Wellness Wednesday: What Does COVID-19 Etiquette Look Like?

(Graphic provided by HPW)

How do I ask someone to step back because they are not standing within 6 ft away from me?

How do I prompt someone to put their mask on?

What if someone ignores the guidelines of wearing a face covering and keeping social distance, what do I say or do then?

These are all good questions to consider and it is something that we must think about especially if we want to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  It is important to create and set your boundaries to keep yourself and others safe. Reflect on what your boundaries are and how you want to enforce them when you are inside and outside of your home. It is also important for us to reflect on how we will respond to someone crossing our boundaries. On Chicago’s NPR News Source, Elaine Swann, a lifestyle & etiquette expert, was interviewed and shared some awesome tips about COVID-19 social etiquette that we want to highlight on today’s Wellness Wednesday post.


(Photo provided by Malaka Gharib/NPR)
  1. Protect Yourself.
  • If you are leaving your home and going out in public, wear your face covering and have your hand sanitizer and/or gloves nearby.
  • If you ask kindly for a person to step 6 feet away from you and/or wear a mask and they do not, protect yourself by turning your face away from that person, stepping away from that person and/or walking in a different direction.
  1. Show mutual consideration.
  • Use the words “we” and “us” when asking or telling someone to step back or wear a face covering. For example, “It is possible if we can put some space between each other while we wait in line?” Showing mutual consideration puts the focus on the concern for safety and health for the individual that you are asking.
  • Scolding, yelling, calling people out and saying things like “step back!” or “get off me” will most likely cause the problem to escalate. If we ask in a kind manner, individuals are likely to be more open to listening respecting our boundaries.
  • Use I-statements for maximum effectiveness and state your needs clearly. This especially effective when communicating with those close to you who care about understanding where you’re coming from. Rather than “you’re being inconsiderate by not wearing a mask,” try saying “I feel unsafe without us both wearing masks; can we both agree to wear one?”


(Photo provided by Malaka Gharib/NPR)
  1. Try not to take it personally.
  • We understand that it can be really frustrating when you see individuals who are not following the health and safety guidelines for the pandemic. Please refrain from policing people’s behaviors, unless your safety is at risk. If you see someone that is not following the pandemic guidelines, take a deep breath and focus on protecting yourself and your family. Keep the focus on adjusting your behavior rather than trying to control others.


(Photo provided by Malaka Gharib/NPR)
  1. Don’t Assume.
  • Do not assume that everyone is following the guidelines. If you get invited to a gathering, ask questions in advance. For example, you can say: “I wear a face covering when I’m around others because I am concerned about everyone’s safety.  Will you be practicing social distancing and wearing a face covering?” After their response, ask yourself if you are comfortable in attending. If not, just reply saying, “thank you for the invitation, but I will not be able to make it.” Refrain from forcing them to change their plans for your comfortability. Make the decisions that is best for yourself and

Take Care DePaul is more than just taking care of the DePaul community, it is about taking care of the people around us. If you find these tips helpful, Take Care DePaul by sharing them with another person.

Take Care, DePaul!

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Mental Health During COVID-19: Your Health Comes First

(Photo provided by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)

Watching the rising rates of the coronavirus in your state, learning about different signs and symptoms of COVID-19, along with hearing about the COVID-19 deaths causes so much worry, stress, fear, and anxiety.

Being in a pandemic is stressful.

Not having a job during a pandemic is also stressful.

Staying home while working at home can be overwhelming.

Hearing or witnessing racial injustice brings tears and frustration.

There are many things that we cannot control, but there are things that we can control. Focusing on what is in our sphere of influence can help lessen our stress. We can do our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home as much as we can, having hand sanitizer nearby, practicing social distancing while wearing a face mask or cloth covering, and by washing our hands frequently. These are all necessary actions that are needed to reduce the spread of COVID-19. While taking these protective actions to care for ourselves and others, we can also take care of our mental health, which is very important, especially during this difficult time.

