Experts offer tips to lessen impact of pandemic 

  Friday, May 1, 2020 3:30 PM
  News, People and Society

Pittsburg, KS

Bryant Health Center


Pittsburg State University is proud of the many experts who are part of the faculty and staff. To help lessen the negative impacts of the pandemic, experts in the areas of health, wellness, and nutrition offer these tips: 

Q. What are the "right" emotions to be feeling right now, or are there any? Is it normal to feel like your emotions are all over the map?

A. Yes, this is an unprecedented time, so there is not right or wrong way to feel. Chances are that someone you know is feeling similarly to how you are, so reaching out and talking about it can be helpful; journaling can be another way to express these emotions.  

Q. How do you get through days that are starting to seemlonger and longer until work-from-home and return-to-school orders are lifted? 

A. Stick to as much of your “normal routine as possibleShower, eat meals at the regular timeand put on regular clothes during “work” or “study” time. 

Q. How do youbalance your work life and your home life when the lines have been blurred? 

A. If you haven't done it yet, create a place in the house where you work that is removed from places you relax. It’s easy to get caught up in projects and keep working through the dinner hour, but if you ordinarily work until 4:30, try to close your computer about that time. If you ordinarily attend class until 2:50 each day, take a break at that time and do something different until it's time to work on homework or an assignment later in the evening, just as you normally would. 

Q. What should you do when you're feeling as if the stress is really getting to you?  


  • Engage in hobbies you enjoy 
  • Engage in a new hobby you have wanted to try if possible 
  • Talk to, or video chat, with someone to share your feelings and validate each other 
  • Don’t forget coping skills you have used in the past, because they likely still apply: reading, yoga, exercise, watching a funny/favorite TV show 
  • Take a break from social media/news — unplug for an entire day. 
  • Remind yourself that this is temporary and that you have overcome difficult things before and can continue to do so. It will not last forever. 
  • Utilize resources such as local mental health or national suicide hotlines, 1-800-273-8255, crisis text line (Text Hello to 741741), or 911 if there is an immediate safety concern 

Q. I have young children. What should I be telling them?

A. Great resources to help you know how to discuss the pandemic with kids 

Remember: kids are going to take cues from adults on how to handle things, so if you're able to talk and managing your own anxiety, this will help children also. 

Q. I’m running out of ideas to keep young children entertained. What can I do?

A. Here’s a great list of resources! 

Q. How can I stay as healthy as possible while risks continue?

A. Eat a balance and varied diet. There are no foods or supplements that can prevent or treat COVID-19. Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plant and animal proteins and healthy fats is the best way to get all of the essential nutrients we need for good health and normal immune function. 

Q. How can I avoid putting on extra pounds while I’m home?

A. For some, self-isolation may lead us to be less active, and stress may cause us to eat more than we need. Try these:

  • Pay attention to food portions and keep your energy balance adjusted to meet your needs. 
  • Keep lower calories foods like fruits and vegetables more accessible for snacking. Keep higher calorie foods more out of reach or simply don’t buy them. Out of sightout of mind!  
  • Resist eating straight from the bag/box.  
  • Remove distractions while eating — turn off the TV and anything else with a screen (computers, phones).   
  • Log food daily. Now is a better time than ever to start food logging. It is the gold standard of weight loss, helping you to stay accountable every day, every meal and every snack. This can be done using a journal or there are many programs available free online. MyFitnessPal is a good one; it's user-friendly and will give you your daily calories, protein fiber, and more. 

Q. I’m not as active now as I used to be because I’m mostly at home, so do I need as much sleep? 

A. Yes! A lack of quality sleep can negatively affect both our physical and mental health, as well as reduce our immunes system ability to fight off infections. In general, adults should aim for at least 7 hours of quality sleep per night. It is important to establish a regular sleep schedule (going to bed and getting up at set times), and to keep it on weekends and when working from home. Disconnect from electronics before going to bed and try to avoid caffeine before bedtime.  

Q. If I can’t go to the gym, how can I stay fit?


  • Take regular breaks from sitting by standing up and stretching or going for a quick walk; set an alarm on your phone to remind you to do so 
  • Follow an online exercise class; there are numerous options available on YouTube now!  
  • Think outside the box: activities like dancing, playing active videogames, gardening, cleaning the house, or playing tag or basketball with your kids all count as physical activity. Put on some tunes and get moving! 

Q. What can I do to help mymental health? 

A. Try meditation. It doesn’t have to be sitting cross-legged for three hours — even just sitting quietly for five minutes can help you resetThis can also help you to improve sleep, help you better cope with stress and anxiety, and help you better listen to your hunger cues. 

— Provided by:

  • Rita Girth, operations director, Bryant Student Health Center 
  • Jennifer Murray, nutrition and wellness program coordinator, Family & Consumer Sciences
  • Sally Pullman-Rinkel, counselor, Bryant Student Health Center