Honoring Black History Month

Honoring Black History Month

To say that the last few months have been historical is an understatement. They will be forever remembered in American history and particularly for Black Americans. We’ve seen our first ever elected Black woman as Vice President, Kamala Harris and our first ever elected Black senator Rev. Raphael Warnock who is also the first Black Democrat to represent a southern state.

But, we have also seen the disproportionate effect of Black Americans experiencing death, job loss, continued police brutality and race-fueled attacks. As Black history month kicks off, there won’t be opportunities to collectively gather in one space but there are many ways to do this virtually, personally and within your own social circles. This month, think about the ways that you can honor, respect and support Black lives not just during this month but every day.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Read about Black History Month: There are many great resources on the internet but consider filtering your search to read specifically from the point of view of a Black person
  • Pick a book about racism, discrimination and other systems of oppression. Much of these issues stem from anti-Blackness culture.
  • Engage in respectful dialogue with active listening about the experiences of Black people and ask questions.
  • As you read articles, statistics and headlines, question everything including who is writing that piece from that perspective.
  • Ask yourself how you can support and respect Black communities more than you are doing right now

Get involved at Depaul by learning more about the Black Cultural Center here.

Also, Sankofa the Black Student Formation Program will be highlighting different aspects of the Black community / Black culture with various staff/faculty and organizations. Follow this campaign with #BlackisSankofa to learn more. You can find them on social media on Instagram @depaulsankofa, facebook.com/sankofadepaul and Twitter @sankofadpu.

Wellness Guide to Surviving the Holidays

The holidays can be a wonderful time of year for many but it can also be a time of sadness, grief and overwhelm. Traditionally, the holidays are a time to spend with family and loved ones. But, keep in mind we don’t all come from traditional families and not everyone has a family who understands and accepts who they are. This year especially, the holidays will look different for many as some of us decide to avoid traveling and large gatherings.

For those of us that are close with our families, I’m sure we can also empathize with those times where we’ve had our differences and where there might be strain and anxiety even with those that we love dearly. And for anyone who has lost someone close to them, the holidays are a time where we think fondly of those we miss and wish for them to be with us again. Additionally, for those that experience a mental illness or any mental health challenges, the holidays can surely be a time of overwhelm and anxiety inducing. This is a guide for everyone to remind you that no matter how you celebrate the holidays this season, remember to make time for yourself every day.


  1. Create a plan or schedule

Do you have to buy presents, plan the holiday meals, bake cookies, decorate, etc.? As with any project, create a timeline of when and how you will get everything done. This not only ensures that you won’t forget to do something but it also allows you to focus on the list in front of you and not the list swirling around in your head. Make sure to share this list with others and divvy up the responsibilities. Maybe make others the lead of some tasks so you don’t have to lead everything.

Image Courtesy of Eighteen 25


  1. Decide what you will and won’t discuss with others

Brené Brown says “We share with people who’ve earned the right to hear our story.” You get to choose who you want to tell and share your story with. Don’t feel obligated to share everything, only share what you want to share with others. If they pressure you, you can say something like: “I don’t want to share this, please respect my privacy and choice.”

Marble Jar Friends | Marble jar, Brene brown daring greatly, The gift of imperfection
Image Courtesy of Brené  Brown


  1. Reflect on what the holiday season means to you

Whether you have an identified spiritual practice or not, the holidays have some sort of meaning for all of us and we can surely identify happy and sad emotions with the season. Think about this year and what you want to focus on as you move through the holiday season. Decide how you will celebrate and remember this year. We have less than a month left of this very challenging year, ask yourself ‘what emotions do I want to feel and what experiences do I want to have?’

56386-pause-and-reflect-quotes - Wisdom-Trek ©
Image Courtesy of Wisdom Trek


  1. Identify your own needs

We all have daily basic needs as well as other unique needs that help us thrive and feel secure and happy. What do you need to feel secure and happy and to thrive this holiday season? Whatever it is, write it down and remind yourself of those needs every day. If you need to share them with others, do that too!