Unmanaged stress, fear, and anxiety can negatively impact our daily activities. For example, it may lead to disruptions in our sleeping and eating patterns, increased use of substances, difficulty concentrating, worsening of a mental illness or a health condition, and in general adding more stress. Coping during a pandemic is truly important. How do we do that?

First, it is important to be self-aware of your body and your emotions. Be knowledgeable of how your body responds to stress, fear, and/or worry. You may experience more headaches, or you may have a decreased appetite. Everyone responds differently to stress, so it is important to know your body. In addition, it is important to know what you need when your body is responding to stress. You may need more family time and/or more time alone or you may want to try other self-care behaviors like practicing mindfulness— self-care looks different for everyone.

The next thing is to accept yourself–accept all of you. Strive for progression, instead of perfection. Find ways to show care and love for yourself. Celebrate small victories.

Here are some healthy ways to cope provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):


  • Take care of your emotional health.Our emotional injuries are just as important as our physical injuries. Taking care of your emotional health will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and your family. Focus on grounding yourself by trying mindfulness exercises.


  • It is okay to take a break. Zoom calls all day? Insert short breaks in between. Take a break from reading and watching the news. Set digital boundaries and reduce your screen time by engaging in activities that do not involve a screen such as reading a book, cooking, painting, spending time outside.


  • Take care of your physical body.
    • Take deep breaths, stretch, meditate, do yoga
    • Try to eat nutrient-dense, well-balanced meals and stay hydrated
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Know what to do if you are sickContact your medical provider if you are sick and/or get tested for COVID-19 if you may have been exposed to someone who has had COVID-19.


  • Know where and how to get treatment and other support services and resources, including counseling or therapy (in person or through telehealth services).


  • Connect. Although you cannot see your family and friends as often as you like due to the pandemic, you still can connect with them virtually or through sending letters. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. They can keep you accountable as well and you can also tell them what you need from them. You can also join a new safe community, healthy space such as a book club, or the Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC).
    • At HPW, we have the Collegiate Recovery Community which is open to any DePaul student who identifies as being in recovery from substance use, mental health issues, or eating concerns. It is such a great support network, especially during these times. CRC meets virtually on Thursdays from 5 PM -6:15 PM. If you are interested in joining, feel free to contact Katie Bellamy at kbellamy@depaul.edu.


Check out our blog and website for helplines and resources or reach out directly for 1:1 support.  

The Office of Health Promotion & Wellness encourages you to take some time and reflect on the healthy ways to cope listed above. We also want you to take care of yourself first so that you can take care of others. Send this to another Blue Demon to spread the message.


Take Care DePaul!

Wellness Wednesday: Sun Safety


In honor of Black, Indigenous, People of Color Mental Health Awareness Month, this Wellness Wednesday will be catered to people of color because there is a lack of public health promotion and resources for people of color. Today’s focus is on physical wellness because as we know, the many facets of wellness, including physical health, that impact and relate to mental health. 

While Chicago’s summer weather continues to get hotter and hotter, we need to remember to stay safe while being out in the sun. Public health education and interventions that are being promoted today, especially on sun protection behaviors, are only targeting white individuals (Calderon et al., 2019). The Office of Health Promotion and Wellness at DePaul is here to change that and provide a holistic education that is inclusive to all, especially people of color.

It is reported that skin cancer incidence rates are lower for Black/African Americans and Hispanics compared to White people (U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group, 2017). Although it is uncommon for people of color to get skin cancer, BIPOC are often more likely to experience poorer and/or severe outcomes when it comes to skin cancer. Research also states that when people of color get skin cancer, it often appears delayed and at an advanced stage (Calderon et al., 2019).

This is an issue because BIPOC folks already have higher mortality and mortality rates compared to white folks. The causes of this health inequity are undetermined, but further research is being conducted.  We also want to acknowledge that are health inequities that are linked to poor health outcomes (National Academy of Sciences et al., 2017). However, one one-way BIPOC can prevent skin cancer is to engage in sun protection behaviors.

