If your stress and anxiety levels are reaching a breaking point, you’re not alone. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) poll found 45 percent of adults in the United States are feeling worry and stress related to the coronavirus. Steps taken to reduce loss of life – social distancing, non-essential business closures, remote work, lack of daycare, shelter-in-place orders, online school – have caused many people to feel overwhelmed or isolated or both. Anxiety has been triggered by uncertainty about the future and concern loved ones may become ill.1
Fortunately, there are actions we can take to stay calm and carry on. For instance, you can:
- Take a news detox. Being bombarded with news and information can be distressing and take a toll on your well-being. As a result, it may benefit you to take a break from watching, listening, and/or reading pandemic updates. Reducing social media consumption may help, too.2
Use the extra time for activities that are more constructive and less upsetting. You could listen to music, practice yoga, meditate, listen to a funny audio book, go for a walk, or do something else you enjoy.2
- Make it about you. For some people, stress and anxiety negatively affect immune response. Take some steps to boost your immune system. Harvard Health recommends:3
- Don’t smoke
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Drink alcohol only in moderation
- Get enough sleep
- Connect and reconnect. Sheltering in place may keep you safe from the virus, but isolation can have negative mental health repercussions. On the PsychCentral blog, Susan Zinn recommends interacting with neighbors from a safe distance, sharing a wave and a smile on daily walks, and participating in digital family get-togethers which may lift your spirits.4
No one knows how long the pandemic will last or what life will be like in the years ahead. Coping with uncertainty is easier when you take control of things you can influence.
Cooking Is Chemistry
If you recently began a new hobby, like baking, to help ease your mind and lift your spirits, why not create a teaching opportunity? All you need is delicious cupcakes, toothpicks, and some berries to create a potential home-science lesson for stay-at-home kids or grandkids.
Building Cupcake Molecules
12 cupcakes with different colors of frosting
3 kinds/colors of berries or marshmallows
Designate each color of frosting as an element (e.g., brown is carbon, blue is oxygen).
Designate fruit/marshmallows as elements, too.
For H2O cupcakes: Take a blue/oxygen cupcake and use toothpicks to attach two hydrogen raspberries (or a specific color of marshmallow) to mimic the structure of a water molecule.
For CO2 cupcakes: Connect two blue/oxygen cupcakes using toothpicks to attach a single carbon blueberry (or a specific color of marshmallow) to mimic the structure of carbon dioxide molecule.
For CH4 cupcakes: Take one brown/carbon cupcake and use toothpicks to attach four hydrogen pineapple chunks (or a specific color of marshmallow) to mimic the structure of a methane molecule.
You can find simple lessons for teaching elements and molecules online. When you tire of making molecules, enjoy your delicious treats!
What Do You Know About 80’s Music?
Remember the 1980’s? The Cold War came to an end. Computers and mobile phones began to make their way into homes and businesses. The average cost of a new home at the start of the decade was about $69,000. By 1989, it had risen to $120,000. And then there was the music. Love it or hate it, see what you know about 80’s music by taking this brief quiz:
- What was Gladys Knight’s nickname?5
a. Songbird Supreme
b. Empress of Soul
c. Queen of Funk
d. Queen of Soul
- What 1982 song by The Clash was re-released in 1991 and became a #1 single in the United Kingdom?6
a. Should I Stay or Should I go?
b. We are The Clash
c. London Calling
d. Rock the Casbah
- Which musician/group was named top country artist of the 1980s?7
a. Hank Williams Jr.
b. Reba McEntire
c. The Judds
- In which band did ‘The Bog Man’ Clarence Clemons play saxophone?8
a. Pink Floyd
b. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
d. George Thorogood and the Destroyers
Looking for Words of Wisdom for Graduates?
Parents and grandparents have been searching for the right words to offer graduates of all ages who are transitioning into their next stage of life. There have been some great commencement speeches in 2020 and in previous years. Here are excerpts from some speeches you may want to read for inspiration:
“And, the biggest regrets of my life are of those times when I did not have the courage to embrace the truth. Now, telling the truth does not mean that everything will work out. Actually, it sometimes doesn’t. I’m not asking you to tell the truth, because it will always work out, but because you will sleep well at night. And, there’s nothing more beautiful than to wake up every day holding in your hand the full measure of your integrity.”
–Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Harvard, 20189
“But, if your cause is good and decent and worthy and honorable and has the possibility of saving even one of God’s creatures, then you must do what all heroes do. You must summon the courage to fight and fight hard for your convictions. You must yell them from the mountaintop. You must shout them from the lectern. You must write in bold, cursive, and underlined phrases. You must bring your convictions out from the darkness and the subtlety of your heart – into the light of day. They must be made public and challenged and confronted and argued.”
–Retired U.S. Navy Admiral William McRaven, MIT, 202010
“What happens next on the field is what transforms a bunch of individual women into a team. Teammates from all over the field rush toward the goal scorer. It appears that we’re celebrating her: but what we’re REALLY celebrating is every player, every coach, every practice, every sprint, every doubt, and every failure that this one single goal represents. You will not always be the goal scorer. And, when you are not – you better be rushing toward her. Women must champion each other.”
–FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Abby Wambach, Barnard College, 201811
“I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either…I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And, whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.”
–Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, Cardigan Mountain High School, 202012
We hope you find just the right words for your graduates.
- B – Empress of Soul
- A – Should I Stay or Should I Go?
- D – Alabama
- B – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
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