Types of Self-Care You Need to Know - Blessing Manifesting
Image Courtesy of Blessing Manifesting


  1. Give yourself what you need

After you have identified what you need to thrive, feel satisfied, secure and happy, — Give that to yourself every day.

We can’t get through each day without adequate rest, food, water and shelter. These basic needs many of us take for granted but we also forget to give them to ourselves quite often. Slow down and notice what you’re eating and drinking, take in your surroundings and ground yourself to the present. The holidays will be over before we know it, so identify what you need and make sure to give it to yourself every day. It’s not selfish but essential!!

Give yourself the same care & attention that you give to others and watch yourself bloom. #fresh_essay #attention #b… | Words quotes, Care quotes, Positive quotes
Image Courtesy of Pinterest


  1. Create an escape plan

Knowing your boundaries and understanding what is and is not acceptable will help you voice your needs and maintain your own balance. What will you do if you are pushed to your tipping point? How will you know when you’ve reached this point? Create a plan that includes how you might know when you get to this point and who you will call for help and support. And lastly, how you will recuperate and restore yourself.

Without a Plan, You Do What's Passive and Easy | by Thomas Oppong | Better Marketing | Medium
Image Courtesy of Medium


  1. Practice kindness and gratitude

Whether it’s giving it to yourself every day and/or to others. We can all use more kindness and gratitude. Take a deep breath and share what you are most grateful for and spread that kindness forward each day. Consider adding some deep breathing and mindfulness meditation to your days too! Here’s an introductory video to get you started.

Seven Ways to Cultivate Gratitude — Mindsoother Therapy Center
Image Courtesy of MindSoother Therapy Center


  1. Find Joy

Challenge yourself to find the joy in each day. Whether that’s a smile, a laugh or even a cry. There is joy to be found everywhere. Sometimes we just have to reframe our vision and sometimes we will find it in unexpected ways.

Arlington Animal Services Home 4 the Holidays Event: Dec. 5, 2015 - City of Arlington
Image Courtesy of Arlington Animal Services


The holidays are never easy, but if we take care of ourselves first and then others, it will be much more manageable.


Wishing you a very healthy, safe and joyous holiday season.

Take Care of yourself, Take Care of Each Other, Take Care DePaul







How to Help Someone with Anxiety or Depression During COVID-19

How to Help Someone with Anxiety or Depression During COVID-19

Article Posted on Mental Health First Aid By Rubina Kapil on March 20, 2020


 If you or someone you care about feels overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety, or like you want to harm yourself or others call 911.

You can also contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text MHFA to 741741 to talk to a Crisis Text Line counselor.


Feeling anxiety or depression is a common reaction in times of uncertainty or when there’s a perception of danger, and the COVID-19 situation certainly qualifies as such a time. This is something new and worrying that we are all facing together.

That’s why we encourage you to use tips from Mental Health First Aid to support those around you who might be feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or depressed. With these tips, you can #BeTheDifference for your loved ones while physical distancing and help them through this challenging time.

Use these tips from the MHFA curriculum to help someone with anxiety or depression during COVID-19:

  1. Assess for risk of suicide or harm.Identify if they’re experiencing a crisis such as a panic attack or suicidal thoughts, and address that first. It’s OK to do the assessment over the phone, text or social media. If the person’s life is in immediate danger, call 911.
  2. Listen nonjudgmentally.If the person isn’t in a crisis, ask how they’re feeling and how long they’ve been feeling that way. Pay attention and show you care.
  3. Give reassurance and information. Your support can have a huge impact on the person. Reassure them that it is appropriate to experience fear, sadness or anxiety during situations like this. Remind them that help is available, and you’ll be there for them along the way.
  4. Encourage appropriate professional help. Offer to help them find a professional for support, such as a primary care physician, mental health professional, psychiatrist or certified peer specialist. Behavioral health care providers can provide services by phone and/or secure videoconferencing, so they will be able to maintain physical distancing.
  5. Encourage self-help and other support strategies. Self-help strategies and reaching out for support from family, friends, faith communities and others who have experienced depression or anxiety (peer supporters) can make a difference.

