Mental Health and COVID19 Series: Faculty Reflections

Featured photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

As we continue to forge this new territory together, we continue to share resources and  hear from UNE Social Work faculty, staff, and students about how they are staying healthy, positive, and productive as they work from their homes.  Today, we hear from BSW Program Director and Professor, Cyndi Amato MSW and Applied Arts and Social Justice Certificate Coordinator and Professor, Lori Power MA, EdD

Cyndi Amato


Routine, routine, routine.

  • Wake up at the same time
  • Shower and get dressed (no working in pajamas)
  • I even put on make-up (you never know who’s Zoom screen is going to be a close up!)
  • I get to “work” by 9 a.m.
  • Take a break around 10:30
  • Lunch and check the local news at noon
  • Back to work with a few breaks to play with the dogs
  • Finish up around 4 or 5
  • Making healthy meals
  • Perfecting my addiction to the online game Gardenscapes

Do you have any recommended activities for students/individuals to engage in either at home/in nature?

I live by the beach so I make sure I take in some salt air on a regular basis – find something beautiful in the outdoors near you. It can be through a window, in a park, a drive to a special place.

“Fill yourself up with beauty.”

Escape into a good book – audible is great to plug into on walks
Turn off the TV and STOP surfing the web for additional information about COVID-19
Use social media in a lighthearted way. Ask your friends to share good things about their lives, pictures to make others smiles, post a funny meme, send virtual hugs and kisses
Schedule Zoom parties with friends and family

Do you have any book/poetry/recipe/craft suggestions?

I’m part of a book club! We are reading When We Were the Kennedys and I can’t wait for our meeting, which will probably be through Zoom
Paint, color, knit, create!!!!
Making care packages of meals and deserts to send to my older parents
Keep a journal of what this unprecedented time is like – the ups and downs – the good the bad – insights

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”
― Natalie GoldbergWriting Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Where are you getting your information about Covid-19? Do you have reliable resources to share with others?

Reliable links to information such as CDC, etc. I love listening to the podcast from the NYT – The Daily

What are your exercise routines either at home or in nature?

We are taking this opportunity to work on training the dogs to be civil when they are on a leash! I also have a treadmill in the basement and am doing lots of online yoga.

Delilah and Duke – Cyndi’s two adorable pups

Check out Online Yoga with Adriene here!

Do you have any other suggestions for coping strategies?

  • Spring cleaning
  • Finishing projects
  • Clean out your closet
  • Help others … make cookies and leave them on the steps of your neighbors’ house with an encouraging note
  • Call the older folks you know to check in on them, teach them how to FaceTime, zoom, etc.
  • See if your local school needs someone to tutor kids online
  • Keep a routine of texting, calling, reaching out to people everyday

Check out this great article featuring Susan Wehry, M.D., chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine within the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, about how we can stay connected and continue to help those who are more vulnerable through this pandemic.  

Some reflections from faculty, Lori Power:

Lori Power (center with the tiara) photographed alongside other MSW Faculty

I can echo some of the things Cyndi mentions above. Taking an online yoga class every day seems to make a big difference for me. Also, I find that I can actually ask for help sometimes when I’m having a bad moment! I tend to forget this. In my house my family members and I seem to be taking turns feeling frustrated and downcast and even overwhelmed by the magnitude of this crisis. Since we are taking turns, (not deliberately, it just seems to be working out that way!) we each get a chance to be either supported or supportive. Both of those things feel good!

Cleaning is another thing that gives me a sense of control over my immediate environment. Why not de-clutter and wipe down surfaces? It makes my home feel more peaceful.

We will continue to post reflections, strategies, and resources from faculty, staff, and students as they come in so stay tuned!!