March 2020: From Beth Fisher-Yoshida

Dear SPS Faculty,

These are certainly trying times we are experiencing now with the Covid-19 Virus and the disruption of our usual teaching and working. It can be disorienting as we continue to be responsive in following ever changing directives and then acting on them. It can also be exhausting and this caused me to take a step back and reflect on why I was feeling so tired when I actually had more time in the day since I did not have to commute?

One thought that came to mind is that we are being asked to change our usual routines and to be more intentional in how we teach and communicate. This takes extra energy that we did not have to exert before because even if we are very engaged in our work and teaching, it was still more familiar and routine. Now there are many more variables to consider and it requires extra brain energy. Another reason is from being on Zoom for so many more hours in a day. I know we all have meetings on Zoom and that collectively we work in several remote places. However, the amount of time on Zoom has increased and being thoughtful for so many meetings through a computer is tiring. It is also taxing to think about and prepare ways to simulate the face-to-face experience in an online format.

Plus, many of us have our own personal concerns about our families and loved ones that we carry, while at the same time being present to take care of others, such as students. We all deal with ambiguity in different ways and for many of us not knowing what is coming next can be daunting. At the same time, we need to be supportive of students and do what we can to allay their fears.

So, please take care of yourselves and boost your immune systems. I find that taking breaks from the computer and resting my eyes is a source of replenishment. What works for you? I also never realized just how many surfaces I can touch in one day! Being near a sink and soap is my new best friend.

Thank you,

Beth Fisher-Yoshida