There are other self-care strategies that can help manage symptoms of anxiety or depression, as well as self-care strategies that can help you manage your own mental health during this time. We encourage you to take a few minutes every day to focus on your mental health needs, connect with loved ones, and find support using technology. Thank you for choosing to #BeTheDifference with Mental Health First Aid.

How Do I Know Someone is Experiencing Anxiety or Depression?

How Do I Know Someone is Experiencing Anxiety or Depression?

Article posted by Mental Health First Aid By Rubina Kapil on March 20, 2020


If you or someone you care about feels overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety, or like you want to harm yourself or others call 911.

You can also contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text MHFA to 741741 to talk to a Crisis Text Line counselor.


We know that these days of COVID-19 are difficult and can bring feelings of anxiety or depression. Practicing physical distancing from your loved ones, hearing constantly changing news on every channel, and not knowing what will happen is scary.

That’s why it is important that you use information from the Mental Health First Aid curriculum to not only take care of your own mental health, but also support those around you who might be experiencing anxiety or depression. When people describe their anxiety, they may use terms such as anxious, stressed, freaking out, panicky, wound upnervouson edgeworriedtenseoverwhelmed or hassled.

Anxiety can vary in severity from mild uneasiness to a terrifying panic attack. Anxiety can also vary in how long it lasts — from a few moments to many years.

Although everyday anxiety is an unpleasant state, it can be quite useful in helping a person avoid dangerous situations and motivating them to solve everyday problems. An anxiety disorder differs from everyday anxiety in the following ways:

  1. It is more severe.
  2. It is persistent.
  3. It interferes with the person’s activities, studies, and family and social relationships.
  4. If not treated, it continues to cause real pain and distress, and it can lead to poor academic performance, impaired social functioning and other negative outcomes.

Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of physical and emotional problems, such as irritability. A person’s pain may be invisible to you while it is still interfering with functioning.

If you or someone you know is experiencing intense worry or sadness about current or future events, and it is disrupting their ability to cope with everyday life, there is support available.

There are self-help strategies and treatments that can be effective with anxiety or depression. There are also behavioral health care providers who can provide services by phone and/or secure videoconferencing, so they will be able to maintain physical distancing. If you don’t know where to start, reach out to your primary care physician.

Thank you for choosing to #BeTheDifference with Mental Health First Aid. Together, we can get through this difficult time and support our loved ones along the way.

How to Support a Loved One Going Through a Tough Time During COVID-19

How to Support a Loved One Going Through a Tough Time During COVID-19

Article Posted on Mental Health First Aid By Rubina Kapil on March 20, 2020


If you or someone you care about feels overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety, or like you want to harm yourself or others call 911.

You can also contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text MHFA to 741741 to talk to a Crisis Text Line counselor.


Isolation from friends and family, job loss and death are challenges we’re all facing during these days of COVID-19. You are not alone. COVID-19 is affecting families across the world. We encourage you to stay connected with your loved ones while practicing physical distancing. It’s important that you support one other during this difficult time, especially if your loved one may be facing a mental health concern.

Use tips from the MHFA curriculum to reach out to someone who might need you.

  1. Treat the person with respect and dignity. Listen nonjudgmentally, and respect the person’s privacy and confidentiality.
  2. Offer consistent emotional support and understanding. In difficult times, we all need additional love and understanding. Remember to be empathetic, compassionate and patient.
  3. Have realistic expectationsAccept the person as they are. Tough times can make it harder than usual to do everyday activities like cleaning the house, paying bills or feeding the dog. Be gentle with your loved ones.
  4. Give the person hopeRemind your loved one that with time and treatment, they will feel better and there is hope for a more positive future.
  5. Provide practical help. Offer help with overwhelming tasks, but be careful not to take over or encourage dependency. For example, offer to bring groceries over.
  6. Offer information. Provide information and resources for additional support, including self-help strategies and professional help.

Several tips for what not to do are:

  1. Avoid telling someone to “snap out of it” or to “get over it.”
  2. Avoid adopting an overinvolved or overprotective attitude toward someone who is depressed.
  3. Avoid using a patronizing tone of voice or a facial expression that shows an extreme look of concern.
  4. Avoid ignoring, disagreeing with or dismissing the person’s feelings by attempting to say something positive like, “You don’t seem that bad to me.”

