Hello and Happy Saturday! This is Elizabeth DiLuzio, AEA365 Curator + Editor and Manager of Evaluation and Strategy at Good Shepherd Services. If you’re anything like me, the last few weeks have been a rollercoaster. There is no way to deny that this global pandemic – and our response to it – is taking an emotional toll. We are in a stressful, frightening, and at times heart-wrenching marathon that we were neither warned about or prepared for. So, for this week’s blog I asked all of you: what’s your go-to self-care activity? Below are some responses, and at the end I encourage you to share others. Let’s share ideas and help each other to get through this.
Work/Life Boundaries – It’s so much easier to “leave work at work” when you work in an office, and when you’re not in the middle of a global crisis. Still, for your mental health, it’s important to separate from work for the evening. Twitter jokingly calls this the “changing from work sweats into comfy sweats”, but something such as making yourself an evening cup of camomile tea or taking a walk around the block can be just as effective. For Rachael Kenny, Health Services Researcher at the Denver VA, it’s taking the time to play with her 5-year old.
- USAID has a list of actionable things you can do to address some of the more challenging aspects of working remotely
- Here’s a recent blog from a WFH pro with sage advice for us newbies
Be Still – For those of us who are now employees, parents, partners, and teachers all at the same time, this is a simple yet valuable luxury. I’ve been leading a few minutes of meditation at the top of our weekly team calls, and the communal stillness has been a powerful experience.
Rad Resource: Inspired by my team’s practice, I’m starting a free weekly Meditation Mixer via Zoom that’s especially for evaluators and data advocates. It’s a half hour that blends our needs to be still and to socialize. Click here to read more and to sign up!
Exercise – I cannot stress this one enough: find a way to get your exercise in. Even if you’re not an enthusiast like David Napoli, Consultant and Instructor at General Assembly, whose current stress reliever is to bike until he drops, there’s something for you out there. Lacey McNary, CEO of McNary Group, enjoys virtual yoga with her favorite studio to stay sane. Walking, jogging, pilates, and Zumba are other popular outlets that are still accessible while social distancing.
Write – For Allen Hillery, Adjunct Associate at Columbia University and data viz aficionado, writing is a way of helping others. For others, writing is a way of helping ourselves to process ideas and feelings. Whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, or a good old fashioned journal, find your medium and write consistently.
Socialize – Social distancing can be hard even for the most introverted among us. However, as Phung Pham, doctoral student at Claremont Graduate University says, social distancing does not mean social isolation. Zoom Happy Hours, phone calls, emails, and text messages all help us to stay connected with our loved ones and colleagues.
Acts of Kindness – Andrea Young, a fellow evaluator in up in Alberta, finds her feel-goods by thinking of nice things she can do for others. Sidewalk drawings, signs in her window, letter writing, and organizing family game nights are examples of things that bring her joy because she knows she is giving others a moment of levity and camaraderie.
Limit the Negativity – This isn’t to say you should shut out what’s going on around us completely. We need to stay informed, but each of us has a different threshold as to what “too informed” looks like. Figure out your threshold for the day and respect it.
Sleep – It’s proven to reduce stress, heart disease, and a host of other ailments. Get your 8 hours as frequently as possible.
Rad Resource: If you’re struggling to fall asleep, consider some calming evening rituals.
Now it’s your turn: What other self-care activities have you come to appreciate during this time? Share with us in the comments below or in our Evaluators’ Slack Channel, where you can comment, share links, and even upload resources. It’s easy to join and free to use. We’ll see you there!
Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.