Recovery Student Spotlight- Katherine

Welcome back to another Recovery Student Spotlight.  This week, we will be spotlighting Katherine*, a senior at DePaul.  Katherine is 32 years old and Psychology major.  She identifies as being in recovery from heroin use and an anxiety disorder.  Katherine attends DePaul’s weekly Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) meetings to help support her recovery 

Tell us about the Collegiate Recovery Community at DePaul 

Katherine explained that when she hears “Collegiate Recovery Community, she first thinks of the word “security.” She spoke about the value that she finds in having a safe group to go to that will listen to her nonjudgmentally.  While she noted that she does not always feel like going to CRC meetings, the meetings are helpful to her recovery as they provide her with structure.  Not only that, but the CRC gives her a sense of accountability to show up to support both her own recovery and the recovery of others.   

Help us debunk some myths about recovery 

When it comes to myths about recovery, one of the biggest myths Katherine wants to debunk is the false belief that substance use disorders are a moral issue.  In fact, Katherine sees substance use disorders as something that has many different facets to it, all of which affect each person in recovery differently.  Since certain substances can become begin to feel necessary for a person with a use disorder to live, this causes a reaction to do things that the person would not normally do.  Because of this, Katherine does not see this as a flaw in someone’s morals. 

Another myth that Katherine wants to debunk is the myth that recovery can only be effective when someone with a substance use disorder wants to recover from the beginning of the process.  Katherine remembers that when she went to a recovery program back in 2017, she did not feel ready to recover.  Seeing that she had the opportunity to go to another treatment program after previously trying to recover eventually made her want to give recovery another chance.  From there, she started to become more physically healthy, which made her more determined to work towards recovery.  Katherine explains that she is grateful to be alive and to have been given the chance to recover, even though she did not feel willing to use these resources at the beginning of the process. 

What do you want the world to know about recovery and the CRC? 

Something that Katherine wants other college students in recovery to know is that it is okay to struggle and seem outwardly successful at the same time.  She explains that this is part of the reason why the CRC is so helpful.  The CRC allows Katherine and other students to be vulnerable in talking about their struggles and feel supported by people who have similar goals to and want to be there to support and listen to one another.  In fact, she claims that the CRC is one of the biggest forces that allows her to continue on her recovery journey because of the peer support that she receives and gives to others.   

If you would like more information about DePaul’s Collegiate Recovery Community, feel free to email the Office of Health Promotion & Wellness at  Check back next week for another Recovery Student Spotlight interview!  Happy Recovery Month! 

*Name is shared with permission. 

Recovery Student Spotlight- Josh

Welcome back to another Recovery Student Spotlight.  This week, we will be spotlighting Josh*, a senior at DePaul.  Josh is 22 years old and a Public Relations major.  He identifies as being in recovery from Depression and Anxiety.  Josh attends DePaul’s weekly Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) meetings to help support his recovery.  

Tell us about the Collegiate Recovery Community at DePaul 

When reflecting on what the CRC means to himJosh thinks “support.”  He feels that the CRC is a place that others can fit in and be comfortable with each other.  Noting that he is a transfer student, he explained that the CRC is somewhere that he was able to find a community at DePaul.  In fact, Josh said that if someone were to ask him about the CRC, he would begin with sharing just how fantastic the people in the group are.   

Josh talks about those in the CRC so highly because he appreciates their commitment to bettering themselves.  However, not only are they committed to bettering themselves, but they are also committed to helping support others on their journey to bettering themselves.  Along with the CRC being a supportive place, Josh also wants to make it known just how welcoming the group is.  Most importantly, Josh likes that the CRC is a place where people seem to understand each other and their struggles.   

Help us debunk some myths about recovery 

The biggest myth that Josh wants to debunk is that people in recovery do not try hard enough to recover.  He describes that struggling with substance use or mental health can be quite a heavy burden.  While it certainly can be a heavy burden, Josh shares that those who do not personally deal with these struggles typically do not understand just how heavy of a burden they can be.  Because of this general lack of understanding, those who do not struggle with substance use or mental health issues typically do not see all the work that goes into recovery, leading to the false belief that those in recovery are not trying hard enough to recover.  However, Josh emphasizes that those in recovery actually work quite hard to live the best lives possible. 

What do you want the world to know about recovery and the CRC? 

