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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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.

Wellness Wednesday – Going into Summer with Body Positivity

Hello and welcome back to HPW’s blog! & Happy Wellness Wednesday! In today’s Wellness Wednesday we talked about Going into Summer with Body Positivity. A lot of us tend to feel pressure going into summer to achieve the ‘perfect beach body’ just in time, and the pressure has been heightened lately with all of the body image messaging that has come with COVID-19… Click here to watch our Wellness Wednesday video, or read on to learn more!

What exactly is body positivity?

Body positivity is about working towards a world where everyone can live in their bodies as they please while receiving the same respect, representation, and opportunities as everyone else. It is about respecting your own body, but also about being kind and empathetic toward other bodies.

It is also important to note that often times certain individuals are left out of the conversation around body positivity. For instance, while people within the body positivity community have to deal with gender equality and size equality, people of color have to deal with this as well as race equality and colorism. It is so important to include all bodies in this conversation, regardless of color, and give voices to those who are not always represented.

“I hope that one day in the future, the community and those outside of the body positive movement will see us as a collective and not marginalize within a group that is already in itself, pretty marginalized. There are so many different experiences, opinions, thoughts, and perspectives and everyone deserves to be heard and represented, not just the thoughts and experiences of those with privilege.” – STEPHANIE YEBOAH

Body Image During COVID-19

The concept of body image is constantly shifting due to society and the expectations that society sets, and our current predicament most definitely has an effect on our perceptions of what we should strive for in our bodies. Currently in the media, we are seeing a lot of influencers talking about how to protect yourself from gaining the “COVID-15” and how to make the most of your time in quarantine by achieving the “perfect body.” This type of messaging is toxic for multiple reasons (see blog post on “Body Image and Quarantine – Fighting Against the Productivity Myth” for some of them), and with all of this conditioning coming from society, it is often times hard to know what is right for us individually. As a culture, we tend to jump from extreme to extreme, rather than allowing individuals to discover what works for them personally. (Read on – towards the end we provide some tips as to how you might counter this societal conditioning!)

Society’s Perpetuation of Body Image Messaging and Unequal Harm of Certain Individuals

On top of this, as we touched on with the definition of body positivity above, often times the messaging that society sends out about body image tends to harm certain individuals in an unequal way. The messages about body image that society sends out often lead to the exclusion and marginalization of certain groups and people. The movement targets specific populations – such as white females – but not everyone, making it seems like it’s only a problem for some populations when in reality people of all different walks of life struggle with body image.

Indeed, the body positivity movement itself often times ends up neglecting to fulfill the original goals of the movement. The same companies that profit off of body positive advertising can be found selling products that shame certain bodies. Companies are still given incentives to use conventionally attractive bodies, even if they’re more ‘curvy’ now.

All of this messaging can start to take a toll. What do disorders related to body image look like? Some examples are:

  • Body dysmorphia disorder
  • Gender dysphoria
  • *It is important to recognize the differences between dysmorphia and dysphoria because they are very different experiences, but both relate to body image
  • Eating disorders
    • Anorexia nervosa
    • Bulimia nervosa
    • Binge eating disorder
    • Eating disorder not otherwise specified

Eating disorders are more common than you might think… Approximately 8 million people in the U.S. have anorexia, bulimia, or a related eating disorder. Unfortunately, over 70% of sufferers will not seek treatment due to stigma or lack of education, diagnosis, or access to care. But up to 80% of people who are able to seek and complete treatment will recover or improve significantly. It is important to recognize that eating disorders are often comorbid with other mental illnesses, such as OCD, depression, and anxiety. Often times people going through tough times develop eating disorders as they find their food/body to be the only thing they can control in their life at the moment. Eating disorders do not live in a vacuum – there are many different reasons as to why an eating disorder might develop.

What factors contribute to such a large number of the population experiencing an eating disorder?

  • Biological factors: Having a close relative with an eating disorder or mental illness; history of dieting; female sex; Type 1 diabetes (insulin dependent); negative energy balance (caloric intake is less than energy expenditure)
  • Psychological: Perfectionism; personal history of an anxiety disorder; body image dissatisfaction; feeling like there’s only one right way to do things (strict rule following)
  • Social: Size and weight prejudice; appearance-based bullying; small social networks/isolation; acculturation of racial/ethnic minority groups (the challenges that stem from the merging of cultures, such as when Westernization occurs); LGBTQ+

If you or someone you love is suffering from a body image related disorder, there are many resources that might be of help! What can we do to help ourselves and others who are having trouble with body image? Self-care and resources:

