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Counseling Center

Wellness Resources for Faculty and Staff

In these unprecedented times, the increasing responsibilities have created understandable stress and anxiety. Whether you're taking care of sick family members, live by yourself, are coworking with a partner at home, looking after children or other loved ones, staying at home right now can be difficult as we also try to manage the day to day tasks of our work. It is important to invest your wellness.

You may find some of the wellness practices helpful. Some may be a familiar reminder, while others completely new. Being intentional about a few moments of breathing, laughing, or connecting with someone can be more than enough.

• Maintain a daily routine. To the best of your ability, keep yourself to a schedule, especially when it comes to the beginning and the end of the day. Commit to your routine; Take scheduled breaks; Move to a separate area or go outside; Step away from email and screens when engaged in other activities (i.e. lunch, breaks). If you cannot create physical distance between your work and relaxation spaces, try to create mental or emotional distance. Try to use the space that you would have used for a commute to transition into and out of work.

• Practice Time Management. It can sometimes feel different to "leave work" when you do not have the physical separation of work. Try using the Pomodoro Technique to limit interruption and complete tasks. 

 Move more and move often. Take walks or do some light stretching. Try to incorporate movement in between tasks. 

• Set a sleep schedule. Sleep deprivation has short-term and long-term ramifications, so get rest and sleep. In times of heightened stress, sleep becomes even more crucial. Aim to get around seven-to-eight hours of sleep a night to ensure you have enough energy the following day.

• Connect with others. This one is important and like many of other suggestions, this practice may vary greatly. Engage with others in an intentional manner. Try to connect with coworkers outside of scheduled meetings. Developing community can start simply by listening with intention to ourselves and to others.

• Set boundaries. Paying attention to and communicating our boundaries are critical in having healthy relationships with others and with our work space. Boundaries can be about physical setting, time, and other personal needs. They also involve two steps: being aware of our own boundary needs, and then acknowledging them/articulating them when needed.

• Know when to log off. While staying aware of developments, do not let the COVID-19 chaos and uncertainty govern you. If you find yourself "sucked in" to the events of the day, take a step back to disconnect from technology. You may feel compelled to check the news when you feel uncertain. This might increase feelings of anxiety. Identify a couple reputable sources and designate specific times to check the news.

 Differentiate between what is an emergency, urgent, and important. Though you may receive emails and work notifications at any hour, it's important to develop a habit of setting a time when you officially "log off" for the night. Everything can "feel" like an emergency - especially if you are in a leadership position. You can learn to slow down, using mindfulness techniques, and determine what can and cannot wait. There may be times when you need to respond to work items after hours - when this happens, distinguish between what is urgent and needs to be addressed that night, what is important but can wait until the next work day, and what is important but is not time sensitive (and perhaps can be delegated).

• Challenge your need for absolute certainty. Recognize and appreciate it is rare that we have 100% certainty. Know that there are areas you can influence but there is a lot that is outside of your control right now and you may not know the answers to many questions right now.

• Practice gratitude. Gratitude is simply about pausing in a particular moment, noticing ourselves and our lives and acknowledging what we do have. Start with thinking of two things you're grateful for each day.

• Practice acceptance. Acceptance does not mean we are complacent or okay with a situation. Instead, we shift our focus from how things "should" be to how they are - this allows us to work within our circumstances and the resources at our disposal.

Below are a few resources that you may find useful: 

Leadership, Stress, and the Importance of Self-Care 

The Brain-Changing Benefits of Exercise

Productivity and Happiness Under Sustained Disaster Conditions 

Is Working from Home Your New Normal? Try These 6 Ways to Help you Adjust

Job Burnout: How to Spot It and Take Action