The first thing that Josh wants the world to know about recovery is that those who are in recovery need support from everyone.  Josh mentioned that, while groups like the CRC are important for support, the support of friends, family, and loved ones is just as important.  The most important thing, however, that Josh wants the world to know is that those in recovery should not automatically be seen as “leaders” when discussing the topic of recovery.  What he means by this is that, while many people in recovery want to speak about their experiences, just as many simply do not feel comfortable being open about it.  Josh explained that struggling with substance use and mental health is something that some people prefer to keep private.  Because of this preference for privacy, it would not be fair to expect all people in recovery to openly share their experiences.  In general, he wants people to know to not push those who want to keep their stories private to share, but to instead listen to those who are open to sharing.   

If you would like more information about DePaul’s Collegiate Recovery Community, feel free to email the Office of Health Promotion & Wellness at  Check back next week for another Recovery Student Spotlight interview!  Happy Recovery Month! 

*Name has been changed to respect the student’s privacy. 

Recovery Student Spotlight- Genera

It is finally September!  From going back to school to the Fall season approaching, September brings us many things.  One incredibly important thing that September also brings us is National Recovery Month!  This Recovery Month, we wanted to give DePaul students in recovery a space to share their experiences with recovery and mental health to help educate the greater DePaul community.  Each week, we will be shining a spotlight on one student in recovery to talk about what recovery means to them, debunk the many myths surrounding mental health and recovery, and much more.  Without further ado, let’s introduce our first recovery student, Genera*! 

Genera is 21 years old and just finished her Psychology degree this past spring.  She identifies as being in recovery mainly from cannabis and alcohol use, but also mental health and domestic abuse.  Genera attends DePaul’s weekly Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) meetings (which are now virtual) to help support her recovery. 

Tell us about the Collegiate Recovery Community at DePaul 

When asked about what comes to mind when reflecting on the CRC, Genera first thinks of the word “friends.”  She explains that she feels that the CRC is a place where she can get support from those in the community.  In fact, she sees the CRC as her “home group,” meaning she attends other recovery meetings but DePaul’s CRC is home base. While she does note that she came into her first CRC meeting feeling a fear of being judged, that fear was squashed and she now feels quite close with everyone and enjoys attending meetings each week. 

Help us debunk some myths about recovery 

On the topic of judgement, there are a few myths about mental health and recovery that Genera wants to debunk.  The first of these myths is that having a mental illness or being in recovery is uncommon.  She noted that many people identify as being in recovery and mental health disorders are relatively common.  Similarly, she also spoke about how cannabis is a drug and can, in fact, be addictive.  Many people do not consider cannabis to be a substance that can be addictive, however, Cannabis Use Disorder is a diagnosable condition.   

Another myth she wants to debunk is the idea that recovery is “scary.”  She wants to make it clear that it is not scary, and neither are those who identify as being in recovery.  When it comes to recovery itself, Genera points out that recovery is a process, not a simple destination that one “gets to” like many people believe.  She describes the recovery process as a journey that is not linear.  This nonlinear journey, she explains, is one that those in recovery are always on and working towards. 

Genera wants other DePaul students who may be interested in joining the CRC to know the weekly meetings are both helpful and fun. Since joining herself, Genera has invited a friend to come with her to a CRC meetings, promising that they would like it.  She even went as far as to promise her friend that if they did not enjoy the meeting, she would buy them dinner.  Needless to say, she has yet to buy them dinner. 

What do you want the world to know about recovery and the CRC? 

First, Genera wants everyone to know just how wonderful she believes the CRC is.  She notes how welcoming the meetings are and the fact that they are free, making recovery more accessible. She also wishes more people knew about the CRC.  She believes that because of the stigma that surrounds recovery and mental health, people tend to be more secretive about being in recovery and seeking out help with recovery.  Genera wishes that more people knew about the CRC because she believes that the connections she has made during meetings and the support that these connections have provided her have saved her life.   

Finally, Genera wants the world to know that people in recovery are strong.  In explaining the strength of those in recovery, she emphasizes that anyone can be in recovery.  Not only can anyone be in recovery, anyone can be in recovery from anything.  From substance use to mental health to an unhealthy relationship, she believes that anyone can work towards recovery. 

If you would like more information about DePaul’s Collegiate Recovery Community, feel free to email the Office of Health Promotion & Wellness at  Check back next week for another Recovery Student Spotlight interview!  Happy Recovery Month! 

