Resources for your physical, mental, and social health

UPDATE 4/1/20:
Hello again. We published this last week with the intention of adding to it as it makes sense to, though for the most part, there probably won’t be a whole lot to add. The information we’ve previously included covers quite a lot for your physical health needs, and there is an abundance of information available online for self-guided at-home workouts and free online fitness classes.

One thing aspect of your physical health we unfortunately cannot provide information on is how or where to get tested for COVID-19, as tests are in notoriously short supply and availability varies widely by region. The best we can do here is recommend you follow the CDC guidelines and call your healthcare provider to inquire about testing, especially if you are concerned that you may have the virus and/or are caring for someone who is considered high-risk.

But today we wanted to share with all of you the best possible piece of advice we can give: be kind to yourself. These are truly terrifying times, and there is no easy way to get through them. This post is the best one we have read about being kind to yourself during this time. A quote worth remembering: “These are not conditions in which to thrive, not for any of us. This is a time to survive. Your only responsibility is to get through today.

While some people are indeed “making use of their extra time,” this standard of purposeful productivity is not going to be possible for everyone because not everyone’s conditions are the same. Many people are currently working from home and do not have the obligations of children to attend to. Maybe they find themselves with more free time to relax and read a book or go for a run. That’s awesome! Others have been furloughed with full pay and have the time (and money) to finish that home remodeling project they haven’t been able to get around to. Fantastic! That’s super exciting for them!

But others are worried about how to pay rent this month, or how to put food on the table this week, or how to navigate the Kafkaesque task of applying for unemployment benefits as a gig worker or freelancer or for an SBA disaster loan while also attending to children who now need to be home-schooled while also worrying about their own health while also trying to find ways to continue earning some form of income, and about a thousand other situations that will make MANY of us unable to do much more than just get through today. So just get through today.

You don’t have to write King Lear or discover the law of gravity. You just have to get through today. The pressure to BE PRODUCTIVE during this time is a farce, and that kind of “productivity” is a luxury. If you’re able to spend this time planning for the future, that’s amazing; congratulations! But if you are too depressed or scared to do much of anything, then that is exactly what you need to be doing–nothing. Call a friend or loved one, and just get through today.

We’ve mentioned teletherapy before, but it bears repeating. Right now, attending to your mental health is probably the most powerful and empowered thing you can do. While not all teletherapy is free, some teletherapy apps like BetterHelp and Talkspace, which allow you to message and schedule video sessions with experienced therapists, are offering reduced or waived rates as well as specialized programs for anyone who needs help dealing with stress or anxiety.

Additionally, here are some very basic tips to help you through this time of uncertain quarantine. Behaviors as simple and straightforward as making your bed can make a difference right now. Also, as an unprecedented number of people are dealing with some kind of loss, here are six psychologist-approved ways to cope with unexpected losses right now. And for your social health as much as for your mental health, maybe join an online book club or organize web-based board game night.

But whatever you do (or don’t do), just get through today.

*************************
3/26/20:

Hi everyone. We sincerely hope you are all doing well. Every day that passes sees previously unimaginable and unfathomable crises become our new reality, and every day we all must adjust—physically, yes, with our social distancing and (for many of us) our inability to work, but also mentally and emotionally.

Last week we had quickly compiled an early list of resources in addition to the emergency relief work Springboard for the Arts was already doing (and continues to do). We have more of that coming as more funds and resources become available and, in turn, we become aware of them. Stay tuned for additional updates by signing up for our newsletter and following us on social media.

We have more in the works in terms of ways to see and connect with other artists and their work, free opportunities for education and enrichment, as well as some more light-hearted outlets for entertainment, all available through online media like live streaming and virtual tours. But this week, we are focused on your physical, mental, and social health. Below you will find a number of different web-based platforms you can access for free in order to stay well and stay connected during this time of fear, anxiety, and confusion.

And please, if there are other stories you would like to see us covering during this time or other ways you think we could be using Creative Exchange as a platform for resource-sharing, artist support, or inspiration, please take this survey and tell us about it or email us.

Physical Health

For your physical health, especially at a time when it is more difficult to do the things you might normally do to stay healthy and physically active, there are a number of different apps you can download for workout and yoga routines, many offering their content for free right now or with a free trial period.