Individuals with darker skin complexions have some type of sun protection because of their melanin, however, they are still prone to developing skin diseases as they get older (Bradford, 2009). Caroline Robinson, M.D., who specializes in alopecia, preventative skin care, and ethnic skin dermatology, states that sun damage on darker skin tones can cause inflammation of the skin which can result in hyperpigmentation and/or acne (Denton-Hurst, 2020).  In conclusion, darker skin complexions need protection too.

Sun exposure is one the leading factors to skin diseases so, below are some sun safety tips for everyone, including BIPOC that the American Academy of Dermatology Association have provided:


  1. Seek shade if possible 
  2. Wear protective clothing
  3. Wear sunscreen that is water-resistant, have broad-spectrum protection, and have a sun protection factor.
    • For BIPOC, wear sunscreen that is SPF of 30 or greater. For white individuals, wear SPF at least 15 or greater.
    • Apply sunscreen to the bare skin 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors
    • When outdoors, reapply sunscreen every two hours and after sweating or after being getting out of a body of water
  1. Stay away from tanning beds and/or sunlamps. They can cause skin cancer due to the harmful UV rays.

As mentioned before, the purpose of this article is to shed a light on the health disparities, bring awareness to mental illnesses, and to stress the need to improve access to mental health treatment within underrepresented communities. Take Care DePaul by sharing this with another Blue Demon.


More Articles to Read:


Take Care DePaul!

Black, Indigenous, People of Color Mental Health Awareness Month

“Once my loved ones accepted the diagnosis, healing began for the entire family, but it took too long. It took years. Can’t we, as a nation, begin to speed up that process? We need a national campaign to destigmatize mental illness, especially one targeted toward African Americans…It’s not shameful to have a mental illness. Get treatment. Recovery is possible.” -Bebe Moore Campbell 

The month of July is Black, Indigenous, People of Color Mental Health Awareness Month (BIPOC MHAM). For this month, we want to honor Bebe Moore Campbell who made this all happen.

Bebe Moore Campbell (1950-2006) was a Black American author, co-founder of NAMI Urban Los Angeles, a national spokesperson, a journalist, teacher, and a mental health advocate who was passionate about learning, researching, and sharing the mental health needs of the Black community and underrepresented communities. At age 56, she passed away due to having brain cancer. To recognize her legacy and honor her, The U.S. House of Representatives designated July as “Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.”

For this month, we also encourage you to participate in the BIPOC MHAM. It serves to shed a light on the health disparities, bring awareness to mental illnesses, and stress the need to improve access to mental health treatment within underrepresented communities, such as Black/African Americans.

For many centuries, BIPOC individuals have experienced trauma in all aspects of their lives. BIPOC individuals are less likely to have access to health services and receive care. There are also more likely to receive poor quality health services and to end health services prematurely.

We must #TakeCareDePaul by working with one another to dismantle systems that perpetuate discrimination, work against health equity, and places blame on BIPOC communities. Learn more at mhanational. org/july.

How Can You Support?

  • Research about the health disparities in Black, Indigenous and POC communities
  • Spread awareness about the health disparities in Black, Indigenous and POC communities with your friends and family
  • Enhance public awareness of mental health and mental illness in BIPOC communities
  • Support BIPOC communities who do not have access to health care
    • Use and/or share Mental Health America’s Tools 2 Thrive, which is located in their toolkit, that serves to help better equip BIPOC communities to address their mental health.

Also, follow @HealthyDePaul and @OMSSdepaul on Instagram for more education and resources for this month.

For additional education and resources, please feel free to check out Mental Health America’s 2020 Campaign for BIPOC MHAM.  #BIPOCmentalhealthmonth

Take Care DePaul!

We Need Love + Healthy Relationships Right Now

If I had to state one thing that I took for granted before this pandemic is hanging out with my friends and family. As an individual who is pretty involved on DePaul’s campus and a high honor roll student, I realized that I put my health first and then school involvement second and then hanging out with my friends’ part last. Now, that I have been quarantined for over 3 months, I have been doing so much reflection on how I can walk out this pandemic as “New Christine”.

