Taking Care of Yourself in Times of Uncertainty

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By Jaimie Hutchison
We are all in this together, let’s work to keep ourselves and those around us safe, healthy, and supported. If you are in need of resources or information on work-life fit, workplace wellness, remote work, or anything else that comes up, the MSU WorkLife Office is a great place to start. We will all be available as we continue to work to support you and your families during this uncertain time.

You are not alone.

The WorkLife Office hosted a webinar titled "Taking Care of Yourself in Times of Uncertainty" with Jaimie Hutchison to discuss the information below.  You can click here to view the recording (Requires MSU NetID, includes transcript).  If you are already logged into Spartan365, you'll see the video embedded on this website below.  Click here to get a copy of the webinar chat (permission to access must be requested).

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By Jaimie Hutchison

We can be creatures of habit. Things that are expected and planned allow us to feel more in control of our lives and our time. With all the uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus, the unstable financial markets and the heightened political tensions in our world, we are likely feeling the stress of uncertainty. This is the first time in our lives that we have experienced anything of this nature so close to home. If you are in the people at risk for serious illness from COVID-19 category as noted by the CDC: older adults, people who have serious chronic medical conditions like: Heart disease, diabetes or lung disease or have someone close to you who has these risk factors, you are likely feeling even more pressure and stress about the unknown and how best to move forward.

First, you are not alone. Even if we socially distance from each other, we can still be a support to each other. We can communicate in groups via zoom or utilize other technologies to check in with each other. Yesterday, we held an all Zoom Women’s Networking Association meeting. Even after the MSU alert and news of students moving to all online courses led to people meeting about what their next steps would be, we had 27 of the 35 registered attendees Zoom in. We started with a check in to see how everyone was doing. The attendees noted that they were feeling stressed, were tired, and were in disbelief about how close to home everything was. Still, we persisted and talked about work-life fit and how it may be more important now than ever. At the end of the session, one of the attendees wrote in the chat box, “Thank you for still holding this event, despite the challenging circumstances.” We were all able to process together and talk about which areas in our life feel like successes and which areas we will make a goal to improve. Mostly, we talked about taking care of ourselves and each other.

My community chorus met last night to talk about suspending in person rehearsals and today at noon, we had a meeting about how we can use technology to move forward. We need each other now more than ever. Even though we are social distancing, let’s not emotionally distance from each other. Here are some things to consider as we continue to navigate uncertain times.

  1. Be kind to yourself. Some people are better at being flexible than others. Show yourself compassion no matter how you are responding. It is ok. We are all human, be patient with yourself during this time.
  2. Engage in self-care. We know that sleep, nutrition, and exercise are often the first things to go when we are managing a lot of stressors. It is important to care for our bodies during this time. Stay hydrated with water, prep some healthy food to have on hand, and take frequent short breaks throughout the day to walk, stretch, and move.
  3. Make your mental health a priority. Look into strategies that can help you manage stress like breathing, mindfulness strategies, and connecting with supportive others.
  4. Have compassion for each other. Everyone is trying their best and so much is unknown that practicing flexibility and patience is very important. Here is more information on compassion at work and why it matters.
  5. Unplug. Social media can be negative, news can be too much, limit your exposure, stay informed, but if you are feeling overwhelmed, take a break. Remember knowledge is power but look for the CDC or other reliable sources for information. Uncle Steve’s Facebook post may not be correct, but the CDC is more likely to have accurate information.
  6. Ask for help. If your anxiety or emotions are more than you can handle, ask for help. Therapists are experts in helping people develop healthy ways to cope. The MSU Employee Assistance Program offers free short-term counseling and they offer referrals off campus as well.

We are all in this together, let’s work to keep ourselves and those around us safe, healthy, and supported. If you are in need of resources or information on work-life fit, workplace wellness, remote work, or anything else that comes up, the MSU WorkLife Office is a great place to start. We will all be available as we continue to work to support you and your families during this uncertain time.


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