Many health professionals believe self-help strategies can be helpful when you’re feeling depressed or anxious. It is a good idea to discuss the appropriateness of specific strategies with a mental health professional. Some strategies include:

  1. Self-help books based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).Researchers have sought to develop a CBT-based guided self-help intervention that may prove useful for adults with intellectual disability in addition to depression or other mental health challenges for which CBT has been shown to be helpful.
  2. Computerized therapy.Self-help treatment programs delivered over the internet or on a computer; some are available free of charge.
  3. Relaxation training.Teaching a person to relax voluntarily by tensing and relaxing muscle groups; some programs are available for free online.
  4. Complementary therapies. Scientific studies of complementary therapies such as acupuncture, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, exercise and dietary supplements have shown that these therapies do make a difference for depression.

If you’re still not sure what to do, reach out to your primary care physician. This person can help you with determining the best next steps for mental health support strategies, resources or treatments. Thank you for choosing to #BeTheDifference for yourself and your loved ones during this difficult time.




How to Care for Yourself While Practicing Physical Distancing

How to Care for Yourself While Practicing Physical Distancing

Article Posted on Mental Health First Aid By Rubina Kapil on March 20, 2020


If you or someone you care about feels overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety, or like you want to harm yourself or others call 911.

You can also contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) to 741741 to talk to a Crisis Text Line counselor.


This is a stressful time for many. With the government and media sharing updates throughout the day and the fear of the unknown, it is understandable to feel overwhelmed, stressed and anxious. You are not alone. Millions of people across the country are facing the same worries and challenges that you are. During this time, it is important to remember that it’s OK to not be OK. It’s also important to take care of your mental health. While practicing physical distancing, there are easy self-care strategies that can help reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, or prevent anxiety before it even starts.

Use these tips from the MHFA curriculum to take care of your mental health while practicing physical distancing.

  1. Eat healthfully — Choose foods that help you feel energized and reduce your consumption of alcohol and other foods that make you feel tired or unwell.
  2. Exercise — Reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, whether we’re working out at home or taking a solo jog around the neighborhood; add in movement to your daily activites.
  3. Practice relaxation therapy — Focusing on tensing and relaxing muscle groups can help you relax voluntarily when feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious. Practicing deep breathing techniques as well as mindfulness meditation can help  you feel grounded and more present each day.
  4. Let light in — For some people, increased exposure to light can improve symptoms of depression. If you can, open the shades and let more sunlight in or get outside, this can dramatically improve your mood!
  5. Be kind to yourself — Treat yourself with the same compassion you would a friend. Our best every day may look a bit different and it is alway shelpful to take frequent breaks from work/school throughout the day. Be sure to fill your cup up frequently!
  6. Stay connected — Even if you can’t get together face-to-face, you can stay connected to friends, family and neighbors with phone calls, text messages, video chats and social media. If you’re feeling lonely, sad or anxious, reach out to your social support networks. Share what you are feeling and offer to listen to friends or family members about their feelings. We are all experiencing this scary and uncertain time together.
  7. Monitor media consumption — While you might want to stay up-to the minute with COVID-19 news, too much exposure can be overwhelming. Balance media consumption with other activities you enjoy, such as reading, cooking or listening to music.

Self-care doesn’t require you to go outside or spend a lot of money. Adding small changes to your routine can make a big difference to your overall mood and well-being.

Thank you for choosing to #BeTheDifference and remember to practice self-care.


Hello world!

Welcome to our very first blog post!

It has been a wild couple of weeks. We have been challenged in various capacities and are being thrust into technology at every moment of the day. It is our hope that we will all get through this stronger and with a deeper appreciation for the people in our lives.

