Within the last few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged prior communal and individual notions of sustainability – environmentally, personally, practically, professionally, and in a myriad number of additional ways. What we can and cannot control has also likely shifted. The effects of continued racism and other forms of hateful oppression can greatly exacerbate these difficulties.
All of this can take a toll on our wellbeing. As we begin a new academic year in a new and seemingly ever-changing time, self-care can be a vital component for the 8 dimensions of wellness.
In particular, Connecting within and outside our communities; Organizing resources and time; Practicing coping strategies and taking self-care Pauses; as well as Engaging in self-informing can be ways to manage the numerous stressors of the pandemic.
We’ve complied the following resources to help you COPE with some of the challenges we face in present times. Though self-care is a practice, when possible, try to imagine the experience as something enjoyable not as a chore or task.
C: Connect and Community
Sustaining communication with our loved ones and others within community can have benefits to our wellness. Likewise, engaging in volunteering efforts can not only help others but also add enhance our own well-being. Below are some resources regarding connection and community:
- Pitt Commons: Students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Pitt can utilize this platform to network and create meaningful mentoring relationships tailored to interests and professional goals.
- PITT ARTS and Center for Creativity: Develop and hone your creativity utilizing these different Pitt resources
- Keep connected by checking out these Downtown Pittsburgh events and events throughout the region.
- There are many ways to volunteer, and you can find ways to assist our community during this global health crisis on the Community Portal. You can also find other ways to volunteer and participate in civic engagement throughout the Pittsburgh region.
- Spending time with friends, family, and other supports while following social distancing guidelines can be helpful. A Zoom call with family, a virtual dinner date with friends, hopping onto your favorite gaming system or platform to play games with friends, or even signing up for a virtual paint night or other online event as noted above. Be creative and have fun!
O: Organize and Optimize
Whether you are working from home, in-person, or a combination, staying organized and optimally prioritizing where you put your time and energy can be a task in and of itself. We want to acknowledge that obstacles and forces, such as resource access, that can make time management more challenging for folx.
LinkedIn through Pitt has a collection of resources that may be helpful to fulfill responsibilities on time and even get ahead of them.
In the spirit and practice of efficiently managing time, this section is intentionally more brief.
P: Practice and Pause
Self-care is very individualized and may vary person to person. Regardless, self-care is an important dimension of life that can help us to sustain energy and recharge – particularly if stress levels are high. Very importantly, self-care is not selfish, it is self-restorative, and can be along the physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions.
Everyone has a limit, and additional support can be helpful in navigating challenges. Below is a list of hotlines and other crisis-support resources.
- reSolve Crisis Services is a free 24/7 crisis hotline available to Allegheny County residents.
- Crisis Text Line is a free, text-based crisis hotline available for use nationwide.
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free national crisis hotline service available 24/7.
- Veteran’s Crisis Line a free 24/7 crisis line for veterans, offering both chat and phone options.
- The Trevor Project, which focuses on crisis services for LGBTQ+ identified individuals, and Trans Life Line which focuses on supporting trans people.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline is a 24/7 hotline focusing on supporting and helping those who are experiencing relationship violence or abuse.
- The U.S. Office of Health and Human Services has compiled a list of crises resources, including a disaster distress hotline.
- Life Solutions is a free faculty and staff assistance program with various resources for work life support including 24/7 Crisis Contact information.
- Life Solutions is a free faculty and staff assistance program with various resources for work life support (including online!), counseling and coaching services, and 24/7 Crisis Contact information.
- There are numerous apps to support mental wellness including Head Space.
- Allegheny County Office of Behavioral Health provides support for Allegheny County residents who are in need of alcohol and other substance use or mental health support or services.
- Steel Smiling Pgh is a community organization providing mental health-focused programming, support, and advocacy for and with the local Black communities.
- The CDC has created a COVID-19 Mental Health and Coping resource page.
- SAMSHA has created a Tip Sheet that explores how to navigate coping with social distancing, quarantine, and isolation.
- Be Fit Pitt is known for their fitness classes and services, but they have also added a series of free work out videos available on YouTube that you can do anytime and anywhere.
- Pitt’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion has compiled numerous religious and spiritual resources including both University and community resources.
- University of Pittsburgh Library System and Pitt’s Office of Human Resources have compiled many community resources including those to help with rent/utilities, housing, food banks, family support and mental wellness.
- Wellness for Life offered through Office of Human Resources is a one-stop resource for a variety of wellness services—from quitting smoking to mental wellness and even occupational wellness!
- Healthy Lifestyles through UPMC provides information and support for physical and mental well-being.
- Pittsburgh Mutual Aid has compiled resources for assistance with food, housing, mental wellness, family, and other support.
- PittSustainability: learn more about ways to initiate and continue sustainability practices even during the pandemic.
Diversity, Social Justice, and Multicultural Resources:
- The Office of Diversity and Inclusion offers many resources, support, trainings and events including information about making a report if someone were to experience bias or harassment.
- As possible, consider becoming involved in a Community, Committee, and/or another University Initiative
- Pitt’s Counseling Center has compiled Racial Trauma and Self-Care, LGBTQIA+ Resources, and numerous other diversity resources
- Visit Disability Resources and Services to learn more about accessibility and accommodations at Pitt.
- Steel Smiling Pgh is a community organization providing mental health-focused programming, support, and advocacy for the local Black communities.
- Within the community there are several LGBTQIA+ resources and organizations including SisTers PGH, BroThers PGH, TRANS BUDDY PGH, PFLAG, and the PGH Equality Center.
E: Engage and Educate:
Staying engaged and taking time to educate yourself about COVID-19 can be valuable in staying safe, keeping connected, and affirming your wellbeing. Remember, though, it is okay to “pause” and take a break from the news and social media to practice self-care (please refer to above resources), too!
The following resources contain information about COVID-19, as the pandemic relates to Pitt, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and more generally:
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania information: includes information about symptoms, testing, and COVID-19 prevalence data throughout Pennsylvania.
Phone and Online Support Related to COVID-19: includes 24/7 hotline, online recovery meetings, and more general support information.
Allegheny County Health Department Information: Offers comprehensive information about COVID-19 prevalence, testing, and resources.
Power of Pitt: Building a Healthy and Resilient Community: provides comprehensive information about the pandemic as it relates to the University of Pittsburgh