Courtney Weaver is joined by Angela Delfine, a Residence Hall Coordinator at WVU, to talk about her personal journey navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Hear more about she learned to cope and how both she and Courtneyhave taken care of themselves during these trying times!

Transcript:

Hi, everyone. Welcome to Wellbeing Wednesdays. My name is Courtney Weaver and I'm your host. I'm also the director over at Well WVU here at West Virginia university today. Joining me once again is an RHC here at WVU, which stands for residence hall coordinator. In case you don't know, but that's Angela Delphine.

Angela. Welcome back. How are you doing? I'm good. Thank you for having me Courtney. Yes. And for those of are just rabid rabid fans will remember Angela from last semester coming on to promote her and Patrick you're a fellow RHCs podcast towers talk, which you all are still doing, right? Yes, we are. We kicked off our latest season and those episodes drop every Tuesday morning.

Woo. Oh, that's good towers talk Tuesday. All right. So we're here. We're having your back today to talk a little bit about self-care during the pandemic and particularly your own self-care journey. So to start off, why don't you tell us a little bit more about what you struggled with most during the pandemic?

Oh man. A lot. I think like everyone else, for me, it was hard to navigate. So I've been an RFC here at WVU for two years now, but I've done this type of role for like seven years now. And so obviously I like what I do if I've been doing it for this long and. For me. Um, there were a lot of parts of my job, um, like planning events for students, or just having students stop by my office to say hi that, um, make me love what I do.

And I lost, you know, a lot of those kind of normal things that, that helped with my why I'm passionate about my job, right? Like those are my reminders of, Oh, like, this is why I do what I do. I think also, uh, you know, I, um, I planned a wedding during the Phoenix CENIC last year and, uh, you know, I made it, uh, I'm married.

I got married October, but I think that there were, I'm a big planner. And so I was really challenged by. All of my plans getting thrown out the window, um, and having to completely redo things. And I think that, um, you know, I learned a lot about just kind of, uh, rolling with it, even though that's challenging for me as someone super type a so yeah, there, I think we've all struggled in very different ways, but I think they were very nearly unique struggles.

Right. Well, something that I noticed with a lot of friends is that those who are more extroverted, um, who require like, need that kind of. Person to person interaction. We're really struggling, especially in the beginning part of the pandemic. And maybe it's less. So now as we figure out like how to connect with people virtually, but I mean, are you an extrovert?

And if you are like, did you find that the struggle was too real for you? So, um, this may be a surprise of actually really ambiverted. Um, and so I, I could talk your ear off if I, I mean, as you. Figured out Courtney and I were totally talking for like 10 minutes before we started this, but for my kind of recharging of energy, I am actually a home body.

I like just reading books. I, I play animal crossing on my switch. We were just talking about that. And so I think that. I missed social interaction and just going and having a meal with friends like I normally did. Um, but I don't know that I struggled as much as other folks who are not home bodies and our usage is kind of being out and about all the time.

Yeah, I'm definitely more of an introverted person, which some people find surprising. Um, but so to be honest, my left didn't change too, too much. Once

I was relatively, still new to the area. So it's not like I had an established friend group that I would hang out with all the time. It was just like, it was me kind of figuring things out and I'm still figuring it out. It'll just, you know, spend lots of time by myself, which I don't mind. Yeah. But I feel the extroverts, my sister is extroverted and I know she probably is driving her husband up a wall.

But, um, so, uh, talk to us a little bit about what you did to take care of yourself during the pandemic. Yeah. Um, I think that, you know, for a while, when the weather was nice, um, I got a bike and I started biking a lot on the rail trail. Really enjoy that. Um, I cannot wait for it to stop being cold so I can go biking again.

Um, I also, uh, got a dog, um, very dramatic, you know, step, but in April, um, my husband and I now husband and I, um, we were just like, you know, life is too short and we knew we wanted a dog for a while. And so, um, For those who are in towers, everyone knows Daisy the beagle, but, um, I think that having a pet has been very helpful.

I have to go outside and walk her. And so I like have to be active every day in some capacity, even if it's a Walker too, around the block. So she helps a lot with my mental health and just kind of bringing me joy when I'm having like the most stressful days ever. Um, and I think, you know, in general, With self-care as well.

Um, when you're working from home or, um, maybe just not working in the normal capacity of having like in-person meetings, uh, I found that it's easier to just sit on your computer and do work for really long periods of time when you're like, maybe you shouldn't be. And so, um, For me, it was also remembering to keep that boundary of, you know, turning off my computer at a certain time and, um, you know, getting to bed at a good time and those kinds of things.

