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Taking Care of Yourself & Your Family

Many in our AU community are balancing a lot of things right now: Our students are moving off campus for the rest of the semester. Events are cancelled. Our classes are moving online. The majority of our community is teleworking. Some of us may be physically more vulnerable to the virus or other health problems. And, we’re worried about our family, friends, and loved ones.

Now more than ever before, this is a time to embrace our AU community with compassion and patience. With so many things in a constant state of emotion, it’s important to practice self-care for you and your family. We’ve rounded up a list of tips and resources below.

Taking Care of Yourself

Things you can do to ensure your physical health

The CDC recommends the following steps:

  • Limit gatherings to 10 people or less if possible. Maintain at least six feet between you and another person.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. That means singing “Happy Birthday” about two times through. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. That includes your phone.

Things you can do to support yourself

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals. Remember to exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy while maintaining your social distance from others.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

Taking care of your family

Children and teens react, in part, to what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers cope with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.

Common changes in children and teens

Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include:

  • Excessive crying or irritation in younger children.
  • Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, bathroom accidents or bed wetting).
  • Excessive worry or sadness.
  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits.
  • Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens.
  • Difficulty with attention and concentration.
  • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past.
  • Unexplained headaches or body pain.
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

Things you can do to support your child

  • Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
  • Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know that it's okay if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress, so that they can learn how to cope from you.
  • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
  • Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities as well as relaxing or fun activities.
  • Be a role model. Let your children see you take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.

Contact FSAP

If stress gets in the way of your daily activities, please contact our Faculty Staff Assistance Program at fsap@amerian.edu or your healthcare provider.

Email FSAP

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Quick and Easy 5-minute Stretches

Lower Back Stretches

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AU Recreation Sports & Fitness offers a chair series including a demonstration of lower back stretches.

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AU Recreation Sports & Fitness offers video demonstrations of seated back stretches.

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AU Recreation Sports & Fitness offers seated wrist stretches demonstrations.

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