Reedies, thank you! You have worked hard to keep us safe—your classmates and professors, the on-campus staff, your health care team, and the larger community. Some of you did this by staying home, and that wasn’t probably what you had in mind for your time as a Reed student. Some of you did it by showing up repeatedly for saliva testing, answering our emails and phone calls, being upfront with us about symptoms, and following mask-wearing and hand-washing guidelines. You’ve done an amazing job so far: Reed is doing just fine. None of this has been easy, and we are safer because of you, taking care of one another.
For this and many other reasons, 2020 has been a difficult year for people. Taking care of friends, family, and community – both physically and emotionally – is draining. Winter is dark and cold (in Portland especially). COVID-19 has disrupted our normal routines and left everyone isolated from our support systems. You’ve done so much for others—are you remembering to take care of you?
Here are some basic ways to keep your body and mind well through the season:
Go outside. Even if it’s cold and wet, fresh outdoor air, physical activity, and sunlight are good medicine. Even ten or twenty minutes helps. Prescription: a winter coat.
Go to sleep. I see lots of patients who have trouble sleeping, and here’s what I say first: Go to bed at the same time every day. Stop drinking coffee after lunch. Move your body, preferably in the morning and outside. Practice separating “work time” and “relaxing time”. Stop looking at screens in bed. Prescription: a good book.
Feed yourself. All bodies need nutrients, but not all food provides a lot of them. Did you eat some vegetables today? Maybe some fruit? There are lots of styles of eating out there, and you do what works for you—just make sure you get some fresh stuff, and lots of color. Prescription: something green.
Make connections. Anyone else miss touching people? Human connection is a powerful source of well-being, but it’s harder to come by recently. It might take some intentional work to find closeness in a safe way. Maybe you talk to an old friend. Maybe you snuggle your pet guinea pig. Maybe you spend some time alone, reconnecting with your body. Prescription: a pet, a pandemic partner, or a vibrator.
Get help. Sometimes, things aren’t right, and you need help. Something off with your body? With your mental health? No judgement. Get help! The HCC is here throughout the break with in person and telehealth appointments for people who are in Oregon (check the website for hours). We can also help you find a provider at home if you’re away. Prescription: phone a friend.
Stay well, Reed community. I appreciate you! Wash your hands, mask up, and have a restful break.