Yeah. I definitely feel that turning off the computer because at the beginning of the pandemic, and then when I was doing a few other duties that were outside of my normal ones, you know, uh, I recorded a little bit more time, but now it's like four 45 end of the Workday. My computer's turned off my, the folks who, if they need to get ahold of me after that time, if it's an emergency text me, you have my number.

But other than that, I'm not checking my email no way. Yep. It's hard. It is hard sometimes, especially as an RHC I think at the beginning of the year. And, uh, right now I'm in a period of transition Oz, so I'm in line tower, but I'm also going to be embedded tower. And, um, I'm kind of overseeing both right now until we get a new RHC for lion.

But, um, you know, it's kind been hard sometimes to say, okay, like, I can't really turn it off yet, but how am I going to make up that space? So, uh, Saturday's my. Sacred day, this week of doing nothing and I'm pretty excited. Nice. That's always, that's always a good thing to set aside for sure. Um, so did you find, I mean, you talked a little bit about your, your dog.

Um, are there any other new things that you discovered that you really enjoyed doing? Or did you often revert to some of like. The old ways of self-care that you've found helpful in the past. Um, so I definitely, I, uh, tried a lot of new things. So one thing that I think has been difficult is that I'm very close with my family and my husband's family and they, uh, they live in Pittsburgh, so we're not super far.

And so not being able to just go hang out with them on weekends, like I normally would have was challenging. And so, um, I found myself face timing a lot more than I used to. Uh, with my family. Um, and that helps, uh, even if we don't have like a, like a long conversation, we just like hang out in the living room together on FaceTime.

And there's just something really comforting in that I think too, when it comes to maybe old habits that help with some of the anxiety, um, I'm a big napper and, um, not during the Workday, but, you know, whenever I have some time, um, I think that, you know, as long as you're not. Sleeping, um, naps help a lot with just kind of calming some anxiety, taking a break, resting your mind.

And so I take, you know, an app with my dog on like the weekends, uh, just to kind of recharge and, uh, relax a little. And then reading. I really enjoy reading. Um, I like to say that I read a whole bunch during the pandemic. Uh, at the beginning I started to pick up reading a lot more and that's been really healthy and helpful for me.

Um, but I think my brain was just kind of in this exhausted crisis mode to where, uh, reading was just kind of tedious and felt like a chore and wasn't as enjoyable as it used to be. And so, um, You know, I took a lot of time to take care of myself over winter break. I took like three weeks off to just like, hang out and do nothing.

And so that was really, um, you know, really, it was good for me. And now I can kind of pick up and, and get back to, you know, feeling a little yeah. Normal. Yeah. I mean, you're not the first person in who's who I've heard and say that they haven't been able to concentrate on reading during the pandemic.

That's not terribly surprising. Something that was helpful for me is that I previously lived in Florida and I had started a book club like several months before I left. And since the pandemic, like I've still been able to be a part of it because they're all just meeting virtually and it doesn't matter where we are.

So that helps because we pick books that I probably wouldn't pick by myself. Cause I mostly just retired.

You know? It makes you feel good. It sounds like. Yes. Yeah. Thing that I just love and gobble up. Um, but like the book club has sort of exposed me into some other books and still get to see the people that I got really close with while I was in Florida is it's really nice. So yeah. But I, I understand the struggle to read.

Cause sometimes it does feel like homework. Yeah, I stopped being in school a long time ago. I don't want homework anymore. Sorry to all of our listeners.

So with the pandemic, we, we kind of lost a sense of what normal is. So how did you go about accepting that? I heard it, I believe in a webinar, but someone framed this, this pandemic and the way that we were feeling as, um, a sense of like grieving the loss of our normal lives. And I think it, it just hadn't hit me that, that like how appropriate that was to describe how we were all feeling.

Um, and so, you know, for me, it was just kinda this, like, I don't even know that most of us can describe the, how it felt at the beginning. Um, but it just completely drained of, of all energy. And, um, I'm a very intrinsically motivated person and I just wasn't super motivated to do like anything at all. Um, and so.

You know, for me, um, a lot of it was just kind of taking time to reflect and come to terms with, okay, like we need to process through these thoughts of what you are feeling. Um, it's not normal, it's not normal to just like, want to sleep in hide. Like we have to kind of, um, you know, reflect on why we feel this way.

