Self-Care: Honoring Your Health and Wellbeing During this Challenging Time

In the past few months, the world has been altered in ways we couldn't have imagined by COVID-19. We recognize that members of our community, both in Providence and across the world, continue to need support. While COVID-19 continues to shape our daily lives, our community, especially our Black/African American community members in the US, are being further impacted by recent acts of racism and violence, the most recent in a legacy of structural racism. 

The Student Support Services team remains committed to helping students through these difficult and vulnerable times.  However, we know that self-care is all the more important as well. 

None of us is very good at managing extended periods of isolation, social separation or drastic changes in routine. Most of us have had little in our lives to help us prepare for or develop skills at managing situations such as this. We know that in very basic ways, our emotions, our mood and even our subjective sense of who we are, are very much connected to our social and relational communities and contexts.

In addition, we recognize that both present circumstances and a long history of systemic racism and violence, especially anti-Black racism, are effecting many in our community and that this trauma has both short and long term impacts. 

With these factors in mind, we would like to offer some thoughts and considerations should you be struggling during this period.

  1. Resist the impulse to criticize yourself for any struggles you may be having in dealing with these difficult times. We all deserve and have a right to being treated with dignity, respect and equity. We are all human and we have a need to be connected to others in order to feel most ourselves. 
  2. Maintain connections with people you care about by phone or video chats. Consider scheduling regular Zoom gatherings with friends, a virtual study group or a "library" space to study together in this way. For those wishing to engage in direct action, connecting with others around this can be empowering. It is equally important to have times to decompress, times to process and reflect, and times to act.
  3. Reach out to others you think might be struggling, even if you don’t know them very well. Consult with Student Support Services if you feel we can help.
  4. Maintain adequate structure in your life as much as possible. Create alternative structures to address the unique circumstances you are dealing with. We are all “held” in place by the rituals and routines we maintain.
  5. Stick to a consistent sleep/wake routine.
  6. Avoid activities that break your structure such as binge streaming media or video games or allowing yourself to get lost in chasing down the latest news. If you find yourself stuck in these activities, stop and reset your structure. If you do intentionally choose to engage in these activities, set a timer.
  7. Nourish your body and your brain with healthy, regular meals, avoiding junk food as much as possible.
  8. Find ways to maintain regular exercise (walking outside is still okay).
  9. Minimize or eliminate the use of alcohol (a depressant) and/or other substances.
  10. When seeking information, look for factual, reliable, accurate sources. Limit your exposure to unhelpful social media as much as possible.
  11. Give yourself space to focus on studies, learn new things, take an online yoga/exercise class, engage in meditation or breathing exercises, create art, listen to or play music, or read a book for fun. Don’t be afraid of periods of boredom.
  12. Take multiple daily breaks from all screens.
  13. If you have been in psychotherapy while in Providence, ask your therapist about options for online care during this crisis.
  14. Reach out to various Brown resources even if you are currently off campus, such as CAPS/SEAS/Academic Deans/Identity Centers/BWell/Chaplains Office.
  15. Reach out to your dean at Student Support Services.  To schedule a Zoom or phone appointment please call 401-863-3145 between 8:30 am-5:00 pm EDT M-F. You can also send an email to your dean or to [email protected].
  16. And last but not least, be kind to yourself. In the face of all of this disruption, we can only do the best we can do at any given time, which of course will vary depending on all the other things we are managing.