Feb. 18, 2021

What’s been getting us through?

Pandemic wellness tips

We’ve asked the campus community to share what’s been getting you through the pandemic. It can sometimes be the small things, like growing a plant or sharing a kind word, that helps us build meaning during a tough time. These tips will encourage you to keep going – you got this!

Do you have a pandemic wellness tip you’d like to share? Email it to communityhub@ucalgary.ca.


Academic Health

While most classes are being offered online, keeping up with your academic health habits is important. Attend a virtual study hall, make a to do list, use a study timer and give yourself breaks!

“I know that you're busy and life is hectic right now. Try your best to start every day by creating a to do list that is actually achievable. On that to do list, give yourself at least 15 minutes to take a walk and to drink some water! You will feel so much better as you cross things off of that list and it will help you from feeling like a disorganized mess!” - Sarah, Social Work alumna (2020)

“My tip for getting through the semester is using a Pomodoro study timer! It’s a technique where you study for 25 minutes and have 5-minute breaks to keep you motivated to be productive. It has kept me focused throughout the semester and once I’m in the zone, I’ll often have the motivation to get through what I need to do.” - Sophia, third-year Psychology student

“Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t ‘productive’ like everyone else. This time is hard, and you’re doing the best. Just waking up and doing one thing is perfect! And don’t forget to reach out when you need it, everyone is feeling what you’re feeling, and you can lean on each other for support!” - Madison, third-year Arts student


Physical Health

We know that exercise is an important part of our health strategies. Even 10 minutes a day or a short walk around the neighbourhood can improve your mood. Make sure to drink lots of water and consider joining an online exercise class.

“I’ve found signing up for an online fitness class to be super helpful. It gets me moving, puts me on a schedule, and makes me a bit accountable. Make sure it’s something you enjoy or are interested in, and that it’s several times a week for bigger benefits!” - Juan, fourth-year Arts student

“Something that I enjoy doing is going out for a walk every day, getting some fresh air and listen to the birds chirp.” - Andrew, third-year Sociology student


Social Health

Staying connected can be a challenge but keeping up with your social world while maintaining safe distance is important to your health. Try listening to music, a podcast or an audiobook to feel connected to the bigger world without the negative effects of news or social media scrolling.

“I was lifted by acts of kindness. I felt connected to those I could no longer spend time with when they would drive a long way to drop off a note and present at the door. Getting thoughtful texts or emails or an e-transfer of $5 for a coffee can lift my spirits way up. I try to help others feel the same beam of joy I do when I know someone has been thinking of me.” - Amy, fourth-year Arts student


Spiritual Health

Checking in with family, spiritual leaders and peers online can help keep your mind focused on the bigger picture. Try meditation or prayer to help focus your thoughts and reduce anxiety.

“You are really strong for surviving through 2020! I suggest that you look for a person (such as a counselor, spiritual leader, or close friend) to have regular check-in sessions with. Even if we do feel okay, it’s important to look out for our mental health and celebrate the little wins that we have.” - Tyra, fifth-year Science student


Mental Health

Check in with a counsellor or peer support on a regular basis. Use an app or tune into a mental health podcast to keep yourself grounded. Checking in with friends every day, thinking positively and knowing your limits are some great tips we received from Instagram followers.

“Use the MindShift app! It’s based on techniques from cognitive behavioural therapy. I love it because there are explanations, tips and exercises that I'm able to use when I'm feeling overwhelmed and anxious.” - Sophia, third-year Psychology student

“Drawing boundaries with people to safeguard mental health, especially with people who need more than we are able to give and support, no matter how much we love them.” - Suzanne, Geography PhD student

“Getting outside and going for a mindful walk — even for five or 10 minutes a day — has been extremely helpful for me. I use a walking meditation on the Calm App to help me focus on my breath and nature around me. It helps me to get out of my head, disengage from any worries or anxious thoughts I am having and just be in the present moment.” - Mandy McCaughley, community training coordinator, Student Wellness Services


Additional tips

“Routine. Making sure that I sleep, workout, and eat at the time each day has really helped to keep me both organized and sane. I personally find that each day feels almost identical, so having scheduled time to take care of the things I enjoy makes a huge difference.” - Chaten, third-year Neuroscience student

“Take up a new indoor hobby. I took up crochet and it a very relaxing craft that you can do while in a Zoom call or watching Netflix. My sister took up diamond painting for a hobby and a friend took up bread making. Using this time to begin and get good at a new hobby was a great way to take advantage of time spent indoors and away from others these last few months.” - Kassidy, fourth-year Arts student

“I have found comfort during the pandemic in the fact that I was given extra time to spend with my child. We have gone on more nature walks, watched more movies, read more books, and learned more about each other. Our time together was not all about schedules and getting ready for things (bed, school, appointments, supper, and so on) but it was time to slow down and say, ‘what do you want to do today?’” - Amy, fourth-year Arts student

“I listen to audiobooks while exercising or eating food which gives me something enjoyable to look forward to throughout the day while I’m studying.” - Brandon, third-year Science student

“I found a daily five-minute podcast called Radio Headspace that has helped me develop some useful mindfulness strategies.” - Kim, third-year Sociology/Education student

“During this pandemic, some things that helped my mental health was developing new hobbies and getting back into old hobbies, such as reading, taking care of plants around my workspace and living space, and playing video games either by myself or with friends.” - Noreen, fourth-year Arts student

“Taking pleasure in small tasks, like brushing my teeth or getting coffee, has helped me feel less hopeless in the face of global uncertainty.” - Emmery, third-year Arts student

“Since going out for dinner is one of my favorite things during ‘normal’ times, I've been cooking my favorite dishes at home, learning new recipes like ramen, fish tacos, and homemade pasta.” - Alex Klassen, counsellor, Student Wellness Services

“I have found starting new hobbies helpful in maintaining my well-being over the past year. I've become a plant mom to several cacti (I’m not built for heartbreak) and other tropical plants. Being able to spend time in a green space in my home has become essential on days where the weather makes it harder to go outside. They remind me that life is intentional, the sun is essential, and that we are all adaptable.” - Kome Odoko, case management coordinator, Student Wellness Services