During Fall 2020, we introduced the 'PSYC Self-Care Tip of the Week' intiative as a way to share self-care tips between department members and boost morale. Staff, faculty members, and students were invited to share a short blurb in response to how they were able to cope during quarantine:

  • What are a few of your strategies for coping during these challenging times?
  • or What helps you stay positive during this time?
  • or What is one of the most important things you've learned since COVID started?

We hope you find the tips below insightful and helpful!

Having a consistent, daily self-care routine, including daily exercise, meditation, reading, and special activities with my family. Challenging myself to learn new things has been helpful as well. I also find, given the more limited options for activities, that it’s helpful to introduce some variety into everyday life, such as by hiking on new trails or in different areas, learning to cook new meals or desserts, and so on. Even just having quick visits to the public library or going for lunch on a heated patio have an unprecedented degree of excitement associated with them!

I generally stay positive by reminding myself that we all just need to be patient. Things will change. This new COVID lifestyle might actually be an opportunity to take inventory of what we need (family, health, social support, etc.) and don’t need to do so much of (commuting, shopping, traveling, flying in planes). I try to remember the quote from Thich Nat Hanh: “All of the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle." I’ve learned that I’m very fortunate to have a job and that I’m one of those lucky people who never get bored!'

-Alexander Chapman, Professor

-Brittany Dennett, Social Psychology Graduate student, graphic created for her PSYC960 Science of Happiness course with Dr. Lara Aknin

I have one strategy that seems to effectively address all the questions you’ve suggested— I think to myself, when I look back at how I navigated this pandemic five years from now, what would I be proud of myself for? Answering this one question helps me to identify and remember the strengths that I admire about my own capacity to cope!

-Rachelle Yu, Clinical-Child PhD Student, pictured here with her adorable dog Johnny!

It has been extremely helpful for me to section my home so that I can have “on” and “off” space. I fell into the trap of just working all the time when quarantine started because there was no “off” space in my home. I worked everywhere, on my couch, kitchen table… I found myself burning out.

Set up an actual workspace. Get a desk, a good chair, a double monitor, and/or anything else you were used to having at your desk on campus. I actually went into campus and took my monitor there, a keyboard, and my chair. Once you set up your work space, only do work there. Don’t eat there, don’t consume entertainment there, just use it as your work space. 

Establishing a “getting ready for work” routine was extremely helpful for me too. When quarantine started, I wore pajamas all day every day, never did my makeup, slept in every day, and barely took care of myself. Now, every morning, I wake up at 6:30AM sharp (and this really sucked at first but it gets easier), I put on day clothes (bra included!), makeup, and get myself ready for my work day. This routine gives me a lot of motivation and it just feels nice.

-Shelbie Anderson, Experimental Psychology and Law PhD student

I am all about food and that hasn’t changed during the pandemic. I love to cook, bake, and eat! I also have some food restrictions so I often turn to the internet for new recipes and inspiration. We are so lucky to have access to tons of information and ingredients. I will never tire of trying new recipes, cooking with my family, and eating with them too. I am also an avid game and puzzle person so this has given me even more excuses to sit down at the table and do puzzles or play board games with my family.

It’s been more gratifying than ever to focus on helping others. My daughter’s friends are all musicians and were therefore out of work once COVID hit. Our family spent some time each week making food and delivering it to them. It was a fun family activity, and also gave us the chance for some “physically distanced” visits with friends each week.

We were definitely doing too much – too much driving, too much spending, too much everything out of the house. My daughter and I looked at our family calendar pre-COVID and it was insane – how did we use to do all of that? I am very grateful to have my crazy household of 7 adults and 2 cats. I’m never lonely - I just need to go into the next room to find someone to talk to.

-Ellen Kurz, Assistant to the Chair

Try to get out of the house every day to do some exercise (outdoors if at all possible).  Some of my favourite activities are swimming, walking, hiking and biking.  Some days it has been just me in the swimming pool with 2 lifeguards!  We are lucky to have so many great places to go.  I've been enjoying the Coquitlam Crunch, Buntzen Lake and Minnekhada Park.    

I am very grateful for my job and my home.  I am thankful for my job security, and I am happy to work from home.  I feel lucky for what I have, especially since others have suffered during this pandemic.  

At the risk of sounding Pollyanna-ish, I have learned how wonderful people are, and the extent to which they are willing to help out.  At the beginning of the pandemic we were on call for literally 18 hours a day. I had to ask lots of people to help out and without fail they stepped up with no complaints.

-Deborah Connolly, Chair