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Health and Wellbeing

NAVIGATING THROUGH COVID-19

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When things feel uncertain or when we don’t generally feel safe, it’s normal to feel stressed. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. You may feel sad, confused, scared or angry as you navigate things like social distancing**, quarantine, or isolation. In stressful times, it can be helpful to separate the things you can control and those you cannot. Practicing self-care empowers us to take control of our physical, emotional, and mental health.
Navigating Through COVID-19 PDF Resource
**A note: “Social distancing” is being talked about a lot right now.  But here’s the thing: in a community like ours, where we value being close to one another, social distancing sounds like the opposite of who we are as Flyers.  So we are going to call it “physical distancing”.  Keep being social. FaceTime.  Zoom. Skype. Text message.  DM.  Snail mail.  Keep talking to one another. Support one another. Be there. Check in.  But do it from 6 feet away!

We want to help you have a better understanding of three key things:

1. What's actually going on?
2. Why is this so hard?
3. What can I do?

WHAT’S ACTUALLY GOING ON?

The Problem: COVID-19

KNOW THE FACTS: There is a lot of misinformation out there right now about COVID-19.  Be sure to use the same critical eye on sources for this that you would use when writing a literature review for class.  Is it written by someone with relevant certifications (RN, MD, PhD in a relevant field)?  Is it sponsored by a reliable source (CDC, state government)?  The ultimate goal right now is to prevent transmission, recognize symptoms, and take action when needed.  To get you started with some reliable information, here are some thoughts from UD’s own experts in the Health Center:

Recognize that it could impact you.

More and more reports are showing that COVID-19 is impacting young people in significantly more ways than previously stated.  Take your health seriously, recognizing that this is impacting all people, regardless of age, race, sex, gender identity, health status or socioeconomic/financial status.

Practice physical distancing: Place 6 feet (2 meters) between you and others. 

If you feel sick, stay home.  You can still interact with your friends – now is the time to get creative with communication.  Maybe stream a video game on Discord or Twitch, use FaceTime, call a friend on the phone, or use the many social media platforms that are available. 

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

Immediately discard any tissue used, do not save used tissue for later use.

Sleep. 

Getting adequate sleep can boost your immune system.  Sleep allows your body to repair.  It is recommended you sleep 7 to 9 hours nightly. 

Eat a well-balanced diet. 

Try to focus on these 5 food groups:  vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, and dairy.  Avoid excessive carbohydrates and processed foods.  Stay hydrated.  Drink water.  Avoid sugary beverages and excessive caffeine.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands or after touching surfaces. 

You should clean/disinfect all “high touch” surfaces daily with Clorox or Lysol Wipes.  What is a high touch surface?  Cell phones, laptops, keyboards, tablets, counters, tables, doorknobs, drawer handles, light switches, toilets, and faucet handles.


Updated 4.6.2020

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. A significant portion of those with coronavirus are “asymptomatic” — or they lack symptoms —  and can transmit the virus to others even before or without showing symptoms. Your community may have different requirements than what the CDC is recommending, so be sure that those requirements are adhered to accordingly.

Remember, maintaining 6-feet physical distancing is still important, but the CDC also advises the use of a simple cloth face covering to help stop the spread of the virus! Questions? Head over to the CDC's "Frequently Asked Questions" page.


The answer is YES, and you can show your Flyer Spirit while doing so!  Clean hands can save lives.  You should wash your hands before, during, and after preparing food, before eating food, after using the toilet, after touching your face, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.  Washing your hands with soap and water is the preferred method.  You do not need to use antibacterial soap.  Any soap is good to use. Be sure to wash the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails. Only use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.  Hand sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs. 

Wash your hands for 20 seconds – which is equivalent to singing one verse of the Go Dayton Flyers chant, “Goooo Dayton Flyers! Goooo Dayton Flyers! D-A-Y-T-O-N Dayton...Flyers...GO UD!” 


The most common symptoms are fever (temperature of 100.4 F (38.0 C) or greater), cough, and shortness of breath.  Symptoms will usually occur 2-14 days after exposure. Here are some emergency warning signs that require immediate medical attention:  difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, inability to awaken, bluish lips or face. Call 911! 