  • Intuitive eating – Intuitive eating is about trusting your inner wisdom to make choices around foods that feel good for your body, without judgement and without influence from diet culture. Intuitive eating is learning to reclaim that inner voice that tells you what is right and wrong for your body. When we filter out the noise and influence that diet culture presents to us as false truths, we can then truly listen to what our body wants and needs from the food we eat.
  • Intuitive movement – Intuitive movement is the practice of connecting and listening to your body to figure out how it feels and what type of movement it needs in a given day. Similar to intuitive eating, intuitive movement asks us to ask ourselves “What does my body need today?” rather than, “What should I be doing or eating according to others?”
  • Caring for our bodies in a holistic way can include nourishing them with good foods, asking ourselves what we need to thrive and using positive talk towards ourselves.
  • The mind body connection is huge. When we ask ourselves what we need, we begin to change the chatter in our mind and truly listen to our bodies and their needs in a holistic way. When we praise our bodies instead of ridiculing them, we can start to truly appreciate ourselves and begin the process of self-love.
  • Resources at DePaul:
    • HPW (contact info can be found at the end of this post)
    • University Counseling Services (Lincoln Park (773) 325-7779 & Loop (312) 362- 6923)
  • Community resources:
    • thebodypositive.org
    • National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance
    • National Eating Disorders Awareness Hotline (1-800-931-2237)
    • Chicago Eating Recovery Center
    • The Renfrew Center of Chicago

Remember, the journey towards body positivity is not something that happens overnight – it takes work, and setbacks do occur, and that is okay. If you ever would like to talk with someone confidentially, we have resources at the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness. If you’re looking for some guidance to further resources, we can help with this as well. Call us at 773-325-7129, or complete the online intake form on our website (https://offices.depaul.edu/student-affairs/about/departments/Pages/hpw.aspx) to schedule your one on one with one of our professional staff members. Take care of yourself, take care of each other, take care DePaul!


HPW <3


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.

Social Media Cleanse During COVID-19

Hello everybody! Let’s talk COVID-19 x Social Media. Here I will be discussing social media usage during COVID-19 and what I noticed when I cut down on my social media usage for a few days. As COVID-19 continues, it has become obvious that a lot of us are spending more time on our phones and laptops (even TVs) than we used to before. Some of us are perfectly fine with this, and it is working well as a means of keeping in touch and up to date, and others are frustrated with how much time is currently spent on the screen. I fall into the latter category. Because some of my screen time (like work and school initiatives) is non-variable, I decided to change the one aspect of it that is variable for me: my usage for personal purposes, a lot of which involves social media. Keep reading for my personal tips around why cutting down on usage can be helpful as well as how you might go about approaching this!

(Keep in mind, this is not for everybody right now – many of us are far away from loved ones and find social media to be a great tool in helping keep us connected. Many of us tend to use social media as a news source. And for some of us, social media usage and technology usage is simply a means of coping right now – and that is perfectly okay if it’s working for you. If this is the case for you, maybe sometime in the future would be more feasible for a cleanse like this. Or maybe you do a half cleanse now… still use certain platforms but not others, or just use platforms less than you usually would. OR maybe now is the perfect time for a cleanse because you’re sick of all of the screen time. Do what is best for you personally! The following are some ideas that worked for me.)

If you are currently a student like me, not only are you now taking four (or more) online classes, you might also be doing remote work for a job as well. For me, the combination of four different online classes, a remote job in which I engage in 5/7 days of the week, the online search for a job for after graduation, and any personal technology usage outside of these things really adds up! It feels as though my whole life could be lived on the screen right now if I let it get to that place. Which is why I wanted to write this post… and why I took a cleanse from social media for a few days.






For my cleanse, I decided to remove Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok (we all know how encaptivating this one is nowadays) from my phone. For me, it had to be all of these apps, as I wanted to do a full cleanse, and these are the social media apps that I gravitate towards the most on a daily (sometimes even hourly – oops) basis. Initially, I kept the apps fully deleted, but one day in I decided to redownload them, simply turn off all notifications and badges for each of them, and keep them in a folder on the last ‘page’ of my phone where I wouldn’t be as tempted to click on them. The only reason I redownloaded the apps was so that I could check in once or twice a day to stay connected, but still remain mostly off of these apps. I made this decision because I realized that right now – during COVID – it is extremely hard to be completely disconnected from social media as a lot of our interaction with loved ones occurs over social media at this moment in time. Basically, I noticed that I did not want to be completely disconnected from this outlet, as there are many positive aspects to it as well, so I adjusted my cleanse. A big tip of mine: Feel free to adjust at any time if you need to! This is all about what serves YOU best.









