COVID-19 Wellness Resources
Here are some helpful tips for navigating this time of transition both academically and personally.
Know that we are here to help you succeed and thrive!
Success in Working from Home
Fuel your brain with healthy food and plenty of water. These can improve attention and mood more readily than Coke and Cheetos.
Manage distractions as best you can. Some people work well with background noise. Think about what works for you without being distracting. Apps like Focus@Will can help, or try music without words. Television, video games, and social media are more likely to be distracting.
Set expectations inside your family, especially if many people are staying home together and trying to use the house all together. When will we do chores? Will we eat lunch together? How can we let each other know when we are in “do not disturb” mode?
Move regularly. You could stand up while you work (use or craft a standing desk). Take scheduled movement breaks. Vary your movements, and try walking up and down stairs, jumping on a trampoline, using an exercise bike or treadmill, or using an at-home fitness app.
Be thoughtful about your time. Since we are staying in one place, we can no longer define “work time” and “off time” as easily. Schedule your work hours and resist the temptation to keep working and working. Attempt to avoid blending work with pleasure by keeping work in your workspace and during work hours.
Healthy Thinking during Social Distancing
Review these CDC Recommendations on Managing Anxiety and Stress.
Check out this page: Strake Jesuit Mental Health Resources.
Online counseling is a good solution for people to conducting a clinical therapy session using video or phone as the means of communicating. If you're looking for online counseling in Houston these professionals provide online therapy, Skype therapy and online treatment.
On March 23, every student and parent received an email from their counselors, and from the LRC and ARC as applicable. In that email was each counselor’s best method for contact.
"Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you."
-1 Peter 5:7
Some advice for
Managing your thoughts
Sometimes we can recognize a kind of thinking as unhelpful. Excessive anxiety about things we cannot control might be one example.
Commit to practicing “catch and release” with these thoughts.
- Notice the thought you’re having and identify it as unhelpful.
- Consciously tell yourself “This is something I’m thinking” or feeling, and allow yourself to experience that thought or feeling.
- Quickly, intentionally, thoughtfully release it. Direct your brain towards something positive or neutral. For example, if worried about your work and your energy levels, remember that you are well rested, or that you’re eating right. These are positive affirmations for yourself, and they are within your control.
Check out this video for a little more information and an example.
Fill your mind with things that interest you. The New York Public Library and Audible both have free books right now. Amazon Prime, or Prime Unlimited, or your local library, and the Strake Jesuit library all have e-books available for rental on demand.
Consider using an app that focuses on stress management, therapeutic reflection, prayer, or meditation. There are many examples here. Hallow is an attempt to recreate the peaceful experience of these apps in a particularly Christian context.
Pointers for Parents
Work with your son to establish:
- Boundaries, routines, and expectations
- Physical spaces for his study
- Times for quiet, prayer, and reflection
- Times for exercise and socialization
Define these for yourself as well!
Monitor your son’s school work without feeling the need to hover:
- Begin the day with a supportive check-in asking him what he expects from each of his classes.
- Occasionally ask him what emails he has received and how he has dealt with them.
- Try to actively ask questions about his learning and his assignments — on a regular school day, he talks about those with peers and adults dozens of times.
You do not need to replace his teacher or counselor — communicate with them about what you see if you think they need to know.
Monitor your son’s stress and emotional well-being:
- Talk to him actively about how he’s feeling.
- Listen for changes in his demeanor or behaviors.
- Choose one or two activities as a family that will serve everyone’s wellness.
Engage with your son about avoiding social isolation.
- Help him have opportunities to talk to others, play with others, and so on.
- His default may be to replace face-to-face interactions with texting or social media, but remember that there is a different kind of value in actual face time as best we can achieve that.
Distancing: Not Isolation
“Social distancing does not have to mean social isolation… Connecting with our friends and loved ones, whether by high tech means or through simple phone calls, can help us maintain ties during stressful days and will give us strength to weather this difficult passage.” (NIMH Director Message)
Intentionally engage with others in positive ways to avoid feeling isolated. Putting yourself in a positive state of mind will help your own mood.
Go on walks and greet everyone you pass. Play a game and count one point for all nonverbal reactions (smile, nod) and two points for verbal responses.
Join online communities in your neighborhood (like Facebook or NextDoor) and respond to posts with positive messages.
Video chat (FaceTime, Google Hangouts) with friends and family.
Turn your typical social gatherings into online gatherings. You can use FaceTime to play video games like you’re in the same room, watch the same movies together, and do many other things.
Go on a family or friend “highs and lows” walk. Tell each other your daily moments of gratitude and your daily struggles — sharing both can help lift your mood!
Start playing brainy boardgames like Settlers of Catan or fun games like Heads Up! Take turns picking games each night.
Park your screens in a basket before mealtimes to enhance live face-to-face interaction.
Draw and write encouraging messages on your sidewalk.
Acts of gratitude and productivity help us feel in control and also typically result in positive feelings.
If your family is in a position to be charitable, ask your parents to share their charitable decision-making with you. Discuss how your family chooses charities, and maybe choose some new ones! Discuss whether you might continue paying your regular service providers (like lawn care and housekeepers) even when they cannot work as usual.
Clean out the garage, your closet, or flowerbeds. Pair podcasts or music with difficult or long tasks.
Scan photographs you find around the house, and gift your family with an online picture party.
Schedule specific days to support small businesses like Takeout Tuesday or Frozen Treat Fridays.
Realize some workers are unusually busy and may experience compassion fatigue. Gift them by listening to their concerns, delivering food, and/or giving notes like “keep up the good work,” and “you are appreciated!”
Offer to help your neighbors with household tasks (in ways that are compatible with social distancing).
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Some of this content is inspired by an email from the Tarnow Center.