To help you as we navigate these new and challenging times, HPW has created Wellness Wednesday’s, which will kick off the first week of spring quarter 2020. We will set aside 30 minutes at noon, every Wednesday of the quarter to provide you with bite sized wellness information. This is a time for our entire DePaul community, students, staff and faculty, to check-in with ourselves and one another, and spend time caring for our well-being. These will be facilitated by our HPW professional staff and our Health Education Action Team (HEAT). We will provide perspectives for our students, staff and faculty so that we can all take a beat to think about our well-being. Join us here on zoom every Wednesday at noon, starting next week!


For our kick-off week, we had an hour long webinar on Coping with Covid — you can click the below link for full access to the recording.



You can also, view our slides with this link 


But now, we wanted to provide some deeper resources and information related to our webinar that we hosted this week on Wednesday on “Coping with Covid.” We provided a framework written by Dr. Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap. He’s provided some practical steps for responding effectively to the covid-19 crisis, using the principles of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Below are the action steps that Dr. Russell has provided and we also provided his in-depth analysis of each action step. Below each, you will also find some examples we created to make it a bit more applicable! We thank Dr. Russell for providing a framework that will allow us to process, engage with our new normal and take strides to truly care for ourselves and others.

Take Care DePaul,





How to respond effectively to the Corona crisis

By Dr. Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap


F = Focus on what’s in your control

A = Acknowledge your thoughts & feelings

C = Come back into your body

E = Engage in what you’re doing


C = Committed action

O = Opening up

V = Values

I = Identify resources

D = Disinfect & distance


F = Focus on what’s in your control

The Corona crisis can affect us in many different ways: physically, emotionally, economically, socially, and psychologically. All of us are (or  soon will be) dealing with the very real challenges of widespread serious illness and the inabilities of healthcare systems to cope with it, social and community disruption, economic fallout and financial problems , obstacles and interruptions to many aspects of life … and the list goes on.

And when we are facing a crisis of any sort, fear and anxiety are inevitable; they are normal, natural responses to challenging situations infused with danger and uncertainty. It’s all too easy to get lost in worrying and ruminating about all sorts of things that are out of your control: what might happen in the future; how the virus might affect you or your loved ones or your community or your country or the world – and what will happen then – and so on. And while it’s completely natural for us to get lost in such worries, it’s not useful or helpful. Indeed the more we focus on what’s not in our control, the more hopeless or anxious we’re likely to feel.

So the single most useful thing anyone can do in any type of crisis – Corona-related or otherwise – is to: focus on what’s in your control.

You can’t control what happens in the future. You can’t control Corona virus itself or the world economy or how your government manages this whole sordid mess. And you can’t magically control your feelings, eliminating all that perfectly natural fear and anxiety. But you can control what you do – here and now. And that matters. Because what you do – here and now – can make a huge difference to yourself, and anyone living with you, and a significant difference to the community around you.

The reality is, we all have far more control over our behavior, than we do over our thoughts and feelings. So our number one aim is to take control of our behavior – right here and now – to respond effectively to this crisis.

This involves both dealing with our inner world – all our difficult thoughts and feelings – and our outer world – all the real problems we are facing. How do we do this? Well, when a big storm blows up, the boats in the harbor drop anchor – because if they don’t, they’ll get swept out to sea. And of course, dropping anchor doesn’t make the storm go away (anchors can’t control the weather) – but it can hold a boat steady in the harbor, until the storm passes in its own good time.

HPW thoughts:

  • Being an online student (something you can’t control right now) which includes perhaps living at home again and away from your friends. Pretty much missing that big part of social life at college. So instead focus on what is in our control: how can you set up your environment to be the most conducive to your studies and offer you’re a similar successful schedule like the one you had at school? Penciling in social zoom sessions, monitoring your screen time, getting enough sleep and eating food that energizes you – all things we can control to make our days the best they can be in this challenging time


Similarly, in an ongoing crisis, we’re all going to experience ‘emotional storms’: unhelpful thoughts spinning inside our head, and painful feelings whirling around our body. And if we’re swept away by that storm inside us, there’s nothing effective we can do. So the first practical step is to ‘drop anchor’, using the simple ACE formula:

A = Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings

C = Come back into your body

E = Engage in what you’re doing


Let’s explore these one by one:


A = Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings

Silently and kindly acknowledge whatever is ‘showing up’ inside you: thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, sensation, urges. Take the stance of a curious scientist, observing what’s going on in your inner world.