Now that I am living back at home with family, I realized how much I missed spending time with them. The other day, I tried to reflect back on the last time I physically hung out with someone (not including work, school, or club activities/events), and to be completely transparent with you it is hard to even recall. But I am not writing this to complain, I am writing here to encourage you to use this time to spend some time with the individuals that you live with during this pandemic.

What are some things to do? I have written and have done plenty.

1. Host weekly check-ins with housemates (Photo by Daria Shevtsova)

Many things are happening in this world and it can be a lot to digest. But I encourage you to check-in with housemates, have one day to just check-in about your feelings and work, school. We need one another especially going through these tough times.

2. Play some board games and/or puzzles together (Photo by cottonbro)

Whip out those old board games and puzzles that are hidden or purchase some games and play with your housemates.

3. Create a book club (Photo by Burst)

Purchase a book that you all are interested in reading and create a book club! Invite other friends and family virtually and meet weekly to reflect on a chapter.

4. Create a YouTube channel together (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio)

Become YouTube famous with your housemates! What are some things that your family can do to virtually to help other families?

5. Get those old instruments out and start a family band (Photo by nappy)

Get musical with your housemates and make some songs with one another. Make an album and/or prepare for a virtual concert. For those who do not have musical talent, I encourage you to teach yourself or take online lessons on how to play an instrument with one another.

6. Have Movie Nights (photo by JESHOOTS.com)

Pop some popcorn and have weekly movie nights with your housemates. Then after you watch the movie, reflect and rate the movie with one another.

7. Download TikTok, make a quarantined themed video and go viral (Google)

Have some fun with your family by making a TikTok video with your family. TikTok enhances your presentation skills, acting skills, and dancing skills!

8. Have zoom, skype, facetime family calls (Photo by Anna Shvets)

Video call some of your family friends and check-in on one another. You can also play some virtual games.

9. Write letters (yes, actual letters with paper and pen) to people outside the home (Photo by bongkarn thanyakij)

Let’s get back to writing letters to our family and friends who live outside the home. Make someone’s day together.

10. Make some baked goods, have a baking contest or a cooking contest or just cook together (Photo by August de Richelieu)

Make a meal together or have a cooking contest. This can teach you how to strengthen your cooking skills but also learn a new recipe. Another idea is to take turns with cooking.

11. Write a play staring your friends or family everyone can perform their part via a video call (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio)

Create something powerful like a movie or a play with one another and then perform it virtually with people outside the home.


The list continues and I bet there are other activities that are not listed that you and your family have done before, that’s great! These are just some things that I do in my home and I wanted to share it with YOU. Why? Because it has helped with strengthening my relationship with my parents and we are getting a lot closer than ever.

Take Care DePaul by sharing it with your friend so that they can have healthy relationships with their housemates. Why does this matter? Because what we need is LOVE right now and love is a required substance to healthy relationships.

I encourage you to get creative and try some of these things so that you can walk out of this COVID-19 with healthy relationships AND newly developed skills and talents. Do not let COVID-19 take you out. Take COVID-19 out together because we are all in this together.


Wellness Wednesday- Mindfulness & Gratitude

What are you grateful for today?

Hey pals, welcome back for another edition of HPW’s Wellness Wednesday series. Today’s theme is mindfulness and gratitude.

Photo provided by Mindful.org

Mindfulness consists of gaining self-awareness and acceptance towards one’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions without judgment. Below are some mindfulness activities that we encourage you to try!

  1. Meditation

Meditation embraces the present moments by training your body and mind to be relaxed. Find a comfortable place to sit, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. Check out The Division of Mission and Ministry’s latest guided Midday Meditation.

  1. Starting the Day with Intentionality

This practice is at best after you wake up in the morning, before starting your work and/or school day and before you check your phone. The first step is to sit up in your bed or sit on a chair with your back straight and close your eyes. Take three long, deep breaths. Then ask yourself “What is my intention for today?” or use these prompts to guide you:

How might I show up today to have the best impact?

What quality of mind do I want to strengthen and develop?

What do I need to take better care of myself?

During difficult moments, how might I be more compassionate to others and myself?

