Strong Families, Strong Daughters Blog

Staying Well While We Stay at Home

Advice from Laura O'Neill, Director of Student Wellness

Now more than ever, it is important to care for our bodies, minds, and souls.

In the midst of trying to do work and school from home, it can be easy to become overwhelmed or neglect our physical and mental well-being. And although everyone may be social distancing, the basic human need for contact with others remains. Here are some simple but effective ways to take care of yourself, stay healthy, and build community with friends and family. 
 

Physical 
  • Establish a routine. Now that our days aren’t as structured, it can be easy to stay up late, wake up at different times, and drift around trying to decide what to do next. Doing the same things at the same time each day is key to keeping your life peaceful and ordered. Something as simple as taking a shower each morning provides a few minutes of order and can help start your day on the right note. Be sure to get a full night’s sleep as well. 
  • Drink up that sunshine! Spending time outdoors and getting vitamin D from the sun is a big mood-booster. Be sure to make time each day to get some fresh air and sun. 
  • Get moving! Whether it’s taking a walk, running, or squeezing in a workout, exercise is essential for both physical and mental health. If you’re looking for inspiration and accountability, now could be the time to download one of many fun fitness apps available, like Couch25k. A bonus of exercise? You’ll sleep better at night! 
  • Hydrate. Drinking plenty of water will help with alertness, makes your skin feel good, prevents chapped lips, and leaves your body feeling generally more refreshed and well.
  • Practice mindful breathing. When you’re feeling worried, stressed, or anxious, pause whatever you’re doing and simply take a few big breaths. Hold for a couple seconds, then exhale quickly, as if you’re blowing out birthday candles. This quick and easy exercise will help ground you. 
Mental/Spiritual

  • Surround yourself with beauty. Take a break from reading the headlines and listen to some classical music, read a chapter of a great book, or look at a beautiful piece of art instead. One very simple way to incorporate more beauty into your routine is to light a scented candle while working.
  • Acknowledge that some worry is normal during this time and focus on the things that you can maintain control over. Pay attention to language of the body; when you feel worry and tension, that’s the time to shift yourself, get up and move, pray, do something uplifting, etc. 
  • Take your worry to prayer. When you’re feeling stressed or down, take a few minutes to bring this to the Lord. 
Social
  • Make time for face time! We’re social creatures—talking to others in a live face-to-face conversation is an important part of being human. Intentionally carve out time each day to seek out those personal interactions. Meet with a friend for lunch or have a morning cup of coffee together via Facetime. Host a book club on Zoom. 
  • Look after others. Whether it’s sending a quick text to a lonely friend, praying for each other, or calling a grandparent, there are many small ways we can serve and help each other out during this time. 
  • Start a pen pal program. Letter writing might be old fashioned, but there are few things as satisfying as getting a beautiful letter from a friend in the mail! 
This is a great opportunity to practice living a fully integrated life. Body, mind and soul are all deeply connected. Pay attention to what your body is telling you about how you’re thinking and feeling. Don’t neglect the innate need we all have to see and talk to each other. And remember that there is always someone who cares and is waiting to hear from you! We may be apart physically, but we can still connect in many ways.  

Laura O’Neill holds a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She is a member of the Oakcrest Class of 1996 and serves as the Director of Student Wellness.

Photo credit: Emma Simpson

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