Advice for this Trying Time
We are living through a unique and complicated time, where even the experts are not able to give us definitive answers about the novel coronavirus virus (COVID-19) and its implications for our lives. It is very unsettling for all of us as we adjust to this new world, especially when the “rules” change every day, sometimes every hour.
Please remember that the epidemiologists have a lot of experience with pandemics based on studying previous new diseases and are asking us to respond to changes as they gain more knowledge of COVID-19 and its behavior. One reason that the messaging is changing is that we are trying to respond to this new knowledge in ways that will constrain the spread of the virus and protect everyone, especially the highly vulnerable groups. You can find preventive measures and regularly updated information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website to help you stay healthy and protect others.
However, there is a lot more you can do to feel good about yourself and the people in your life: your family, your friends, and your colleagues. All of us are feeling the same stress, and concerns and we all can use the support from a friend, relative, or mentor to navigate through this extremely difficult period of adjustment. We need to make sure that being physically isolated is not equated with being alone!
- Stay connected with family, friends, and colleagues. Technology, such as FaceTime, Zoom, Instagram, Skype, and cell phones, allows you to see and hear each other, share common experiences, and memorialize events through shared photos and videos.
- Plan to connect regularly with people, individually or in groups.
- Share a meal via videoconference: you can still have a nice lunch or dinner conversation even across the country.
- Organize your family and friends to read the same book or see the same movie, then meet to talk about it.
- Stay informed, but don’t focus solely on the pandemic. Find ways to stay cheerful.
- Find something funny and share it with a friend. There is nothing better than sharing a good laugh to lift everyone’s spirits.
- Take a walk or run outside as the weather warms, just keep a safe distance from others.
- Set up a place to work and build your schedule around that work, the way you normally would:
- Get out of bed and get dressed right away, so your normal routine is kept up.
- Dress up a little so you feel like you are going to work and not just planning to lounge around the house.
- Designate a time to eat, time to exercise, and time to focus on learning something new.
- Remember that others are also stressed and may react more abruptly than usual. Be understanding, and be reassuring, to yourself and others—we will get through this together.
- If you need medical help, call ahead, whether to your doctor’s office, urgent care center or emergency room, then follow their instructions.
- Remember to take a few minutes every day to check on yourself and those closest to you. Comforting others takes your mind off your own troubles and can make you feel better, too. As the song lyric from the King and I notes,
Make believe you're brave
And the trick will take you far
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are
I wish you all good health and want to thank you for all you do for the Dyson community of faculty, students, staff, and alumni.
Nira Herrmann, PhD
Dean, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences