Optimism is not cancelled

In this era of turbulence where alarming news and facts dominate the media and our thoughts, we would like to take a moment to highlight the positive.  

In an effort to facilitate connections and identify relevant wellness and self-care resources, the PSD EDI Office invited members to contribute their thoughts and tips on how they keep up morale. We asked:

What keeps you going during these days? How do you find balance and stay positive?

Emily Padston, Geophysical Sciences

"I've been using meditation to practice being present and kind with myself during these very difficult times. In particular, I've been enjoying the free, daily sanity breaks put together by 10 Percent Happier. It's a great way to re-center and feel connected, and the variety of awesome teachers means I'm always finding something new to appreciate."

Zack Siegel, ETSG

"Aside from the obvious necessity of staying virtually connected with friends and family, it's been helpful for me to focus on being productive during this time. It would be easy to 'ride out the storm' by seeing how much of Netflix I could get through, but I'm in a much better mindset when I'm accomplishing things and getting through a to-do list. In my free time I've bought new cookware and tried new recipes, started making cocktails, organized my finances, done some interior decorating, fixed the stereo in my car, and started organizing Mother's Day plans earlier than ever before, to name a few. There are so many things I've been wanting to do for months or even years, and I'm embracing the extra time to get them done. While I take ample safety precautions and don't forget about the hardships that COVID-19 has placed on so many people, I also try to view these times as an opportunity. My goal is to accomplish as much as possible now so that I can enjoy normalcy to the fullest once it returns, and that has really kept me going.

Also, if you're someone who lives alone and likes animals (as I do), now is a fantastic time to adopt a pet. Having another thing to interact with around the apartment, even if it's just my cat, has been very helpful to minimize the negative effects of isolation."

Katie Flores, UChicago STEM Education

"As I continue sheltering-in-place with my husband and 2- and 8-year-old sons, I am taking time to be grateful for each day that we all wake up healthy. I'm stocking the fridge and recognizing the privilege that allows me to do so. I'm also making space to grieve our old way of life and the activities that I took for granted; working face-to-face with students and their amazing teachers, gathering with friends at our nearby park, and attending Kung Fu classes with my older son. I'm looking forward to new things; family lunches at noon each day, wearing funny hats to amuse my colleagues during Friday Zoom meetings, and celebrating our friends' birthdays via parade. It's a balancing act that leaves me grateful, awed, and exhausted at the end of the day."

Sarah Lippert, Department of Geophysical Sciences

"It's all about the little things! Enjoying a special cup of tea, looking forward to an evening bath, reading a book that's an old favorite, catching up with friends on video calls, anything that gives me a moment during the day where I feel happy and grateful to be healthy and safe. Staying creative in my free time is important to me, so I'm working on a couple of knitting projects, planning a sewing project, gotten out my old coloring books that need to be filled in, even writing letters to friends and family who live far away. For me, it's all about finding a way to stay occupied and keep in touch with my family and friends.

There are going to be good days and bad days as we shelter at home during this crisis. Try to forget the bad days, and remember what made the good days feel special. Try not to be too critical of yourself and what you've accomplished (or not!) during a day. We're all getting through this as best we can, and it's important to give yourself space to breathe and make happy memories."

For more ideas, see our March 2020 Wellness Check-In. 

We welcome your contribution. Fill out this online form.

Connection During Stay At Home: PSD Zoom Chats

With the understanding that virtually commiserating and providing support can make a world of difference, the PSD EDI Staff Committee will also be hosting regular zoom chats for PSD Staff members and invite you to join if your schedule permits. The zoom chats will focus on facilitating conversations around topics of mental and physical well-being in an inclusive safe space to talk about what's on your mind. We look forward to elevating and maintaining a sense of inclusion and connection while we shelter in place. More information on the zoom chats will be shared via uchicago.edu email.