And while continuing to acknowledge your thoughts and feelings, also ….

HPW thoughts:

  • Note your thoughts and feelings – are your thoughts and feeling saying the same thing or are they in different modes? Sometimes our brain is busy processing and preparing us to move forward while our emotions are feeling something else. As these days move, we get overloaded with a lot of information old and new and it is easy to jump from one feeling or thought to the next as we become consumed with all things related to covid. Covid-19 is affecting every part of our lives and just the mere word can invoke strong reactions from us emotionally, physically and mentally.
  • So, note your thoughts and feelings and sit with them. Journal them if you like! And let yourself feel all the range of emotions that you have around covid-19. It is okay to be happy, worried, unsure, relieved, whatever it is just feel it – it’s okay


C = Come back into your body

Come back into and connect with your physical body. Find your own way of doing this. You could try some or all of the following, or find your own methods:

  • Slowly pushing your feet hard into the floor.
  • Slowly straightening up your back and spine; if sitting, sitting upright and forward in your chair.
  • Slowly pressing your fingertips together
  • Slowly stretching your arms or neck, shrugging your shoulders.
  • Slowly breathing


Note: you are not trying to turn away from, escape, avoid or distract yourself from what is happening in your inner world. The aim is to remain aware of your thoughts and feelings, continue to acknowledge their presence …. and at the same time, come back into and connect with your body, and actively move it. Why? So you can gain as much control as possible over your physical actions, even though you can’t control your feelings. (Remember, F = Focus on what’s in your control) And as you acknowledge your thoughts & feelings, and come back into your body, also ….

HPW thoughts:

  • It can be so easy to let our brain do all the work thinking about all the ways to cope and get through this difficult time. And as you are adjusting to your new life as an online student/employee, remember that we have to work extra hard to get some more movement in our days. Instead of walking to each class or to the student center or the ray – we are walking from our bedroom to our made up student office or living area and kitchen – and/or all of this might be in one room if we are in a studio apartment!! Regardless we are all living in a much smaller world than we are used to. Create space to stretch throughout the day, get outside and walk/run and just slow down and close your eyes and breathe. Remember that wherever you are you always have your breath. Close your eyes and feel yourself in your body – feel the breath in your body and let it flow throughout you


E = Engage in what you’re doing

Get a sense of where you are and refocus your attention on the activity you are doing.

Find your own way of doing this. You could try some or all of the following suggestions, or find your own methods:

  • Look around the room and notice 5 things you can see.
  • Notice 3 or 4 things you can hear.
  • Notice what you can smell or taste or sense in your nose and mouth
  • Notice what you are doing
  • End the exercise by giving your full attention to the task or activity at hand. (And if you don’t have any meaningful activity to do, see the next 3 steps.)

Ideally, run through the ACE cycle slowly 3 or 4 times, to turn it into a 2- 3 minute exercise.

If you wish, to help you get the hang of this, you can download some free audio recordings of ‘dropping anchor’ exercises, varying from 1 minute to 11 minutes in length. You can listen to these and use them as a guide to help you develop this skill. You can download or stream them from the left hand box on this webpage: https://www.actmindfully.com.au/freestuff/free-audio/

NOTE: please don’t skip the A of ACE; it’s so important to keep acknowledging the thoughts and feelings present, especially if they are difficult or uncomfortable. If you skip the A, this exercise will turn into a distraction technique – which it’s not supposed to be.

Dropping anchor is a very useful skill. You can use it for handling difficult thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, urges and sensations more effectively; switching off auto-pilot and engaging in life; grounding and steadying yourself in difficult situations; disrupting rumination, obsessing and worrying; and focusing your attention on the task or activity you are doing. The better you anchor yourself in the here and now, the more control you have over your actions – which makes it a lot easier to do the next steps: COVID

HPW thoughts:

  • It can be a really difficult time to set some boundaries as we think about our lives confined in our homes right now and staying focused can be a challenge. To stay focused, sometimes we need to ground ourselves – take screen breaks and look around your room – maybe light a scented candle or open the window to reset and be able to fully dive into whatever assignment or class you are working on. Take breaks and than dive back into your work rather than auto piloting through the entire day. Get acquainted with your body mentally and physically so you can understand its cues of when it is time to take a break and “refill your cup.”


