Take care

Keeping ourselves and others healthy during a global pandemic

Aubrey Rhoadarmer , Falcon Navigator

Aubrey with her sister Alyssa, brother Brennan, and brother-in-law Evan (from left to right). (Courtesy of Aubrey Rhoadarmer)

On Dec. 31, COVID cases in my home state peaked – 8,616 new cases. 51 deaths.

For a few months, it seemed like things were getting better. I am not sure if that was naivety on my part or just hope, but the ever-increasing numbers make it obvious that things are undeniably getting worse.

As we begin the quarter on Zoom, after having finally returned to some normalcy last quarter, it is getting a lot harder to have a positive outlook. Our ‘normal’ does not seem to exist any more.

Yet, as our world feels like it is caving in, there are things we can do for those around us. And there are things we can do for ourselves.

One of the best ways to keep yourself and others safe is to follow CDC masking guidelines. That means wearing a mask indoors at all times and outdoors in crowded places. Masks should be two or more layers, fit your face and cover your mouth and nose.

As of fall quarter, 94% of Seattle Pacific University’s students, faculty and staff have been vaccinated. That is a great number, but unfortunately it is not 100%.

Getting the vaccine reduces your risk of infection for the coronavirus and can protect against severe illness. The vaccine keeps people from dying. And booster shots are available now, too.

Scheduling a vaccine, whether your first, second or third shot, is unbelievably easy, as well as free. So to keep yourself, your friends and your family safe, get vaccinated.

I know we have all heard these things before. Yes, wear your mask. Yes, get vaccinated. But along with keeping ourselves and those around us physically healthy, we must also be sure to stay mentally healthy.

The world has been ravaged by a global pandemic. It is okay if you do not read every word in every chapter of every textbook. It is okay if you do not stay up until 2 a.m. writing that paper. It is okay if you cancel on your friends because you just cannot do it that day.

This year we should all stop beating ourselves up for not being invincible. It is okay to care for ourselves, especially now.

Taking care means something different for each of us. For me, it means taking an hour a day to read a book or one night a week to do some painting rather than stressing over homework. For others that could mean going on a walk every morning or listening to a new musical artist each week.

Maybe it means reaching out for help, whether that means reaching out to friends, family or an SPU counselor. Please do not be afraid to ask for support. It can be scary to open up to others, but I think we have all been isolated enough these past two years.

I know that doing all these things will not magically make the pandemic go away. I just hope that they will make it easier to get to the end.

So take care this quarter. Take care of our campus, our community and, most importantly, yourself.