As of 2/2021

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

24/7 free, confidential support and crisis resources 

  • Call: 1-800-273-8255

Disaster Distress Helpline

24/7 crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.

  • Call: 1-800-985-5990
  • Text: TALKWITHUS to 66746

As of 2/2021

During these challenging and unprecedented times, it is normal to experience increased levels of stress. With limited access to friends and family members and the global situation changing on a daily basis, we may all benefit from some strategies to help minimize our stress during this time.

  • Recognize the signs of stress. The CDC has identified some symptoms that may indicate you are experiencing stress.
    • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
    • Irritability, frustration, anxiety
    • Sadness
    • Lack of motivation
    • Fatigued and overwhelmed
  • Increase your sense of control. Develop and maintain a consistent daily schedule with regular sleeping hours. Try to end your workday from home at the same time each day.

  • Use this time to learn stress management techniques
    • Meditation- try apps such as Calm, Headspace, Insight Timer
    • Podcasts such as Meditative story and Anxiety Slayer
    • Yoga
    • Journaling
    • Crafting- painting, drawing
    • Books: Many public libraries are closed, but if you have a library card, you can access free digital books, audiobooks, and magazines at https://www.overdrive.com/apps/libby/
  • Limit unnecessary exposure to the news.
    • Unfollow the unnecessary news accounts on Instagram, Twitter, and the like. Staying informed is important, try to limit news to once daily, for example, either in the morning or evening. A good way to do this is to ask your “hey google” or “Alexa” to update you on the news to get a rundown of the latest headlines without feeling overwhelmed. Additionally, make sure you are getting your news from reliable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or World Health Organization (WHO) or this guide!
  • Limit alcohol and drug use. During times of stress, people may turn to increased drug and alcohol use. Try to avoid excessive use of drugs and alcohol to cope with stress. If you or someone you know is increasing their use of drugs and alcohol, you can find virtual treatment here: https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/

As of 10/10/2021

  • Gyms are open in DC, Maryland and Virginia with capacity limits. Check online at your local gym’s website.

Try creative alternatives to fitness routines! The alternatives include body weight exercises, using household items as weights, yoga, and dancing to name a few.

  • If it is safe and feasible, exercising outdoors (walking, hiking, biking) while maintaining 6ft of distance from others is a great way to keep moving
  • Many gyms and exercise studios, including locally owned gyms in the DC area, are offering free online workouts that anyone can access. You do not need workout equipment to complete these exercises. 

Here are some online recommendations:

  • Many Youtube channels provide quality free content 
    • BodyFit by Amy has a series of workouts ranging from 5-45 minutes and has multiple categories including kettlebell, bodyweight, and dumbbells.

Try something new and support a small business!

  • Dance Place
    • A community Dance Hub in Northeast DC that offers virtual dance classes for adults and children
    • Styles include: modern dance, African dance, hip-hop dance, creative movement, tumbling, tap dance, ballet, and other dance forms
  • Capoeira DC
    • A black-owned academy for practicing Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian dance/martial-art
    • Offers in-person classes

As of 10/17/2021

Nutritional impact of COVID-19:

  • A survey study of greater than a half-million participants living in the US and UK found that following a diet filled with healthy plant-based foods was associated with a lower risk and severity of COVID-19. This main finding of the study was upheld even when controlling for other important markers of SARS-CoV-2 infection, such as mask-wearing or community transmission rate. The decreased risk and severity of COVID-19 infection observed may be explained by the importance of consuming foods rich in nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants) to support a strong immune system. 
  • Diets high in saturated fats, sugars, and refined carbohydrates contribute to the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes, which could place individuals at an increased risk for COVID-19 long-term complications. Read the published study here. 
  •  Healthy, plant-based diet patterns include foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, plant-based protein (tofu, tempeh), legumes, and nuts/seeds, and may include supplementing with animal products such as eggs, meat, and dairy products. This diet pattern generally limits highly-processed foods, for example fast food, foods with added sugars or refined grains, and processed animal products (bacon, deli meats, sausage). More info can be found here. 