C = Committed Action

Committed action means effective action, guided by your core values; action you take because it’s truly important to you; action you take even if it brings up difficult thoughts and feelings. Once you have dropped anchor, using the ACE formula, you will have a lot of control over your actions – so this makes it easier to do the things that truly matter.  Now obviously that includes all those protective measures against Corona – frequent handwashing, social distancing, and so on. But in addition to those fundamentals of effective action, consider:

What are simple ways to look after yourself, those you live with, and those you can realistically help? What kind, caring, supportive deeds you can do?  Can you say some kind words to someone in distress – in person or via a phone call or text message?  Can you help someone out with a task or a chore, or cook a meal, or hold someone’s hand, or play a game with a young child?  Can you comfort and soothe someone who is sick? Or in the most serious of cases, nurse them and access whatever medical assistance is available?

And if you’re spending a lot more time at home, through self-isolation or forced quarantine, or social distancing, what are the most effective ways to spend that time?  You may want to consider physical exercise to stay fit, cooking (as) healthy food (as possible, given restrictions), and doing meaningful activities by yourself or with others.  And if you’re familiar with acceptance and commitment therapy or other mindfulness-based approaches, how can you actively practice some of those mindfulness skills?

Repeatedly throughout the day, ask yourself ‘What can I do right now – no matter how small it may be – that improves life for myself or others I live with, or people in my community?’ And whatever the answer is – do it, and engage in it fully.

HPW thoughts:

  • What do others need? How can I help someone’s day get better? Maybe just a quick text to check in on a friend or a phone call to a loved one. Even though we cannot see all the people we like and care about as much, we can use our technology to stay connected and let others know that we are there for them. Set up weekly zoom chats to socialize with your friends from schoOO. Staff/Faculty, you can still schedule virtual chats, standing check-in meetings and even social hours. Make time to support one another and utilize some of the resources DePaul has like OSI’s new DEN network and some other department’s virtual offerings like HPW’s Wellness Wednesday Zoom sessions!!


O = Opening up

Opening up means making room for difficult feelings and being kind to yourself. Difficult feelings are guaranteed to keep on showing up as this crisis unfolds: fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, guilt, loneliness, frustration, confusion, and many more.  We can’t stop them from arising; they’re normal reactions. But we can open up and make room for them: acknowledge they are normal, allow them to be there (even though they hurt), and treat ourselves kindly.

Remember, self-kindness is essential if you want to cope well with this crisis – especially if you are in a caregiver role. If you’ve ever flown on a plane, you’ve heard this message: ‘In event of an emergency, put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.’ Well, self kindness is your own oxygen mask; if you need to look after others, you’ll do it a whole lot better if you’re also taking good care of yourself.

So ask yourself, ‘If someone I loved was going through this experience, feeling what I am feeling – if I wanted to be kind and caring towards them, how would I treat them? How would I behave towards them? What might I say or do?’ Then try treating yourself the same way.

For more on self-kindness, also known as self-compassion, read this eBook: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1__Q3UcT9Q8VuSbiRm7x7-xjaxy5xkrba/view?usp=sharing

HPW thoughts:

  • I think this one is my favorite – I see this one as what do you to support your well-being?? This can change from moment to moment and day by day. I challenge you to ask yourself this every day and from moment to moment -– what do you need to support your well-being and thrive the best you can under these circumstances? Today it might be that extra 30 minutes of sleep and tomorrow it might mean some extra time away from the screen after your finished with your work. Commit to caring for yourself every day.


V = Values

Committed action should be guided by your core values: What do you want to stand for in the face of this crisis? What sort of person do you want to be, as you go through this? How do you want to treat yourself and others?