Stay home and stay away from others. 

If you live with family or friends, consider making a “sick room” and dedicate a bathroom for your use only, if this is an option. 

Call your family doctor to review your symptoms with a nurse or medical assistant. 

Many physician offices are treating patients over the phone or via telehealth instead of bringing patients to the office to help avoid spreading the virus. 

There is currently no treatment for COVID-19. 

If you are mildly ill, your physician will instruct you to isolate and care for yourself at home.


WHY IS THIS SO HARD?

The Challenge : This is really tough for lots of reasons

LIVING THROUGH A PANDEMIC IS NOT EASY, AND IT WILL IMPACT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH. It can feel really overwhelming when it seems that we have control over so little. The reality is that you do have control, particularly over your own behavior and choices over these upcoming weeks.  Check out these tips below from UD counselors on how to tackle your mental health during a pandemic head on.

  • Intense or unpredictable feelings
  • Changes to thoughts and behavior patterns
  • Sensitivity to environmental factors
  • Strained interpersonal relationships
  • Stress-related physical symptoms

  • Give yourself time to adjust
  • Ask for support from people who care about you and who will listen and empathize with you
  • Communicate your experience
  • Utilize prayer or resources from your faith tradition
  • Engage in healthy behaviors to enhance your ability to cope with stress
  • Establish routines
  • Avoid making major life decisions
  • Keep things in perspective
  • Maintain a hopeful outlook
  • Find a mindfulness activity that resonates with you

…is one way to help stay grounded when things feel beyond your control. Popular meditation apps Calm and Headspace have both released free digital offerings to help individuals cope with anxiety and panic.

Folks deal with stress in lots of ways!  Check out this list of apps that could help you begin a mindfulness routine.


When experiencing adversity, like a pandemic, using humor to cope can allow you to survive and grow.  Laughter is usually relaxing, so let it happen!  Do the things you love to do, even if they seem absurd to others.  Find ways to be playful throughout the day.  Tell jokes.  Watch a funny video.  Play with your pet.  Send a meme to a friend.  Find what makes you laugh and smile, and add more of it into your life. These strategies will help you enjoy this unique time that we have at home to recenter and find our purpose.


WHAT CAN I DO?

The Hope: A resource for how we can rise above this experience

ASK YOURSELF: WHAT’S THE NEXT RIGHT THING?
Have you watched Frozen 2 yet?  (If not, please pause here and go do this.  We will wait.)  One of the key songs in this movie focuses on that moment when you feel hopeless, and don’t know what to do to make a situation better.  The answer?  Just do the next right thing.  There are lots of “right things” to do right now, that will not only help your mental health, but will keep others safe.  So what’s the next right thing that you can do right now?

So what’s the next right thing?

This “right thing” will save lives.  It can be hard to do because it feels like we aren’t doing anything to help this situation.  But the reality is that by staying home, you are helping keep your community healthy by stopping the spread of the virus. You are helping the doctors and nurses have one fewer case and doing your part to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system. You are protecting yourself from being exposed to the virus. That IS doing something. Embrace it. 


Stay informed but avoid excessive exposure to media coverage. It is important to get good information to help you prepare and respond, but don’t overwhelm yourself or your family with information. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media.

Get information from a trusted source, such as coronavirus.ohio.gov or by calling the Ohio COVID-19 call center at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

Make time to unwind. Try taking in deep breaths. Keep participating in hobbies/activities that do not expose you to close contact with others, such as enjoying a nature walk. Draw on skills you have used in the past that have helped you to manage life's previous adversities and use those skills during the challenging time of this outbreak.


Maintaining social networks can foster a sense of normality and provide opportunities to share feelings and relieve stress. Maintain connections through talking on the phone, texting or chatting with people on social media. You can do this.  One step at a time.  The Flyer Family believes in you!


You don’t have to be at the RecPlex to get moving! Remember that 30 minutes of exercise daily increases your mental and physical health, and it’s important to move every couple of hours to limit the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Check out UD Campus Recreation’s Instagram for tips and tricks to working out at home, or look up some of these online resources to fit 30 minutes of exercise into your day!