Being flexible in this way is important, in my mind, as it leaves more room for ‘process improvement,’ so to speak. I am also a big proponent of the idea of balance in life, so having no access at all to the apps felt a bit extreme to me. Keeping my apps on my phone – just more tucked away – also allowed me to practice having self-control, as I still had access and was forced to make the conscious decision to avoid engaging. Knowing the apps were there in the back of my phone was tempting at some points in time, but I knew I needed to hold out and stay true to my commitment to take a break because of all of the positive aspects that were coming with it. And each time I chose to live in the moment versus go on my social media apps, I felt accomplished.

Let’s now talk about what I noticed by doing this cleanse. And afterwards I’ll provide some tips for those who are interested in trying this as well. Remember, this is not an exhaustive list – there are so many benefits to decreasing screen time/time on social media, and they show differently for everyone.

  • One of the first things that I noticed was an overall increase in wellbeing. By this I mean that I simply just felt better – overall! There could be many reasons as to why this was the case, but I think the things that I am about to mention next were a big part of it.
  • One of these things was that I noticed I felt (and probably was) a lot more in the moment. I really felt present! I felt engaged in life and in interactions with others and myself. I’d go as far as to say that going off of my social media actually increased the mindfulness that I had moving through my days. And we know that there are so many different benefits to mindfulness! The biggest benefit that I see in mindfulness is that you are literally taking back time that is otherwise lost to being the opposite of mindful about life. When you are mindful, you are fully living in every moment and taking it all in completely.
  • Another interesting thing that I noticed was that I started choosing to partake in activities that I might not have otherwise gravitated towards as much before taking a break from social media. I actually felt myself getting more creative in my pursuit of entertainment/stimulation. For instance, I started playing more board games and card games with my family. And I started using the app Duolingo to re-teach myself Spanish. It wasn’t that I wasn’t interested in doing these types of activities before, but it was just so easy to hop on my phone (social media) that I often times wouldn’t even consider trying something else. In this way, I believe that the cleanse actually helped me to expand my mind in a way and increase my creativity as it relates to choosing new and fun activities to engage in. Now, even though I am not on a hiatus from social media anymore, I still choose to participate in these activities that I picked up during my break, and I’m so happy that I have this newfound appreciation for them.
  • Another interesting thing that I noticed had to do with the amount of time I felt I had in a day. Time is something that many of us seem to have a bit of a love/hate relationship with. Many of us feel that in this fast-paced day and age we live in we never have enough time to truly live! I think that often times we genuinely believe we have zero free time in any given day – and for some of us with super busy schedules this might be true at times – but think about the number that is your screen time (this number can usually be found in the settings app of a smartphone) and how much time this takes out of a 24-hour day. Say your screen time each day is 4 hours (out of 24). That is 1/6th of your day lost to staring at a screen versus participating in life outside of the screen. Imagine if you even just cut that number in half and had an extra hour or two to do what you wanted with each day – that’d be so much more time to actually live!

Are you looking to do a cleanse yourself but simply don’t know where to get started? Here are some tips that I found to be helpful in staying true to the commitment to a cleanse:

  • One thing that I found helpful – this I mentioned earlier too – was to put the social media apps in a folder on the last ‘page’ of my phone so that they weren’t as easily accessible; they were ‘out of sight out of mind’ so to speak.
  • Turning off notifications and badges was also so helpful! I cannot emphasize this enough. This made all the difference for me. In the past, it was so easy to feel tempted to go on social media anytime and all the time because there were constantly notifications reminding me that something new was happening. Those little red badges would constantly tell me that I had a new message on Instagram or picture to see on Snapchat. By turning off my notifications and badges I was able to cut down on my usage a lot as I didn’t see everything constantly popping up on my lock screen and, subsequently, wasn’t always automatically checking it – it became a conscious decision to go on an app, and I got to see any updates when I made this decision. I realized that a lot of these updates were not nearly as ‘time sensitive’ as I had labeled them as before and that a lot of them could wait until the end of the day.
  • A caveat here: I think that often times our social media usage can become quite “autopiloted” versus conscious, and so one easy way to cut down on social media usage is to simply become more aware of our usage – this means both being aware of when you are and aren’t going on as well as being aware of whether or not you’re doing so consciously. For some, keeping a journal might even be of value! You could simply log whenever you are going on, for how long, why you decided to go on, and what you were doing in order to become more mindful of your usage (if anything).
  • If you feel comfortable doing so, making an announcement online to others that you will be cutting off/down your usage can be really helpful – this serves as an accountability check. This could be as simple as making an Instagram story (or any other equivalent) that says something along the lines of, “Taking a break from social media for a few days [or weeks if you choose] – if you need to contact me, shoot me a text instead.” Putting out a message like this can also save you from the stressful thought that perhaps others will think you’re ignoring them, or the stress that you might miss an important message from a loved one. (You can also just reach out to the individuals who would be most likely to contact you and just let them know to reach out via a phone call or text message instead.)
  • Making an announcement to friends and family that you tend to see on a regular basis can also be quite helpful (& is something you could do instead of making one online if you don’t feel as comfortable doing that) – these people can help check you if they see you spending a lot of time on your phone!