*Name is shared with permission 


Planning During a Pandemic

About six months ago, nearly everyone experienced a change of plans in some way, shape, or form.  For many DePaul students, the plans of going to in person classes, sports practices, club meetings, and having outings with friends were no longer a possibility.  In fact, the quick, drastic change in and of itself may have been just as daunting as no longer being able to do all the things we are normally used to doing.  Going into autumn quarter, plans for a new school year also look different than they have during past years.   

In a Psychology Today articlewriter and psychotherapist, Bryan E. Robinson describes the connection between uncertainty and anxiety in the context of the current pandemic.  He explains that due to the way our brains are made to help us survive, any situation that gives indication of lack of certainty creates a feeling of stress.  The brain wants to keep us safe, meaning that if something unexpected happens, it makes it seem like more of a threat than it might actually be and causes us to question if we are able to safely get through it.  With changing plans and constantly questioning the certainty of the near future, it is easy to see how this consistent stress and anxiety can work its way into aspects of our everyday lives and begin to affect the quality of our daily living.  

This sense of unpredictability may be starting to spike as we reach back to school season as it can be hard to plan for the upcoming school year and even harder to think about the possibility of another plan being changed.  If you feel uncomfortable because of the possibility of plans changing, here are a few things that may be helpful: 

  • Focus on what you can control.  For some, having a predictable routine is helpful for feeling like they have a stable schedule.  This may look like creating consistent morning and night routines and taking breaks from schoolwork or technology around the same times every day. 
  • Find ways to get what you feel like you are missing from plan changes.  For example, the idea of taking online classes may work fine for some people when it comes to learning the material, but the social aspect of going to classes is what they miss.  If this is the case, it is always possible to contact classmates to set up study and discussion sessions via video chat.   
  • Take time for self-care.  Stress is stress.  Whether you are stressed out by the start of the school year being different from past school years or you feel like you are missing out on fun events, it is important to address your physical and emotional needs.  Dedicating time for self-care activities every single day can help with easing the stress that this uncertainty may bring.  It may help to work self-care practices into your daily schedule to ensure that you take time to do these practices and to give yourself another consistent thing to plan on. 
  • Talk to someone.  If you feel as though the negative emotions of the constant change of plans over the past six months has become too much for you to handle on your own, reach out to someone.  For some people, talking to a friend about their stress is helpful.  For others, it may be more beneficial to reach out to a therapist for guidance with adjusting unhelpful thinking patterns.  Do what you think is best for you!   

It goes without saying that this is a stressful time.  Beginning a new school year is stressful enough without a pandemic.  However, HPW wants to help support you and ease as much anxiety as possible.  Whether it be through 1:1 appointments or helping you find support that fits your needs, we want to do everything we can to reduce as much stress during this time as possible.  Be sure to connect with us via email, phone call, or social media.   

Take care, DePaul! 

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


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!

How to Fight “Zoom Fatigue”

Since social distancing and online learning began many months ago, the seemingly simple solution to these new social and learning obstacles has been Zoom (or really any other video chat program).  However, if your days have included going from Zoom call to Zoom call with lectures and socially distanced get-togethers and game nightsthere’s a chance that you have experienced some amount of exhaustion from being on call after call.  This exhaustion is known as “Zoom fatigue”.   

There are many ideas about why people are experiencing Zoom fatigue.  In general, most seem to think that it is a combination of too much screen time and the pressure that video chatting puts on us socially.  For example, it is harder for the brain to process non-verbal cues when it is using a video on a screen as the only way of receiving these cues.  Simply put, picking up these cues on a video is less natural than doing so in a face-to-face conversation, causing more stress on the brain.  These factors, along with the fact that video chatting is the primary way class lectures and meetings have been taking place the past few months, are cause for physical and emotional exhaustion.   