The great outdoors is always open and provides an excellent boost for your mental and physical health. A daily dose of sunlight provides mood and energy boosting vitamin D. A breath of fresh air and mindful focus on the sights and sounds of nature reduce stress and anxiety. Check out these ideas to stay active outdoors, beat cabin fever, and improve your health all while maintaining physical distancing:

  • Take a walk! It is amazing what you will see when you slow down and look around. Increase your social connection by catching up with a friend over the phone during your walk.
  • Ride a bike! Use the Google Maps bike setting to plan your route and hit the pavement. You will burn calories, tour your town, and have fun.
  • Go for a run! The cardio benefits of running outdoors supersede those of your treadmill workout. Lace up your runners and go.
  • Strength train using natural features! Use a bench for dips or box jumps, run stairs and get creative with household items (start with a water bottle or jug) for use as weights.  
  • Enjoy your (or your parents’) yard! Pass a ball or Frisbee with family members, get crafty with sidewalk chalk, or get to work in the garden. All of these get you active, moving, and laughing.

RESOURCES

JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN’T SIT IN OUR OFFICES RIGHT NOW DOESN’T MEAN WE AREN’T HERE TO SUPPORT YOU! UD faculty and staff are here to provide safe spaces through Zoom, phone, and email.  Consider reaching out to any student support office. Here are a few places that are a great first step:


As COVID-19 affects the respiratory system, individuals who smoke or vape may be at increased risk of complications. As social connection is an important foundational piece of recovery, utilizing technology can be an alternative to face-to-face meetings during this time. Consider exploring these virtual recovery meeting options:


LGBTQ+ young adults are at higher risk of experiencing stigma than their non-LGBTQ+ peers. The daily weight of this stigma (including discrimination, harassment, family disapproval, social rejection, and violence) increases the risk of negative health outcomes (cdc.gov, 2020). With the isolation this stigma often creates, LGBTQ+ students practicing physical distancing may feel even more isolated. While many LGBTQ+ students have supportive families, some LGBTQ+ students may be stuck in close quarters with family who may not understand or support their identities or may not have reliable places to go. If you or a friend are experiencing this additional isolation or other concerns, please visit go.udayton.edu/lgbtq to find supportive places to turn.


The Step Care Model is a tool at UD to help you think about your mental health. We are all on a journey with our own mental health, and some days are better than others. In those moments when you are doing well, how do you maintain that?  Are you practicing self-care, building your community, and developing your skills so that you are more prepared during tough times?  If things start to get more challenging, are you talking about what’s bothering you and using your resources for support?  If life feels overwhelming, are you accepting assistance and support and seeking immediate help when needed?  

To seek out help from others is one of the greatest strengths out there. It shows that you value yourself and your community by prioritizing what you need in order to be happy and well.  You can’t pour from an empty cup, and you can’t help anyone through this pandemic if you aren’t taking care of yourself first.  Use this tool to help you think of creative ways to build your own wellbeing during this time.


The Step Care Model PDF

A Final Note

This experience might be more challenging for you than your friends for many reasons. Maybe you are far from home or from family at this time due to travel restrictions or financial reasons. Perhaps you are dating someone back on campus, and being away is hard. Maybe you are struggling with an addiction and your family doesn’t know. Maybe you identify as LGBTQ+ and you don’t have support at home. Perhaps you are going home to an unhealthy environment, or maybe another identity that you have, such as having a disability, being a veteran, or struggling with mental health, is shaping your experience in other ways.  Know that the faculty and staff at UD are still here for you via Zoom, phone, and email.  Please reach out to us.  We want to help you make this transition feel easier.  Let us help you.

 

Housed within the Division of Student Development, University of Dayton Health and Wellbeing is comprised of the Brook Center, Campus Recreation, Center for Alcohol and Other Drugs Resources and Education, Counseling Center and Health Center. If you have any questions that we may answer for you during this time, please send us an email at healthandwellbeing@udayton.edu.

CONTACT

Division of Student Development

937-229-3682
Email