Well, that is all I have for now. I hope that at least one of these tips and tricks rings true with you! If now is a time that you would like to do a cleanse as well – just remember, we all have different needs… do what’s right for you and adjust when needed! Balance in life is important.


Lauren at HPW




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.


Wellness Wednesday – Healthy Relationships

Hello everybody! Welcome back to yet another Wellness Wednesday blog post from yours truly, the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness (and our guest speakers at Mission and Ministry!). If you’d like to view the video version of this Wellness Wednesday click here, otherwise read on!






This Wellness Wednesday we were lucky enough to have Mission and Ministry join us for a conversation around healthy relationships during COVID-19. Keep reading for a look into Vinny and Louise’s relationship and how it relates to the times (Mission and Ministry) as well as some of HPW’s tips for maintaining healthy relationships during quarantine!

A message from Mission and Ministry: “You’ve hopefully learned some stories about Vincent and Louise during your time at DePaul. We don’t always talk about the collaborative relationship they had – this dynamic duo that we celebrate today shaped each other to be the leaders that we remember them to be. Vincent would not be Vincent if it were not for Louise’s leadership, and Louise would not have discovered her true purpose and calling if she had not first been sent forth by Vincent. This dynamic duo has much to teach us about healthy relationships.”

“So, learning from Vincent and Louise, what are some things we can do to ensure we are practicing holistic care and being in right relationships with one another?”

  • “We are not meant to balance everything at the same time! Sometimes we need to take off one of our hats and focus on another one.”
  • Boundary setting is something that Vincent and Louise helped each other to do well: “Before addressing any business, Louise and Vincent would take the time to check in with each other. Their letters show that they were not only professional collaborators, but personable friends as well. They would do check-ins asking each other how they were and how their health was doing. Vincentians recognize that healthy relationships are essential for carrying out a shared vision. We can’t do it alone!”
  • Authentic collaboration takes work – it takes listening, building relationships, understanding where someone is coming from, putting ourselves in others’ shoes, letting go of our agenda, failing, picking ourselves back up and trying again, apologizing and asking for forgiveness. It means being vulnerable and courageous and speaking your truth with love.”
  • Read on to hear more about boundary setting and healthy relationships from HPW!

When we discuss healthy relationships during COVID-19, it might be helpful to break this into two categories: 1) How to maintain healthy relationships and boundaries while living in close quarters with others at home, and 2) How to stay connected with friends and family who are miles away from home. The first section of HPW’s advice below will cover this first point, and the second half will cover the latter point. Read on, reader!


What does a healthy relationship at home look like during COVID-19?

First and foremost, it is important to acknowledge that everyone’s living situation looks different right now. Some of us are staying with family, some are staying with roommates, some are staying with a partner, and some even have kids at home to deal with! Some of us may be staying alone in isolation – away from family and friends. And some may be dealing with a toxic home environment. Understanding that we are all coming from different places is important as it can allow us to have more empathy towards each other’s situations and realize that everyone is struggling in a different way (and can use support in a different way).


Second of all, it is important to take care of yourself first! It can be tough to give yourself to others/be in relationships with others when you haven’t had a chance to show yourself some love first. That’s why right now, especially, it is important to show yourself some love and care. What does this look like? Here are some tips: make sure you are getting a good night’s rest (see our previous blog for tips on refreshing your sleep), get outside, take a shower and do some skincare, eat healthy foods – you get the idea. Humans are sort of like plants, we need sunshine, water, and nutrients too! Remembering these three simple tenets makes for a healthy day. If possible, try to do at least one thing per day that is just plain fun, like doing yoga, savoring your morning coffee, playing a board game, or reading a chapter of a good book.







