Self-Care During COVID-19

By: Kiana Davis | March 31, 2020 | Health Promotion Programming Graduate Assistant

Well, this was a plot twist if I’ve ever seen one. Our plans for spring and summer have changed drastically, and most students are transitioning to an online learning environment that is unfamiliar. We are all figuring out our new normal. 

My name is Kiana Davis (RSPH ‘21), and I’m a Health Promotion Programming Graduate Assistant for the Office of Health Promotion at Emory. I thought it was important to write an article containing ideas for self-care during this tremendously stressful time. First and foremost, in order to be well, you need to be safe. Here are some resources the OHP team helped me pull together:

  • Emory has set aside a $5 million fund to support students facing financial hardships as a result of COVID-19. Request funding here. 
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−7233
  • RAINN: National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1−800−656−4673
  • Also, don’t forget to check into city and county-wide foodbanks or other social services in your area, if needed.

 To jump off of that, here are my ideas for self-care during COVID-19: 

  1. Advocate for yourself. This one may be easy for some of us and tough for others. Advocating for ourselves means asking for what we need. Reach out for financial, emotional, and social support. If you’re around others, you may have to establish new boundaries around what you’re comfortable with in your home and relationships. As long as it is safe for you to do so, speak up for yourself during these challenging times so others have the opportunity to show up for you. And, really, when we’re advocating for ourselves, we’re also showing up for ourselves in a powerful way.
  2. Social distancing really just means physical distancing. I’ve heard some beautiful stories this week about people Facetiming and calling relatives and friends they haven’t talked to in ages. If you miss your college friends, call them and give them a virtual tour of your room or home. Maybe even meet each other’s families or pets! Even though you can’t physically be near others, check-in with your loved ones virtually. 
  3. Read positive news. The news is very doom and gloom right now (and maybe always is). BUT! There are a few sites that highlight the positive news in the world, such as Positive.News and Good News Network, where you can read about how a man fell in love with a woman from afar during quarantine and sent his number to her with a drone. 
  4. Sleep. One of our Health Educators, Elaine, could talk about the importance of quality sleep for ages. Why? Because it matters that much. Not only does it have an impact on your day but also your lifetime health. Try to sleep around 7-9 hours and try to keep a consistent schedule. Also, the best, most restorative naps last 30 minutes or less.
  5. Get innovative with home workouts. A lot of places are offering free online workouts right now. I’ve seen talk on social media about how dramatic weight loss should not be your goal for the time we’re quarantined. (Thank goodness because I’m on my third box of Cheez-Its.) Instead, think of physical exercise as a way to keep up with your body. We’re not out and about using the muscles that we usually use, so make sure you’re doing at least enough to stay healthy and well. Here are some links to free yoga, HIIT, and bodyweight-only workouts. 
  6. “Stay home” doesn’t mean stay inside 100% of the time. It’s good for your physical and mental well-being to go outside and breathe in fresh air. Spend some time in your yard or in any green space around your home - just keep the recommended 6-foot distance from others.
  7. Clean and de-clutter. This could be a “me” thing, but I feel like the state of my room usually reflects my mental well-being. If my room is cluttered, I'm more anxious and scatterbrained. When I clean my room, I feel like it clears my mind. I want to spend time in my home, and I want to spend time in my own head.

Listen to the advice of health officials, listen to your body (it’ll tell you what it needs), and make sure you’re reaching out for support when you need it. Hopefully, these ideas gave you some new ways to engage in self-care as we collectively navigate uncharted territory.