about needing a little help.  Israel has many appropriate, English-speaking professionals who specialize in coping with trauma.  They can help you quickly, sometimes as quickly as one visit.



Parents, if you see these symptoms or feel that your child needs help, you are not alone. EMA Care can assist in providing assessments on the ground and (if needed) referrals to excellent, English speaking professionals who specialize in stress.  We can help liaison with yeshivas and seminaries to accommodate your child’s needs.

In this time of crisis, Dr. Aaron has volunteered to speak to students at yeshivas or seminaries to discuss healthy coping and to conduct a professional support group.  If you are interested in such an event at your child's school, please contact us or forward our contact information to the school.

Dr. Eliana M. Aaron is the director of EMA Care.  Dr. Aaron received a Doctor of Nursing Practice from Yale University and has 20 years of experience in nursing, health advocacy, health education and as a nurse educator.  

Dealing with Stress: A Guide for Parents of Studen...
Health of Yeshiva/ Seminary students in Israel - Q...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://emacare.com/

Our Latest Blogs

24 October 2021
Are you struggling with getting out of quarantine or getting a GREEN PASS? If so, this blog is for you.  You came to Israel to enjoy yourself with your family and thought it would be easy to get out of quarantine, but in the end, you realize it'...
17 October 2021
During the Coronavirus pandemic, many people have been worried about the upcoming Flu season. But to everyone’s surprise, the numbers in the southern hemisphere were the lowest they have been in a long time. “Never in my 40-year career have we ever s...
10 October 2021
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune chronic inflammatory disorder. Many people think that this disease only affects one’s joint - but it can also affect other things such as skin, lungs, heart, and blood vessels. About 40% of Adults have Rheumatoid...

EMA Care in the News

05 September 2021
Medical Care during the Holidays can be tricky in Israel especially if you do not speak Hebrew. During the holidays, many medical offices and hospitals are operating on Shabbat mode. Shabbat mode means that personnel is cut to minimum staffing, many ...
19 July 2021
Over the years, we've been approached by people who've asked us about different kinds of diets and food plans. Intermittent fasting has become very popular over the last few years. It is a method of dieting that restricts the amount of time you are a...
11 July 2021
 Telemedicine is a great option for caring for geriatric populations in Israel. This is especially true during the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the years, we’ve had many clients who care for their older, dependent parents. Take our clients, the A fam...

What Our Clients Say

Our COVID-19 WhatsApp informational group

Thank you so much for your help. I can't tell you how this Whatsapp group helps all of us. It makes everyone so much more relaxed to have real good information and have somewhere to ask questions, I am so grateful!
Read More...

Our COVID-19 WhatsApp informational group

I want to express my appreciation for these very informative updates.

Thank you so much

Read More...

Entry to Israel services

Your team was so attentive to my needs. Everyone was so incredibly quick to respond and were proactive when they were able!

Read More...

Interview with Dr. Mobeen & Dr. Eliana Aaron

Many thanks for your hour-long session on Dr. Syed's YouTube channel. This is the best Hasbara Israel could wish for!

Read More...

EMA Care information and Q&A conference

Thank you for the zoom (and all your updates). It was great. I wish the news was like that. Straight forward, factual, unemotional.  Bravo to both of you ladies!! 

Read More...

EMA Care information and Q&A conference

Thanks so much for your time and attention! It was excellent! Thank you guys so much for organizing.

Read More...

EMA Care information and Q&A conference

Thank you! Very helpful and comprehensive.

Read More...

WhatsApp groups

I really appreciate being apart of your WhatsApp groups. It keeps me informed and up to date!

Read More...

Ema Care WhatsApp groups

I have been following your updates closely and I really appreciate your posts and I know that I am reading accurate information 

Read More...

Recommended by an Infectious Disease Specialist

My experience with Ema Care has been so positive that I wanted to share it in case it could help someone else. Eight days ago my daughter, a Shanah Bet student, called to say she wasn’t feeling well and had symptoms of Covid-19. I was put in touch with an Infectious Disease specialist who recommended Ema Care. I reached Dr. Eliana Aaron easily and signed my daughter up. The next morning, Ema Care gave my daughter a telehealth exam and provided her with prescriptions, as well as a list of

...
Read More...