As we transition from late fall into winter, the season ushers in a number of holidays and the challenge to have a healthy holiday season. We asked campus nurse J. “Pan” Reich RN, EMT-P, BS, WCC, LMT about dealing with stress, whether from exams, our workload, or just the holiday season in general; how to protect ourselves, especially as some of us travel this season; and what to do to protect ourselves when we might end up feeling pressured into attending family gatherings. Whether it is stress or the ongoing pandemic, Pan always has some tips to help us keep our wellness in mind. Reach out to Pan if you have any questions.
Caring for ourselves will help us stay warm and healthy, and make it to spring as well as possible.
Dealing With Stress
It’s really so easy to allow the needs for self-care to be set aside as we manage the urgent issues that are screaming to be managed right now! And, our bodies and minds are designed to be able to do that, but only for a limited amount of time before we begin to suffer physical, mental and emotional symptoms.
Do you need to pull an all-nighter to prepare for an exam? If needs must, then do what you must, but I encourage you to actually schedule activities the following day to put energy back into your bank of reserves. Whether it be a short hike in Glen Helen, calling or spending time with a friend who lifts you up, a delightful afternoon nap, playing music, working out, yoga; it’s important that you identify activities that add to your energy reserves, those activities that, “feed your muse,” and to accept that they are equally important as anything else that you schedule into your busy life.
In the meantime, eat good foods, get at least seven hours of sleep and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Over the last eight months we’ve learned quite a lot about how COVID is most easily transmitted from one person to another and the vast majority of transference cases have occurred from direct contact. This means, the virus traveled on microscopic mucus droplets out of an infected person’s nose or mouth and into another person’s nose or mouth. Whether this occurs is dependent on distance, force of breathing, and length of time of contact. We also learned that we shed and receive more virus from our noses than from our mouths.
- Wear a mask consistently, covering both nose and mouth, when anywhere near other people.
- Even if both people are wearing a mask, because not all masks are created equal, stay at least six feet from others whenever possible.
- When one must be closer than 6six feet, wear a mask and limit the time you are close to as short a period of time as possible.
- Lastly, for those within your “COVID Bubble,” (meaning those you live with or have close relationships with whom you don’t distance or wear masks around) have a conversation with those loved ones about pledging to use responsible and safe practices around others so that none of you brings the virus into this shared “COVID Bubble.”
This can be a very challenging issue to find a balance between being safe and being kind and respectful to our families and loved ones!
Becoming sick from the virus, and how sick we become, is partially dependent upon the amount of virus that gets inside of us. So, every minute that you can decrease being less than six feet from someone, with or without masks, is helpful.
If Grandma insists on hugging you, face away from her, hold your breath, give a loving squeeze, then step away with a warm smile.
Typically these family members may not be part of your household or part of your, “COVID Bubble,” and you may not know how safe they have been or even if they’re currently experiencing symptoms or have a fever. Try to sit near those within your immediate family whom you know are safe.
Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer, before and after touching any shared hard surface and before/after touching your face.
We want to be safe, yet we want to live our lives too; managing this pandemic requires that we find a balance.
J. “Pan” Reich RN, EMT-P, BS, WCC, LMT is Antioch College’s campus nurse. Together with the campus physician, they offer compassionate and non-judgmental family practice type care here on Antioch’s campus in the first floor of Pennell House.