With many DePaul classes being online this coming Fall, it is important to have strategies to protect ourselves from Zoom fatigue.  Here are a few ways to prevent and combat Zoom fatigue: 

  • Take breaks from your computer (especially between calls).  Use these breaks to take care of personal care needs.  This could include making yourself a meal, going outside for a walk, stretching, or even just drinking a glass of water.   
  • Change up your work environment.  Even if you are on calls in your bedroom or living room, try to change up the room itself or the specific spot you sit to take calls so that the room feels different from when you are on call to when you are relaxing.  This could look like changing the lighting of the room or sitting at a desk instead of on your bed.  This change will help your brain differentiate when it is time for work and when it is time for relaxation.  
  • If possible, use audio only and only have your video on when you are speaking or contributing to the conversation.  This way, it is easier to focus on what is being said, as opposed to what you are doing or what you look like during the call. 
  • Find ways to socialize other than through video chatting to ensure that “hanging out” with your friends and family is still fun.  This could include writing letters or having “Netflix Parties”.  This is a great time to get creative with ways to connect with friends and family! 
  • Be mindful of your technology use habits even when you are not on video calls.  Be aware of your social media scrolling habits to reduce the amount of distressing news you may be consuming.  Also known as “doomscrolling”, endlessly looking at news and media about distressing topics can negatively impact mental health, so it is important to keep track of and adjust these habits.  Similarly, the blue light that is emitted from our screens can have negative effects on sleep patterns, as well as other areas of health.  This may be reason to consider setting limits on technology use.   
  • As always, pay attention to your needs.  Take time every day for self-care activities to care for your mental and physical well-being.  Have a list of things you can do at any time to allow yourself to take a break and focus on your health. 

The uncertainty of what this upcoming academic year will bring is likely to cause some nervousness and anxiety as we prepare to (virtually) return to classes.  Now is a great time to assess your own worries and create a plan for adjusting to these changes and managing the emotions that may come from these changes.  By beginning with learning how to reduce your chances of Zoom fatigue, you are already taking steps to learning how to create healthy habits regarding technology use.  Continue to take time to develop your own self-care practices so that you have healthy tactics to turn to that will help you handle stress and its effects.  Remember, HPW is always here to help you with becoming your healthiest self, either through 1:1 support or providing resources.  Remember to Take care of yourself, take care of each other, 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!

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

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 – Brain Fuel! Mindfulness and Success During Online Finals

Hello DePaul Family,

Today, we held our last Wellness Wednesday session via Zoom. Wellness Wednesday was started in a response to a primarily virtual campus due to Covid-19. Never could we have guessed that on top of having to adjust to online classes and exams, our students would also be faced with increased levels of stress, fear, and increased social unrest due to the nationwide outrage against Minneapolis PD in their killing of George Floyd along with the countless numbers of Black lives that have been lost to police brutality. DePaul has announced a plan to formulate some sort of university standard for faculty regarding final exams, but as of right now students should plan to take their exams as originally scheduled.

Today’s Wellness Wednesday revolved around how to succeed in the already stressful finals period with the increased difficulties of an online format and the distress resulting from the current environment. The main points that HPW wants to hit on are reducing stress from finals, tips and tricks to succeeding in the online format, and ways to practice mindfulness to manage stress of both our academics and our mental health. The link for the recorded session can be found at


Tips for coping with finals:

  1. Schedule a time to focus on studying! By designating a specific time, you can push yourself to study for that allotted time without making excuses to not study.
  2. Make sure you’re eating and sleeping enough.
  3. Don’t forget to figure in personal time. It is important to maintain a balance between school work and taking care of yourself so that your brain can rest!

Taking online exams:

  1. Prepare ahead of time! Make sure you understand the test format and procedure.
  2. Check your computer! Make sure you have the write tech to run the exam – we cannot assume that professors will accept technological issues as an excuse and be understanding, unfortunately.
  3. Try to carve out a quiet place where you can focus to take the exam – it can be difficult, especially if you are home with your family but do your best to let others know that you need to focus.
  4. Keep an eye on the clock during the exam. Because it is a different format than you are probably used to, you may move through the exam at a different pace.
  5. Make sure you don’t leave the test page! Opening a new tab or even refreshing the page may interfere with your exam.

Tips for Taking Online Exams

Practicing mindfulness:

There are many ways to incorporate mindfulness in your daily life, and it is an especially useful practice during a time such as now due to the benefits of decreasing stress and improving mental focus (both useful during finals week). Try to practice your mindful breathing – focusing on inhaling and exhaling for a certain period of time. You can also practice a walking meditation, and focus on your steps as you move around.

As always, the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness is available for 1:1 support if you need resources, or just want someone to talk to. University Counseling Services and the Center for Students with Disabilities are also available to support students and the Dean of Students Office will be available to approve accommodations related to attendance or course work negatively impacted by current events. Please take care of yourself as we move through these uncertain times.