March 24, 2020
We asked our Staff and Student Committees to share some of their strategies on wellness and virtual community building. Here are a few of their thoughts on how to best adapt, manage and stay positive.
Julia Brazas, Staff
“I have begun "My COVID-19 Diary" which keeps track of all the positive things I have noticed about nature, and people coming together and looking after each other. Some examples include voting early and seeing that the election workers had no latex gloves and my husband running home to get some for them. Another was hearing a man say "Thank you for making my drink" to the barista at a Starbucks. Not just thank you, which is so easy to toss off carelessly to someone, but specific to her work and the care she put into it. She beamed! Last, being outside and seeing the shoots of new growth poking through the ground and hearing the calls of sandhill cranes overhead. I should add that I made a silly looking cover for the diary with a big red coronavirus molecule on it.”
Amy Keating, Staff
“I’ve been grateful for extra time with my dog, Bear, which means lots of walks in my neighborhood. Seeing neighbors out and around makes me feel like we’re all in this together. And on a more personal note, I’ve been leaning more than ever into the power of prayer.”
Neli Fanning, Staff
"Planning and managing 'socially distant' walks/runs with neighbors is proving helpful during this time. Being at home with toddlers is helping me be more patient and appreciative of the things that we unconsciously take for granted. While this is indeed a period of adjustment and an exercise in adaptation, I am truly thankful for time spent with those who matter most to me."
Meg Bates, Staff
“I’m running every morning, embracing the opportunity to spend more time with my kids than I usually get, and catching up with friends on Skype more than I was doing before. Also watching lots and lots of Brooklyn99 and Parks&Rec after the kids go to bed.”
Bill Palmieri-Guy, Staff
“I’ll add sticking to my regular workout schedule with Fitness Blender. They offer a huge selection of free workout routines that you can do from home, many with just body weight. I love them!”
Brent Barker, Student
“My normal commute by public transit has me walking 20-25 minutes each way. Without that, working from home, I am starting a "commute" at the beginning and end of the day, where I go outside and walk for 20 minutes or so. I hope that it will help me stay a bit exercised and give a nice transition between work and home. Also, I'm starting up a small exercise routine using walking and jogging using the "Couch 2 5k" app. For virtual community building, my department staff have started a Slack workspace, a virtual community that makes it easy to chat with each other and stay in touch.”
Jake Higgins, Student
“Currently my strategy is to stick to a routine but not be too type-A about it (a challenge). I have a big list of things I could be doing for work and for self and I'm trying to pull from them in a flexible way to stay engaged. I started a new hobby and am trying to run outside every day or so. For community, I am intentionally texting/FaceTiming lots of people, having Zoom meetings, going on walks with them, and trying to keep team-based work sort of alive. Work and not work are blending, but I'm trying to notice that they are still separate.”
Jennifer Smith, Staff
"My son is a college student and will be home for the rest of the semester doing online classes, so I'm appreciating the extra time with him.
Also, having bars and restaurants closed means that I'm spending less money on going out (on a more practical note, haha). I'm cooking more at home, and my boyfriend and I are planning out fancy recipes to cook at home for date nights, instead of going out. That has been unexpectedly nice, and fun!"
Jean Salac, Student
"Here are some strategies & tips I've done to stay sane through the pandemic:
Keep as regular a schedule as possible. Even though I'm working from home, I still wake up at the same time every morning & follow my routine (walk the dog, exercise, breakfast before starting work).
Give yourself time to adjust to the new normal. Don't beat yourself up if you're not as productive as you would be if you could go to work.
Be conscious of how you're consuming media & how it makes you feel. It's very easy to feel overwhelmed with how quickly the situation is changing. For example, I noticed that I was anxiously scrolling through academic Twitter for the first week of work from home. I realized that it was making more anxious than informed, so I made an effort to revert back to my usual way of getting the news.
Set up times to video call your family & friends, maybe do a virtual movie night or simply call while having a meal.
Go outside & get some fresh air to avoid cabin fever (while keeping 6 feet from the nearest person of course!)”