MB&B Professors Practice Self-care during COVID-19 Pandemic

Image of Drs. Baserga, Bleichert, Koleske, Kabesche, Engelman, Schlieker & Gilbert
May 1, 2020

Taking care of your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic is just as important as taking care of your physical health. Since it is currently unsafe to gather in large groups, it can be a lot more challenging to participate in normal self-care activities. We asked some MB&B professors how they have been creatively practicing self-care while quarantining. Here’s how they have been keeping their spirits up during this stressful time.

Susan Baserga has been practicing self-care by walking her dogs, riding her bike, and knitting. She has also been talking to students in her lab and writing grants and papers to keep a sense of normalcy. Keeping up with the new seasons of Fauda, Bosch, and Call the Midwife has been another way she relaxes during quarantine.

Wendy Gilbert keeps her household positive by following the burpee directive. When she finds herself wanting to rant, she stops what she’s doing and immediately does 10 burpees. Not only is this good exercise, but it also lifts her mood especially when she ends up doing burpees in odd locations.

Don Engelman says the key to taking care of his mental health is staying physically and socially active. He has zoom meetings with family and friends ranging from academic meetings to virtual happy hours. For physical activity, he works out daily in his makeshift home gym and goes on isolated walks for at least three miles.

Lilian Kabeche finds taking walks with her husband and her newborn to be a way to relax. To make sure the walks are peaceful rather than stressful, she has instituted a strict “no-COVID-19, no-politics, and no-work conversation” rule. She has also been having “sanity-check” meetings with her lab and has found the support in her lab to be comforting.

Tony Koleske has been eating healthier because he is taking the time to cook homemade meals. Like others, he has been running almost every day. He also checks in with his labmates and family as much as possible, and finds the time to share funny things on his lab slack channel.

Christian Schlieker is taking advantage of the striped bass season by spending time fishing in the Long Island Sound and tidal rivers. He finds fishing a great way to escape and spend time thinking.

Franziska Bleichert says that maintaining a regular schedule has helped her have a sense of normalcy. Sticking to a routine helps the days at home not run together for her. Like others, she also finds staying in touch with friends and family on a regular basis very comforting.

Be sure to prioritize your health, both physically and mentally during this time. As can be seen from the MB&B professors’ responses, self-care can exist in many different forms. Find what works for you, and stick to it!

By Jake Thrasher