Another important tenet to relationships right now (and always) is boundary setting. Now especially it is important to create your boundaries and stick to them. Living in such close quarters with loved ones can be very enjoyable, but it can also be very tricky. Without any boundaries, we tend to get worn down over time, and don’t always show up as the best versions of ourselves. Remember, boundaries look different for everyone. Perhaps your sister is better at spending constant time socializing with your family, but maybe you need a little more alone time – don’t let anybody make you feel bad for this – we are all different, and as long as we use respect when setting boundaries, it’s no harm no foul! One way of upholding boundaries can simply be creating a physical space to spend time by yourself every once and a while. Find space in your house for your own personal time. If you have a big family and/or no privacy, take morning walks by yourself or with a pet. Take time to collect yourself and spend time with your own thoughts. Sometimes when we constantly spend time around others, we lose track of what it is that is going on in our own minds – it is important to revive this by spending some time alone, no matter how extraverted you are.

If quarantine is proving to be a really tough time for you and you are struggling to maintain a healthy living situation during all of this, seek support. Although they do look different now, resources are still available to you. The Office of Health Promotion and Wellness is still taking virtual appointments via Zoom. Feel free to call us at 773-325-7129 or complete the online intake form on our website (https://offices.depaul.edu/student-affairs/about/departments/Pages/hpw.aspx) to schedule your one on one with one of our professional staff members. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is still up and running as well at 1-800-799-7233. If you are unable to speak on the phone without being overheard, you can also text LOVEIS to 22522. If you would simply like to chat with HPW about more resources at your disposal during this tough time, we are available for that as well via appointment at the contact information mentioned above.


What does it look like to maintain healthy relationships while social distancing?

Having a tough time staying connected with loved ones who are farther away or not in your house during COVID-19? You’ve come to the right place. The following are some tips for finding community and connection during this virtual reality we are currently living in.

  • Missing loved ones who live farther away? Set up a recurring zoom call with friends or family. Having a set time each week to talk can provide you with something to look forward to! It doesn’t need to be long if you’re not up for it – even just seeing loved one’s faces briefly can help light up a day or week!
  • If it’s possible in the state that you are living in currently, you can do outdoor activities with others who live nearby, but at a distance, such as going on walks at a 6 feet distance from each other, or putting out lawn chairs to sit and chat outside – just keep your distance here as well.
  • If you miss being able to sit with a loved one and watch a movie or show together, you can use Netflix Party to watch shows at the exact same time while having access to a chat bar as well. You could even Zoom during a show or a movie so that you can have live reactions to it as well! Simply share your screen, mute yourselves when the show/movie is going, and pause to have conversation in between.
  • If you’re someone who misses having in person intellectual conversations with others, you could have a virtual book club with a friend or family member. Simply read the same book at the same time and have periodic Zoom calls with discussion questions to chat about after each chapter or so!
  • If you’re done with so much screen time, but still looking for a meaningful way to stay in touch with loved ones, send notes in the mail. This can be such a nice surprise, especially during these tough times. If you have a printer at home, you could even print out pictures of yourself with the person you’re sending a note to and include those as well!
  • Another kind gesture to a family member or friend who lives nearby could be leaving a baked good, a note, a small art project, or a small gift on a friend’s doorstep for them to find later on.
  • Does one of your loved ones have a birthday during these tough times? If they live nearby you, have a drive by parade for them with signs on each car! If they live farther away, throw a virtual party for them. Reach out to their loved ones and schedule a Zoom call for a specific time – have everyone show up with drinks (of any kind) to ‘cheers’ the person on their special day! You can even incorporate some kind words by having everyone prepare a small speech about that person ahead of time, if you would like.
  • If you are tired of living in our current reality, make some future plans with pals. Obviously, some details will need to be left out for now, as booking travel and hotels is a no go currently, but you can plan generally for where you might want to go and what you might want to do when all of this is over!
  • Simply looking to have some fun and take a break from it all? Kick back with a virtual game night complete with snacks, drinks… the whole 9 yards. Trivia games are easy ones to play via Zoom, but get creative and come up with some other game ideas as well!

Again, it is important to remember that boundaries are still important, even when it comes to online relationships (check out our blog on establishing healthy boundaries for tips on this!).

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for joining us! Hopefully at least one of these tips regarding healthy relationships during COVID-19 has resonated with you. Again, if you are struggling to cope right now and are seeking some support, our office is always here as a resource. Feel free to call us at 773-325-7129 or complete the online intake form on our website (https://offices.depaul.edu/student-affairs/about/departments/Pages/hpw.aspx) to schedule your one on one with one of our professional staff members. Hang in there everybody! We will get through this – together!