Resources for Individuals During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Self-care & Wellbeing
The effects of the virus that causes COVID-19 are more broad than the symptoms of illness. Even individuals that aren’t sick are employing social distancing in an effort to slow the spread and decrease the impact of this respiratory illness. Social distancing and the closing of many of our usual social outlets (such as bars, restaurants, and gyms) can affect our wellbeing and our usual self-care strategies.
It’s important to make sure you’re getting enough sleep and not spending an excessive amount of time using digital devices. While we recognize that these devices are the only way many of us are able to stay in touch with friends and family or get our work accomplished, it is important to take breaks from our screens for other activities. Health sleep hygiene includes going to bed and waking up at regular times – even if your work and life schedules have shifted. You may also want to keep work outside your bedroom to maintain a distraction-free bedroom.
There are many options for activities at home that will help you maintain a positive outlook on the future. Many exercise options are available without the need for gym equipment. These options include online exercise classes and yoga. You can also spend time reading, listening to audiobooks, or practicing mindfulness. We’ve put together several resources that may enable to you maintain your self-care routines and improve your wellbeing.
Free resources for self-care:
Free public domain e-books: https://www.gutenberg.org/
Free public domain audiobooks: https://librivox.org/
Mindfulness mediation: https://www.headspace.com/covid-19
Information on healthy sleep habits: https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/sleep-and-mental-health
Online book clubs (www.Goodreads.com has many others!): https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/58421-2020-reading-challenge
Online YMCA classes: https://ymca360.org/
10 minute audio-guided yoga: http://lararomeo.com/yoga-lala-on-alexa/
Charity Miles app: https://charitymiles.org/; PMHW team
Corepower Yoga on demand videos free during pandemic: https://www.corepoweryogaondemand.com/keep-up-your-practice?fbclid=IwAR06C9bvdKTKSVl4yuf9nTwj-G4xJv6iSoR6w6yODgNytNzRDvi_AU9fI0A
Mental Health & Substance Use
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger (CDC).
It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during and after a disaster. Everyone reacts differently, and your own feelings will change over time. Notice and accept how you feel. Taking care of your emotional health during an emergency will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and your family. Self-care during an emergency will help your long-term healing.
Look out for these common signs of distress:
Feelings of numbness, disbelief, anxiety or fear.
Changes in appetite, energy, and activity levels.
Difficulty sleeping or nightmares and upsetting thoughts and images.
Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes.
Worsening of chronic health problems.
Anger or short-temper.
Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.
Here are a few more Tips For People With Mental Illness:
For anyone who is unsure about attending therapy sessions outside the home, especially those who the CDC has described as being at higher risk, you can ask your health care provider about tele-therapy or mental health services online.
For anyone who is worried about access to prescribed medications, you can ask your health care provider about getting 90-day supplies vs. a 60 or 30-day supply. If this is not possible, we encourage you to refill your medications as soon as they are allowed.
Listen to and follow your local public health care provider expectations.
Provide self-care, especially if in the higher risk population as defined by the CDC. Pay attention to emerging symptoms. Reach out to family and friends.
Local Community Resources
It is important that we follow the guidelines that have been put in place at state and national levels to slow the spread of the virus, however the need for social distancing has required the closing of many businesses, which has taken an enormous toll on our economy. Many people have lost their jobs or been forced to take time off. If you have been affected financially, there are many local resources that can provide assistance.
If you live in the Denver areas and have had your hours cut or have lost your job (temporarily or permanently) due to the closing of businesses, you may be able to file for unemployment. You must be working less than 35 hours per week and currently making less than 55% of your average wage over the last 12 months. Go to coloradoui.gov to file a claim. There is a very high volume of claims being processed at this time, but the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment suggests that those who need to file do so as soon as possible.https://www.colorado.gov/cdle/unemployment
If you are a student enrolled at the University of Colorado Anschutz you can access the on campus Food Pantry, which will remain open 24/7 and is completely confidential. In addition to non perishable food, they also have pet food and hygiene items. They are located in building 407. 303-724-4444
Other local food banks include:
Food Bank of the Rockies https://www.foodbankrockies.org
Bienvenidos Food Bank http://www.bienvenidosfoodbank.org
Denver Public Schools, Aurora Public Schools, and other metro area school districts have set up designated drive-through/walk-up sites to provide children under 18 (and in some places their family as well) breakfast and lunch. Monday-Friday. To find these pop up sites in your area, go to:
Many childcare centers and schools are currently closed to slow the spread of the virus. If you work in Health Care, Public Safety, or support critically at-risk populations, you may qualify for emergency child care through the Colorado Emergency Child Care Collaborative. https://covidchildcarecolorado.com
How can I help?
It can feel overwhelming when we know how many people are suffering, and you may feel the desire to help, but don’t know where to start. If you are feeling called to help your community, there are many avenues to do so.
Volunteering your time:
If you have time and reliable transportation, you can help deliver meals to families and seniors in need with the Denver Metro Emergency Food Network. www.denverdelivered.com
Donating your money:
Help Colorado Now donations fund aid for service workers who have lost jobs, and medical supplies for health care workers, public health personnel, and those working with high risk populations.
If you’d like to donate to the on-campus food pantry, you can sign up here:https://ucdenverdata.formstack.com/forms/food_pantry_donations
Coronavirus affects blood supply. If you are healthy and able to donate blood, you can make an appointment to do so here: https://www.vitalant.org/Home.aspx
Non-perishable food items can be dropped off at the Action Center in Lakewood https://theactioncenter.org
Families with young children rely on non-profits like https://www.weecycle.org for essentials like diapers and wipes. If you have access to these hard to find items, please consider donating.
The U.S. National Government is encouraging us all to practice social distancing. Paying attention and reducing our physical proximity to others will help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Being physically distant from individuals does not have to limit us from being connected. Research shows that having many, diverse, social ties is protective to our health and wellbeing. By nurturing our relationships and creating new relationships we bolster our health. Below are some key points and suggestions to stay connected with your family, friends and community during this uncertain time.
Reorganize time to create more opportunities for social interaction
Tend to your social network virtually and volunteer remotely
Strengthen your current support networks – identify what you need and who around you can help
Examples of activities:
Pick up the phone and reach out to friends and family - especially people you know are socially isolated during this time
Participate in online groups
Join video chats
Engage in social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Practice kindness and gratitude
Additional National & International Resources
How Can I Manage Stress?
American Heart Association pamphlet
Printable pamphlet with easy-to-understand information on: What is stress? How does stress make you feel? How can I cope with it? How can I have a more relaxed life? How can I learn more?
Stress Tip Sheet
American Psychological Association
Printable pamphlet with easy-to-understand information on: simple ways to manage one’s stress.
How Can I Make My Lifestyle Healthier?
American Heart Association pamphlet
Printable pamphlet with easy-to-understand information on: smoking cessation, managing blood pressure, changing eating habits, physical activity, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, managing cholesterol, reducing blood sugar, how to learn more.
Managing Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19
Detailed information about working through stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
WHO Recommendations on Coping with Stress during COVID-19
This pamphlet give tips on coping with stress during COVID-19. It can be shared with those around you who may need advice on this topic.