Nutrition and Food Resources:

DC:

  • DC Nutrition Programs:
    • Find information about Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs and Local Nutrition Programs here.
  • Emergency Food Access:
  •    There are many outdoor Farmers Markets across the DC area that allow for a safer, COVID-friendly grocery shopping experience while also contributing to local small businesses.
    • A list of open Farmers Markets run by the non-profit FRESHFARM can be found here and you can learn more about their COVID-19 safety measures here.

Maryland:

Virginia:

Apps:

  • Fight food waste by buying surplus food at discounted prices using the Too Good To Go app: 

Restaurant Dining:

  • As the weather becomes colder in the DMV, outdoor seating options at restaurants may become limited or non-existent. Eating at a restaurant indoors still poses an increased risk of virus transmission through respiratory particles. Local restrictions for indoor dining vary, so consider calling ahead to learn whether a restaurant requires mask-wearing or proof of vaccination, and if they offer outdoor-seating or take-out options.
    • Several DC-area restaurants and bars that require proof of COVID-19 vaccination can be found here

Food safety:

  • The USDA, FDA, and CDC state that there is no good evidence that food surfaces or food packaging transmit the SARS-CoV-2 virus from person to person. However, health experts still recommend washing your hands (for at least 20 seconds with soap and water) before eating or preparing food to avoid transmission of harmful bacteria or viruses to yourself or others. Learn more here. 
  • Host virtual cooking parties:
    1.  Share a recipe with your friends prior to the virtual cooking party
    2. Buy the ingredients and make sure your friends do too
    3. Meet on Zoom or another video chat application and chat while you follow the recipe steps.
    4. Compare dishes and cooking strategies
    5. Enjoy the yummy food that you cooked with friends!

As of 10/17/2021

Current Mask Guidance from the CDC:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommend that individuals—vaccinated and unvaccinatedwear masks in schools and public indoor spaces in areas of the US where the virus is surging. This recommendation is based on slowing vaccination rates across the US and breakthrough infections of the Delta variant in vaccinated individuals. Track cases in the US here and here

Social Distancing:

The CDC recommends staying 6 feet away (about 2 arm’s length) as much as possible from 1) those that are sick inside your household, and 2) those who do not live in your household whenever possible, particularly if you are unvaccinated or are immunocompromised and/or have a higher risk of getting very sick. Becoming vaccinated is still the best way to protect yourself from contracting the virus that causes COVID-19 (including the variants).  

Whether you are vaccinated or unvaccinated, there are many preventive measures you can take to avoid contracting the virus and spreading it to others. These actions are especially important to consider as holiday gatherings become more frequent.

Consider wearing a mask when in close contact with others, choosing outdoor spaces or well-ventilated indoor spaces for gatherings, and, importantly, stay home and get tested if you are feeling sick and/or have been in contact with someone who is sick. 

Read more about the CDC’s recommendations here and here

Additional guidance:

  • Communicate often and safely with loved ones.
    • Online video platforms such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, and HouseParty can allow you to stay connected with family and friends, even if you cannot see them physically. 
  • Tips for working from home
    • How to Work From Home
      1. Get dressed for the day
      2. Find a space away from your bed to work
      3. Set goals at the start of each day 
      4. If you have trouble staying focused, try the Pomodoro technique. Forest is also a great app to help you avoid social media when you’re supposed to be working.

As of 10/2021

  • Take the time to explain COVID-19 to your children in a way that is easy for them to understand. Here is a comic that explains coronavirus to kids
  • Reassure your children if they are upset. Let them know that it is okay to feel scared, but that they are safe and loved. Sharing your own feelings with children can be a great way to help them cope.
  • Try to create a regular routine. Making a schedule that has time for education, as well as fun activities, can be helpful.
  • CDC resources on Helping Children Cope with Emergencies
  • CDC COVD-19 Coloring and Activity Book. It is designed to help children’s understanding of COVID-19 and how it spreads while helping children cope with its effects.
  • If you are concerned about what safety precautions your child’s school is taking to keep them safe, the CDC has drafted questions that you can ask:
    • What prevention strategies are you currently using? How will any changes be communicated to parents and caregivers?
    • Are you requiring teachers, staff, or students over 12 to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
    • Will you be providing regular screening? 
    • What happens if my child gets sick? What happens if my child’s teacher gets sick?
    • More questions here

As of 10/2021

Resources

en English
X