HEALTH

Government shutdown 2013: Stress over furlough can lead to depression, illness

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(CNN) - Between being off the job for an indeterminate about of time and not having a paycheck to rely on until the government reopens, federal workers are under pressure nationwide.

For an already stressed out nation, even more pressure is the last thing most people need.

"It can cause physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, loss of appetite and sleep concerns," psychologist Dr. Gregory Jones says.

Luckily, there are ways to cope. Experts recommend that if you're been furloughed or are off the job, stay with a schedule on a day-to-day basis that includes being active, getting exercise and eating well.

What you shouldn't do, doctors say, is sit around thinking of things that may or may not happen or that are out of your control.

"If you allow yourself to do that, that can lead to heightened levels of anxiety, which can also lead to depression and symptoms of clinical depression," Jones said.

If your stress is over money, experts say that this is a good time to take a hard look at your finances and put together a family budget. That'll help you save money in the event something like this happens again.

Meanwhile, you've still got free time, so doctors say that trying something you've always wanted to do is a good way to stay stimulated during an extended, forced absence from work.

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