Here is a list of apps for HIIT, pilates, yoga, and other forms of cardio and strength training. And here is another. Fitness app Variis has a number of different workout and yoga routines available on IG TV and has been continually adding more. Do Yoga With Me also offers free yoga videos online.

And here is a robust list of fitness live streams and virtual classes, most of which are free to access. And a few more for good measure.

Art Lab J is offering free live streamed classes for kids, teens, and adults seven days a week on Zoom and Facebook Live; check their schedule for details and to sign up for these free classes. The Motor City Dance Academy is also hosting online dance classes through Google Hangouts.

Also check out these tips on how to stay in shape at home.

When all else fails, you can still go for a run or walk in your neighborhood with proper social distancing observed. As you will find, many of the above and below linked articles suggest getting outside as an excellent way to stay active as well as an excellent way to decompress.

Mental Health

This is an extraordinarily difficult, unprecedented, and frankly unimaginable time for everyone, and the global public health and economic crisis we are currently experiencing may just be eclipsed by the mental health crisis looming as a result. Please heed the advice of professional therapists on how to best get through today and the days to come. Try “detoxing your thoughts,” setting a limit to your daily news exposure and social media use, and also take a look at these lighter tips for self-care during quarantine.

If you currently see a therapist and are able to continue to do so, ask about setting up Skype sessions in lieu of meeting in-person (especially if you reside in a city that hasn’t yet instated a total lockdown). If you need to speak with someone but are unable to pay for therapy sessions, take the time to look through this list of free counseling resources available online, or call SAMHSA’s National Help line.

Also try downloading these free mental health apps to calm your body and mind.

For those in recovery, many anonymous groups have taken their meetings online. Check in with your local organization to see what they are now offering in lieu of in-person meetings, and take advantage of them—now more than ever you may find yourselves in need of this lifeline.

Whether you already practice meditation or not, you may find it helpful to do so right now. This five-minute guided breathing meditation is a great place to start, and there are scores more guided meditation videos available on YouTube. Here is a guide to free meditation apps you can download on your phone. You can also attend a global meditation event hosted by The Well and Deepak Chopra on Saturday, March 29.

You may also want to consider fostering or adopting a pet during this time (in fact, so many people are that shelters are emptying…a small point of light during this otherwise dark time).

With many cities are on orders of shelter-in-place and many people choosing to self-quarantine, many people might be finding themselves going a bit stir-crazy. Here are some tips to make staying at home a little more fun.

Social Health

Perhaps one of the hardest things for many people right now is accepting that during a time when we might want to be with other people the most, that is the worst thing we can do. It’s important to maintain social connections right now, even if that connectivity can only happen online.

You can join a virtual cocktail hour with the Shady Ladies Literary Society that includes a cocktail lesson with a renowned mixologist as well as an informative talk with a professional in public policy and economics.

You can also host a virtual happy hour or party of your own, and it can be for anything—dinner parties where everyone eats together, recipe challenges where everyone cooks together, or anything else you can think of.

There are plenty of ways to connect socially without drinking. Use the app House Party to see and connect with your friends, or organize an event on Zoom (which is being used for a host of online activities now, from work conferencing and remote education to art events).

For our LGBTQIA+ readers, here is a great compilation of queer events you can live stream.

And there are other ways to connect socially that are not through virtual parties. You can also connect through the activities you might be doing at home anyway. If you’re a gamer (video games, card games, board games, bored games), download one of these multiplayer apps to host a virtual game night. Watching a lot of Netflix? (Yes.) Watch whatever show you’re bingeing with your friends via Netflix Party.

Now might even be a great time to expand your social circle by finding a new pen pal from anywhere around the world. As the whole global population must come to terms with our new reality, you may find it helpful to engage with someone from another country, hear their stories and share your own.

Do for Others

One of the most helpful things you can do during a time of great helplessness is something for your neighbors in need. Here are 31 small things you can do for others right now.

Many, many local and national organizations are currently galvanizing to provide personal protective equipment to the healthcare workers on the front lines since our leaders have failed to do so. Check out this tutorial video by Deviate Fashion on how to make your own face masks that you can donate to healthcare professionals in need in your area.

Take care of yourself. Take care of your loved ones. We will do our best to keep useful information coming to you during this time, and please let us know what else you think might be helpful. And if you are hosting live-streamed events or activities to facilitate community connection, drop us a line and let us know.

Lead image: The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. Photo by Michael Barera