And when someone framed it as grieving that loss, that was like, Oh man, like, it does feel like I'm grieving. Um, almost like the death of someone. And, and so, um, I think that, that helped me with taking time to say, okay, let's reflect on this. Like, what are healthy ways that, um, I can try to get out of it a little bit more.

And then too, just realizing that it, it wasn't fully going to go away. These feelings aren't going to go away. And, um, you know, we just got to function within this, this system. And so, um, I think that, um, I've taken a lot of time to reflect on that and just kind of, uh, Get back to, to a little bit more normal feeling on, on how life is going right now.

Yeah, I can, I can definitely identify that. I think something that helped me was it was the pandemic was sprained as. A worldwide traumatic event. And so we need to think about it as a trauma and then be like trauma informed in our approach to like our, with our programming for students or whatnot. But yeah, like it is a huge trauma.

Listen to your body, listen to what it's telling you. Everyone processes it differently. Some people get a lot of energy. Some people get zapped of all energy and everyone responsible differently. And I think that that's what helps. Me a lot. Um, and that kind of goes into this, um, idea of giving yourself grace.

Uh, and so I talked about it. I know a couple of podcasts ago. Where I sometimes on the weekends, I do like to get out and exercise every day. You know, a lot of it's just like walking around the parking lot at my apartment complex, but it's still movement. Um, but there are some days where I'm sitting in my robe and I'm like, I don't, I don't want to do anything.

I just want to sit here and I have to like, literally give myself permission to do that. Um, so how do you give yourself grace in those times? Oh man. Well, I think that was a, that was a huge challenge for me. Um, because I feel like people were either, there was this large population that was just like, I'm going to lose all this weight and be like the most fit person ever.

And then there was another population of us, um, where I am in that group of like, man, I just like can't move and I just want to eat all the snacks. Um, and so obviously balance is important, but. Um, I think for me, it was that I had to tell myself like, okay, other people are going through this too. Um, and we grieve in really different ways.

And, um, you know, I've, I've since bounced back from some of that unhealthy behavior. Um, but I, I think that, um, Yeah. Like what you said, it's giving yourself permission, right. And telling yourself, um, that you're not lazy for taking a break. Um, and, uh, you know, the other thing too, especially with, with work and, um, you know, I know a lot of students struggled with us with like online classes.

Um, Accepting and realizing and recognizing that, um, maybe your, your sense of like worth work ethic and motivation. Like some days you're not going to get everything done, um, because of where we are mentally and like, that's okay. As long as you're still doing your job in some capacity, like it's okay. If some days look super different.

Um, and so that, that was something that I really come to terms with, but I think that that helped a lot. Yeah. Definitely. Uh, so let's talk about like maybe the lessons learned during this pandemic and what, like, what did you learn? And then how will you take those lessons into post COVID life? Because there is, there is light on the horizon, you know, it might happen.

Yeah. Oh, um, that is, that is tough. I think that, um, for me, It was a good chance for me to sit back and say, okay, like you can't do it all. Sometimes I think I can do it all. I try to do it all. Um, I'm a very busy person, but, um, there were just some things we couldn't physically do during COVID. Right. And so I think that, um, it was a good opportunity for me to step back and say, okay, like, Um, we're mentally in this state of crisis.

What is essential right now to get done, um, with work, what is essential to keeping a balanced life, um, as we kind of struggled to survive, right? Because many of our brains were just in survival mode. And so I think with that, um, you know, it's given me time to reflect on okay, like, um, you don't have to do it all.

What are things that, that I enjoy doing because they make my life feel full. Um, and what are some things that maybe I can, uh, let go of and, you know, maybe say, okay, I need to step back from this a little bit more. So definitely that, that boundary, uh, was important for me to see. Yeah. I think for me, I've gotten better at giving myself permission to do things.

So I would like to carry over as well, like giving myself a break if I need it, that it's okay. And also I got a bread machine and I learned how to bake. Yeah. It was like past the, the baking trend of, I think the summer was whenever we started to bake bread. I wasn't cheating after. Near the holidays, so, okay.

Bread's good. All year round and I've made pie for the first time too, so that's awesome. All right, well, thank you so much, Angela, for joining us today, it was really great to chat with you and hopefully our,. our listeners picked up a few tidbits on self-care during a pandemic and also post then debit. So to all of our listeners would really appreciate you and we will catch you next time on Wellbeing Wednesdays.