How might I feel more connected and fulfilled?

The next step is to set your intention for the day, make it plan, and write it down.

“Today, I will focus on being kind to and myself”

“Today, I will focus on completing as much as I can until 5:00 PM”

Then throughout your day, check-in with yourself by re0visitng your intention statement.

  1. Five Senses Activity The goal of this exercise is to keep yourself grounded in the present moment by noticing your surroundings.

What are 5 things that you can see?

What are 4 things that you can feel?

What are 3 things you can hear?

What are 2 things you can smell?

What is 1 thing that you can taste?

  1. Mindful Breathing for One Minute.

For one minute, focus on your breathing. Breathe in through your nostrils and out through your mouth. Place your hand on your stomach and notice how your hand gently rises and falls with your breath.

  1. STOP

S: Stand up.  Stand up, close your eyes, and breathe slowly and deeply.

T: Tune in to your body. Notice your bodily sensations, feelings, thoughts, and emotions. Breathe in positivity and breathe out negativity.

O: Observe. Open your eyes, observe your surroundings. Lift your eyes and take in your surroundings. Be grateful for your surroundings and embrace the beauty of it.
P: Possibility. Ask yourself what is possible? What is new? What is your next forward step?

For more mindfulness activities, click here.

The Science of Mindfulness

Research studies show that mindfulness decreases anxiety, reduction in perceived stress, decrease depressive symptoms, and improves on emotional and mental well-being. There is an online program that is called  Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). It is an eight-week evidence-based program that offers mindfulness training to help individuals with their stress, anxiety, depression, and pain.

When engaging in this mindfulness training, MBSR studies show that the left frontal activity of the brain is enhanced which means that the brain is developing resilience. Studies also show that there also an improvement in our immune system when we engage in mindfulness activities. So, our bodies’ ability to fight infection starts to improve when we engage in mindfulness. MBSR studies also show that having mindfulness activities as a part of a treatment plan for individuals who have mental health illnesses, such as drug addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder helps prevent relapse from depression. 


Expressing gratitude is another mindfulness activity. Expressing gratitude is showing thankfulness and appreciation to someone, including yourself.


Here are some ways to practice gratitude:

  1. Praising the Small Victories.

There is success in the small victories too so let us celebrate them. Remember that progress matters, not perfection. You are still winning, even if it is a small win. Claim your victory.

  1. Keep a Gratitude Journal

Photo provided by positivepsychology.com

Daily, write down the things that you are thankful/grateful for. Start writing down “I am thankful for…”. Once you start, it is hard to stop. After you start writing a list then you will recognize the many blessings that you have received.

  1. Writing an Appreciation or a Love Letter to You and/or a Loved One

Sometimes we emotionally and mentally beat ourselves up to more than we show appreciation to ourselves. Today, we encourage you to give yourself some grace by writing an appreciation or a love letter to yourself. We also sometimes forget to show appreciation and love to our family and friends, so we encourage you to take some time to write a love/appreciation letter to them.

  1. Verbally Telling your Loved One What You Appreciate Them For

Tell your friend and/or family friend how much you appreciate them and remind them that you appreciate them.

For more gratitude activities, click here.

The Science of Gratitude

Research studies show that expressing gratitude increases one’s happiness, energy, self-esteem, and strengthens resiliency. Studies also show it decreases chronic pain levels and reduces blood pressure levels. Showing gratitude starts the production of dopamine and serotonin which are our “feel-good neurotransmitters”. Gratitude also stimulates the hypothalamus and the ventral tegmental area. The hypothalamus’ role is to keep the body in homeostasis, which means to make sure everything is balanced. So, this part of the brain regulates stress and the ventral tegmental area is involved in developing and expressing feelings and emotions such as feelings of pleasure.

Also, the more you practice gratitude, the more you train your prefrontal cortex to retain positive thoughts, emotions, and experiences and kick out the negativity.

Remember, mindfulness & gratitude are not about invalidating difficult emotions—it’s about acceptance. 

Click here for the recorded Wellness Wednesday Zoom session.