Self-care in the time of COVID-19

Thursday, May 7, 2020

by Rebecca Schupp

Weeks into this COVID-19 lockdown, students are finding ways to deal with the stress, anxiety and depression that have come with the shelter-in-place orders. While creating videos on TikTok or binge-watching “Tiger King” on Netflix all day long seems tempting, it shouldn’t be the “new normal.”

Here are a few tips on how to continue to be safe and healthy until the storm has passed:

1. Create a schedule... and stick to it - Having a routine is key in this situation. Set a schedule with time for exercise, work/classes, food, etc. For example, here is how I structure my day - maybe it will help you do the same:

   o 6:30 a.m. - Morning run

   o 8 a.m. - Breakfast

   o 9 a.m. - Work/classes/homework

   o 12 p.m. - Lunch

   o 1 p.m. - Work/Classes/Homework

   o 4 p.m. - Afternoon walk

   o 6 p.m. - Dinner

   o 7 p.m. - Connect with friends or family via video call

   o 8 p.m. - Yoga/Netflix/video games/really anything goes :-)

2. Move your body - “Your mind and body are intimately connected,” Srini Pillay, M.D., wrote in an article in Harvard Health Publishing. And while your brain is the master control system for your body’s movement, the way you move can also affect the way you think and feel.” In short, moving is essential for mental health. You don’t have to hit the spinning bike or go for mile-long runs, but make sure to leave the house for at least one hour per day to walk around (while practicing social distancing, of course).

3. Stay connected - Don’t underestimate the power of community. Checking in daily with friends and family (biological or chosen) will help you get through this. Whether it is via Facetime, Zoom, Webex, or Houseparty, setting a time in the day to connect is crucial. Here are a few things you can do:

   o Watch a movie together: 9 apps to watch movies online with friends

   o Have a happy hour: 13 easy cocktail recipes for the quarantined OR try one of 23 Delicious Mocktails

   o Have a game night: games to play with your family online

4. Explore new hobbies - Think about the wonderland of things you can do in the magical place called home. A lot of people have taken up baking bread, but with a shortage of yeast, here are a few other things you can do/learn while quarantined:

   o Tie-dye a sweat suit - all you need is a white sweat suit, a tie-dye set from Amazon and a YouTube tutorial.

   o Bake banana bread

   o Maker a sourdough starter - no yeast required

   o Make whipped coffee - you’ll need instant coffee, sugar and milk, hot water

   o Learn a new language - Check out Duolingo and Babbel, free language apps.

5. Learn a new journalism skill - Use the time in isolation to build on the skills you already have (e.g. getting to know your camera equipment better) or learn a completely new skill:

   o Through May 31, Poynter’s NewsU has dropped tuition for all webinars and self-directed courses. If you are a college educator or student, use coupon code

       20COLLEGE100 at checkout.    

   o Take advantage of free online learning at with an SF Public Library Card.

Hopefully, these tips will make your time in self-isolation a little easier - and if you’re still bored, you can always become TikTok famous.

Stay safe, stay healthy.