April 1, 2020

SELF-CARE tips to support a sense of normalcy and calm

UF’s Center for OCD, Anxiety and Related Disorders at the University of Florida shares eight “SELF-CARE” tips on how to take care of yourself and your loved ones during the pandemic, with links to resources to help you survive and thrive. For additional resources, please visit the UF Department of Psychiatry’s COVID-19 Resources webpage.

Sip, don’t gulp, the news. The media are on a minute-by-minute, 24-hour news cycle, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be. Check or listen to the news once a day (or twice, at most). That is enough to stay informed. Repeatedly checking the latest infection numbers, or what is (or isn’t) being done to control the spread of the coronavirus will only fuel anxiety and feelings of powerlessness. The CDC and Florida Department of Health are your best bets for accurate and up-to-date information.

Exercise. Walk, run, dance, do tai chi or practice yoga. Exercise not only keeps your body in shape and your cardiovascular system strong. It also generates endorphins, which can help boost your mood and decrease anxiety. Walk in the neighborhood or run in a state park. Dance or do yoga in your living room. Aim for 30 minutes a day whenever possible.

Lean in. Taking action can help minimize feelings of helplessness and powerlessness. Do what you can during this pandemic to help someone else. Don’t be a hero, just reach out. If you are young and healthy, offer to grocery shop for someone who is older or more vulnerable. Smile at someone on your walks around the neighborhood. Buy takeout from the local neighborhood restaurant to keep them in business. Don’t forget that small actions add up to have a big impact. By the same token, if you need help, don’t feel shy about asking for it. Many people want to help, but don’t know who needs help or how they can help.

Have Fun. Watch a movie, read a book, play a game or do a puzzle.  Dance, sing, tell jokes, listen to music and play with your family. Laughter and joy are essential parts of life. They may feel hard to access right now, so you may have to reach for them. Make fun a regular part of your routine.

Connect. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), we should all be practicing physical distancing rather than social distancing.That means that while we need to stay physically six feet away from people outside our own households, we can (and should) continue to connect with them. Hug your kids, spouse and other members of your household. If your loved one is self-isolating or quarantined, be emotionally supportive, but be safe. Smile at and chat with your neighbors, call or video chat with your loved ones, email or text your friends. Everything from book clubs to singing groups to tap dancing classes are happening using social media and other online methods right now. Join or create one yourself.

Attend to your basic needs. Sleepeat, work, and play as normally as possible. Getting enough sleep is critical for both physical and emotional well-being. Many of us are finding it difficult to sleep because of increased anxiety, decreased movement and disrupted routines. Healthy eating is also disrupted in times of stress. Try your best to stay on your normal sleep and meal schedules. If you are having trouble falling asleep, try some relaxation exercises before bed. Eat your veggies, stay hydrated and minimize sweets.

Keep to your Routine as much as possible. Everyone’s lives feel turned upside down right now. Schools are closed, many people are working from home, while others are pulling double and even triple shifts to keep up with demand. Do your best to create a new routine in the context of whatever the COVID pandemic has thrown at you, and stick with it as best you can. It is particularly important to keep the small rituals and traditions that you may not even think about on a normal day. Sit down and eat dinner with your family. Take some time to wind down with a book before bed. Keep a regular bedtime and wake-up time. Dress for work; don’t stay in your pajamas (even if you are working remotely). Set schedules that mimic the school day for school-aged children as much as possible.

Evaluate your risk accurately.  As with other flu-like illnesses, the majority of people who contract the coronavirus will have mild to moderate symptoms—severe illness and death are not the norm. Most of us, if and when we get exposed, will feel like we have the flu. That said, this is a more serious illness than the standard flu, and more people will need hospitalization. Therefore, there are specific risk groups we do need to protect. These include older folks, those with chronic cardiovascular, immune-mediated, or pulmonary illnesses. The idea behind physical distancing and closing schools and businesses is to slow the spread in the general population so that the health system is not overwhelmed, and to protect our most vulnerable citizens from exposure. This is the “flatten the curve” model.

Latest updates

Census DayIt’s National Census Day!
Taking the Census is fast and easy, and you can do it online at my2020census.gov/. All University of Florida students, faculty and staff who have not yet completed the Census are invited to take a few minutes between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. today to complete their Census form online. Time taken to complete the census during your workday may be considered time worked for UF employees. For more information and to join in today’s event, please visit the Facebook page.

Remote teaching and work support

remote workingNavigating the unprecedented: Working remotely unexpectedly
When disaster strikes and fundamental changes to your work environment happen, maintaining the expectations of your job while transitioning your day-to-day responsibilities to remote work can present unique challenges. UF Agricultural Education and Communication faculty Megan Stein and Matthew Sowick share some best practices for your well-being and productivity in this article, courtesy of IFAS Extension.

Updated services and hours

Hitchcock Field and Fork PantryHitchcock Field & Fork Pantry
The Pantry’s Wednesday hours have changed to 3 to 6 p.m. Please be aware of this change when planning your Pantry visits moving forward and help spread the word. For more information, please visit the Pantry website.


Health DonationsMore departments step up to donate to UF Health caregivers on the front lines
Researchers in the Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology have donated gloves, face masks, N95 respirators, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer to UF Health. Interested in cotnributing PPE? Visit the UF Health Coronavirus website to learn how your department can help.

Worklife and wellness resources

WebinarUF HealthStreet
The UF HealthStreet COVID-19 resource page provides a mind-boggling wealth of local and online resources, seminars, news articles and activities for children. Be sure to scroll all the way through the page to discover area grocery and restaurant delivery services, pharmacy information, online exercise classes and much more.

You can also view the most recent One Health Seminars on COVID-19. The presenters, Dr. Sonja Rasmussen, professor of pediatrics and epidemiology, and Dr. Ilaria Capua, professor and director of the One Health Center of Excellence, have years of experience; in fact, Dr. Rasmussen is the former CDC Director of Public Health Preparedness. Join them for their upcoming webinar on April 6 at 3:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Thank you, UF HealthStreet, for all you are doing to support our community!

Medical Supplies Donation Drive

uf health donation drive