Your values might include love, respect, humor, patience, courage, honesty, caring, openness, kindness …. or numerous others. Look for ways to ‘sprinkle’ these values into your day. Let them guide and motivate your committed action.

Of course, as this crisis unfolds, there will be all sorts of obstacles in your life; goals you can’t achieve, things you can’t do, problems for which there are no simple solutions. But you can still live your values in a myriad of different ways, even in the face of all those challenges. Especially come back to your values of kindness and caring.


What are kind, caring ways you can treat yourself as you go through this?  What are kind words you can say to yourself, kind deeds you can do for yourself?  What are kind ways you can treat others who are suffering?  What are kind, caring ways of contributing to the wellbeing of your community? What can you say and do that will enable you to look back in years to come and feel proud of your response?

HPW thoughts:

  • I see this one as staying true to you – let’s not let covid-19 change who we are and how we live our life. Yes, certainly we need to comply with the rules like staying at home for the safety and well-being of ourselves and others. But, we can still be kind, generous, thoughtful and loving. Continue to show your personality through all of your interactions and connections. If you are the type of student that needs a study group – create a virtual study group – or if you like solo studying – make sure you have the space, time and boundaries to do so. Stay true to yourself and what and who you value.


I = Identify resources

Identify resources for help, assistance, support, and advice. This includes friends, family, neighbours, health professionals, emergency services.  And make sure you know the emergency helpline phone numbers, including psychological help if required.  Also reach out to your social networks. And if you are able to offer support to others, let them know; you can be a resource for other people, just as they can for you. One very important aspect of this process involves finding a reliable and trustworthy source of information for updates on the crisis and guidelines for responding to it. The World Health Organisation website is the leading source of such information: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Also check the website of your country’s government health department.  Use this information to develop your own resources: action plans to protect yourself and others, and to prepare in advance for quarantine or emergency.

HPW thoughts:

  • As a virtual student/employee you have a lot to get used to. Find ways to get acquainted to the new systems you might be using like TEAMS or if you aren’t in D2L that often, take time to get acquainted and utilize some of the online tutorials and emails that have been sent out providing more guidance on learning and using D2L and other systems. But this also includes knowing local resources especially if you have moved back home. This could be food service delivery, maybe health resources and other things like finding a new local therapist or connecting virtually with your therapist. This also can include DePaul resources!! We do our best to get students connected but we recommend getting into DeHUB, Newsline and the University wide calendar and learning about some of the virtual programming going on this quarter. Getting connected to specific departments and especially reading the DePaul Newsline. We have so many resources and if you have questions — just ask us!!


D = Disinfect & distance physically

I’m sure you already know this, but it’s worth repeating: disinfect your hands regularly and practice as much social distancing as realistically possible, for the greater good of your community. And remember, we’re talking about physical distancing – not cutting off emotionally. (If you aren’t quite sure about what this means, read this: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

This an important aspect of committed action, so align it deeply with your values; recognize that these are truly caring actions.

HPW thoughts:

  • I’m sure you have been hearing a lot of this but making sure that we are disinfecting our homes especially common areas and things like phones, laptops, door knobs, surfaces, kitchens, bathrooms, etc. Continually washing our hands with warm soapy water, avoiding touching our face, monitoring our health symptoms, etc. Taking care of yourself the most that we possibly can!! Practicing social distancing as much as this isn’t that much fun but it is so important now as you all know.


In Summary

So again and again and again, as problems pile up in the world around you, and emotional storms rage in the world within you, come back to the steps of FACE COVID:

F = Focus on what’s in your control

A = Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings

C = Come back into your body

E = Engage in what you’re doing


C = Committed action

O = Opening up

V = Values

I = Identify resources

D = Disinfect & distance



Well, I do hope there’s something useful in here for you; and feel free to share this with others if you think may find it helpful.

These are crazy, difficult, scary times, so please do treat yourself kindly. And remember the words of Winston Churchill: ‘When you’re going through hell, keep going’.

All the best,

Cheers, Russ Harris



If you made it to the end of this post — THANK YOU!! — Not every post will be this long but we thought this one was super relevant and helpful!

Take care of yourself, take care of each other, take care DePaul