The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic created anxieties and uncertainties in our daily lives. No aspect of our lives was not impacted, including our role as educators. Part of your FurmanFlex toolkit should involve intentional strategies to maintain self-care and balance. Faculty support services remain fully functional under any instructional scenario. This includes colleagues here to support your technical challenges, your pedagogical development, and your personal health and wellbeing.
Additional Support Available
A variety of direct support resources are also available to you. This includes:
- Office of Spiritual Life
- Employee Assistance Program, including free counseling services
- Mental Health and Wellness Support for Furman employees
- Cothran Center Reflections and Exercises page
- HR information about resources and assistance in Greenville County
Notable Tips, Tools, & Resources
We’ve curated the short list below of information, tools, and resources to support your ongoing work-life balance and stress-coping strategies:
- Science of Wellbeing: In this course you will engage in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. As preparation for these tasks, Professor Laurie Santos reveals misconceptions about happiness, annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do, and the research that can help us change.
- Psychological Effects of COVID-19: Explore the significance of our current experience through this Employee Assistance Program webinar on The Psychological Effects of COVID-19.
- Avoiding Academic Burnout: While written pre-COVID, this Chronicle article suggests several strategies to avoid academic burnout including “prioritize sleep over class prep”.
- Pandemic Burnout: Thoughts from Rebecca Pope-Ruark at Georgia Tech about burnout in the pandemic including the questions she asks herself to gauge/unearth when she is approaching “imbalance”.
- Preventing Loneliness: With increasing numbers of people isolated because of quarantine and social distancing, this article reminds us that COVID-19 is not the only public health threat we should be worried about – loneliness is one as well.
- Stress & Motivation: If you’d like to settle in with a short video clip instead, here is a list of ten Ted Talks about productivity, stress, motivation, and other career and life balancing goals.
- Coping Through Acceptance and Change: An infographic reminding of us what we can change and therefore can strive to accept through mindfulness and other strategies.
- Managing Stress Associated with the COVID-19 Virus Outbreak: The COVID-19 outbreak has the potential to increase stress and anxiety, both because of the fear of catching the virus and also because of uncertainty about how the outbreak will affect us socially and economically. The National Center for PTSD provides practical steps you can take to improve your wellbeing.
- Tips @ Furman: The FDC recently hosted a Coffee and Conversation Chat on work-life balance during a pandemic to crowd-source a number of ideas for how to care for ourselves and our community during this stressful period of global uncertainty. You can find the presentation slides and notes for that conversation here.
- Systemic Work-Life Adjustments: Although you have agency in maintaining your balance during the pandemic, we also recognize that systemic changes are needed to support work-life balance as a whole. You might find some of the research and ideas from The Boston College Center for Work and Family useful as we think about this in our own community.
- Building a Resilience Bank Account: Understanding our feelings of depletion and exhaustion may help us find ways to build our “resilience bank account” according to this article in the publication Elemental.
Suggestions From Our Community
What have members of our community being doing to stay active and engaged during the pandemic? How are they dealing with the stress of living and teaching during a pandemic? Several ideas shared by colleagues are noted below:
- Start a Garden: Modern Farmer has three simple ideas to kick-start a home garden with minimal investment. If you don’t have seeds, the Greenville County Library’s Seed Library has you covered, and will send a few seed varieties directly to you at home.
- Learn a New Wellness Routine: While free virtual exercise resources abound, ranging from yoga and dance to high intensity interval training, you might also consider how to move “creactively” during your time at home.
- Limit News Updates: Designate 10 minutes once or twice a day to check reliable sources for news updates. Turn off push notifications about the news on your phone. Put limits on how much time you spend and what sort of interactions you have on social media.
- Contribute to Citizen Science: Zooniverse is a citizen science web portal that is home to many of the internet’s most successful citizen science projects, some of which you can participate in at home! Speaking of citizen science, you can do so by birding from your porch or window. Learn more about the birds in your backyard and contribute to real-time avian population data.
- Connect With Other Parents: For ideas and more tips see this Harvard Business Review article.
- Get Outside: Have a picnic, go camping, or create art with found objects all in your backyard. If you have children, consider projects like these that include weekly printable kits to explore the outdoor world right where you are.
- Meditate Virtually: A host of short and more lengthy guided meditations are available online, allowing you, at any point of the day, to stop for one, five, or ten minutes to sit with your thoughts or breathing. This 15 minute meditation on releasing frustration may be a good place to start.
- Write or Journal: Take a bit of time each day to record your experiences or use the Pandemic Project website, a writing aid developed by a psychology professor with expertise in helping people cope with difficult situations.
Have an idea or a resource you’d like to share? Want to organize a group self-care opportunity or activity? Let us know!