We’re all facing new challenges as we figure out life during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ideas below can help you take care of your whole self as you figure out your new normal.
Limit COVID-19 news
It’s important to keep updated and informed, but this can be anxiety-provoking and upsetting. Try the following instead:
- Allocate limits on checking the news: maybe once or twice a day, for 10 minutes
- Try to focus your “news time” on information updates and practical guidance around COVID-19
- If you’re worried about missing key news, have a buddy system. Have a buddy update you on important news!
- Look for positive news stories: communities coming together, people making recoveries, something that will bring a smile to your face
Allocate “worry time”
Give yourself 30 minutes a day to worry, then get up and move on to something different.
Focus on what you CAN control
There’s a lot of uncertainty right now. And, this can be overwhelming. Find one thing everyday that you can control, and control this little part of the world. Tidy up your space, have virtual hangouts with friends, cook a delicious meal. Focusing on what we can control will help ground us through uncertainty.
Notice the good
There’s a lot of scary, negative, overwhelming information around the global pandemic.
It’s important to counter-balance our exposure to such information with hope and gratitude for what we still have, so that we can remain positive and keep perspective.
Look for positive news stories: communities coming together, people making recoveries.
Look for something that will bring a smile to your face (e.g., live puppy camera, stand-up comedy,etc.).
Focus on the little pleasures you do have. For example, a warm blanket, a cup of tea, your favorite ice cream. No act that brings you joy is too small to savor, remember or celebrate at this time!
Check out these kindness resources for ideas of things to do and see examples of some of the acts of kindness happening around us.
If you have persistent thoughts such as “people I love might die from this virus,” challenge them with factual statements, such as “most people who get COVID-19 make a full recovery.”
Remind yourself that thinking something doesn’t make it true!
Pay attention to your own needs and feelings and be kind to yourself
Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing.
Have a bath, read that magazine or book you’ve been wanting to get to or put on your favourite playlist. Maybe start an album club with friends! Share your favourites and have them listen to the whole thing!
Make an activity jar: write down different activities you enjoy (e.g., listen to a podcast, painting your nails, having a cup of tea, colouring, etc.) on pieces of paper and put them in a container. When you feel restless, pick an activity and engage in it for at least 15 minutes!
Practice breathing and grounding techniques
- 5-4-3-2-1 technique: List 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.
- Stretches: Take a moment to stretch your fingers, toes, legs and arms slowly. Bend over to touch your toes, and then rise slowly.
- 4-7-8 breath: Breathe in quietly through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale loudly through pursed lips for 8 seconds
- Boxed Breathing: Inhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, repeat.
Remember to keep things in perspective: this, too, shall pass.
- This video outlines a helpful three-step process for managing uncertainty amidst the ever-changing news.
- Psychology Tools offers a free guide with exercises and resources for living with worry and anxiety.
- The Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health has webinars and infosheets to support student mental health and well-being.
Mindfulness and Meditation
- Active Mindfulness runs online mindfulness events, including free yoga and meditation classes.
- Mindfulness yoga is specifically geared toward relieving stress and anxiety in uncertain times.
- Free guided meditations and exercises on self compassion from Dr. Kristin Neff can help calm you.
- Greater Good Science Centre has daily practices for improving emotional well-being.
Physical distancing is important. Staying socially connected is equally important.
Remember that physical (social) distancing is really about keeping apart physically. That means no getting together with anyone other than the people in your house. Now, more than ever, it’s important to maintain social connections by calling or texting the people you care about. Just because you’re physically apart, doesn’t mean you can’t be together!
Stay connected online
There are lots of ways you can stay connected with your friends and loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Check in regularly using social media, phone, e-mail, group chats
- Try WebEx – U of G’s online platform – to hang out with other Gryphons and keep your social connections healthy
- If you need help, just ask. Check out our Mental Health Resources page for ways we can help
Stay connected with us on Instagram!
- University of Guelph – @UofGuelph
- Student Experience – @UofGStudentExp
- Student Wellness Services @Wellness_UofG
- Gryphon Fitness and Recreation – @Gryphons_Fitness
- Experiential Learning – @UofGExp
Make a menu plan for the week
Have fun with this by discussing your plan and sharing ideas with friends. Communicate online through group chat or over e-mail.
Don’t forget to include non-perishable items and essentials in your menu, but also food that you enjoy. Remember, all foods fit!
Use your menu plan as a guide for grocery shopping to avoid picking up things you don’t need. Be flexible by thinking of substitutes or alternatives for ingredients. For example, if there’s no pasta sauce, you try canned or fresh tomatoes!
Incorporate activity throughout your day
Try some of these options:
- 10 jumping jacks/squats/push-ups/sit-ups on the spot
- Need a glass of water? Lunge your way to the kitchen
- On your way to take a shower? High-knee run to the bathroom
- Do the OV boogie (check out @UofGStudentExp on social media)
- Get outside at least once a day, for 30 minutes, if you can. Go for a walk in an open and isolated place (e.g., U of G Arboretum, Guelph Lake). If you’re worried about contact, go early in the morning or late in the evening. If you’re high-risk, open the windows and enjoy fresh air as much as possible!
Online exercise resources
On Instagram, @gryphons_fitness is offering on-demand fitness that is FREE for all students. New videos are added regularly that you can complete whenever you want with little equipment or space! The Athletics Centre is now open with COVID-19 restrictions in place. Learn more about exercising on campus!
Keep up with your regular sleep routine
- Go to bed at a regular time and wake up at a regular time
- Limit caffeine three hours before bed
- Get a good amount of sleep; maybe a little bit more than you usually would during busy periods!
Continue your regular routine and life as much as possible.
Keep your regular sleep, eating, exercise and social routine as much as possible. Modify as needed. For example, if you usually workout at the gym at 5 p.m. on Mondays, continue to do home workouts at 5 p.m. on Mondays instead!
Add new habits
View this time as an opportunity to try something new, or something you’ve been wanting to do! Now’s your time to learn new skills or try a new healthy habit. Set a goal and work towards it. For example, read a book, take an online course, or learn how to cook a new meal. Make your goals specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.