These resources were developed as part of our Community Connection Series to help the community in response to COVID-19.
Anxiety from crises takes a toll on one’s soul. Whatever stress one is feeling from within or is receiving from others combines into negative feelings that are hard to ignore. Many are now practicing self-quarantine, social distancing, and working from home. Many are also currently unemployed.
These current environments cause feelings of isolation and stagnancy, which lead to depression, fear, anger, guilt, and loneliness. This is prevalent throughout many communities during the COVID-19 crisis; self-isolating is a means of directly dealing with the pandemic to reduce its spread.
We can use tools from our spiritual worlds for our own self-care as we deal with times of uncertainty. Below are some tips for those practicing these forms of isolation or are experiencing negative emotions that are being heightened by the health crisis.
Connecting with Others at a Distance
- Try to deepen connections with loved ones talking about shared memories. Deepen conversations in more fulfilling ways to combat the one-dimensional feeling of phone and video calls.
- Talk to others on the phone rather than through video to allow the self-consciousness of being viewed to disappear and make way for deeper conversations.
- If you can’t visit someone, send them memorabilia, photographs, poems— something to focus on other than the current situation. Handwritten letters especially can mean so much during this time.
- Start an email chain with your apartment building or neighborhood to uplift and help one another. Many people are also facing the same issues and emotions; comfort each other by relating to one another.
- Study a thought provoking short text together with a friend or family member. Talk to each other and share what texts you are reading.
- Work on your spiritual biography and share it with family and community members.
- Consider use of technology during Passover due to extenuating circumstances. Synagogues are having virtual Passovers, you can also connect with friends and family you can’t physically be with. You can also relate to the themes of the holiday through these times, talking about quarantine and living as a community.
- Feel helpful: it is important to feel that you are contributing to the solution or the coping of more than yourself, develop things or join in things that could be helpful to others. Visit The Jewish Board’s COVID-19 Volunteer Page to see you how you can help, or reach out to other community resources to volunteer your time.
Self-Care and Distraction as Comfort
- Find joyous distractions with things like movies, tasks that you’ve been putting off, communing with house plants and pets, taking warm baths, and doing things to relax and soothe the body.
- Use online resources that are streaming free shows, courses, concerts, and information, some of which are listed below. Take up a new hobby or start to study subjects you’ve always been interested in that can add to your knowledge and skill base.
- Combat stagnation and lack of structure through movement and meditation. Relating to yourself and your own body can be refreshing.
- Find what works for you: consider everything that you enjoy and try it all to see what fits. This pandemic is exacerbating the issues and struggles we have had before, so make use of what has helped your mental health before and add it to your repertoire of self-care.
You can download these additional readings and teachings to reflect on resilience in the Jewish tradition:
Some additional sources of relaxation and support can be found in the following links:
- The Met Opera is streaming free shows every day: https://www.metopera.org/
- Broadway HD is offering a free week of Broadway shows (It is $9 a month after that): https://www.broadwayhd.com/
- The Actors Fund has created a series called Stars in the House that will feature entertainers providing mini-performances and chats from their homes: https://actorsfund.org/about-us/news/stars-house
- Congregation Beit Simchat Torah is offering livestreamed services: https://cbst.org/content/cbst-these-challenging-times
- UJA-Federation of New York has a helpful resource directory for support: https://www.ujafedny.org/coronavirus/resources/
- New York Cares has volunteer opportunities for people during the coronavirus: https://www.newyorkcares.org/coronavirus
A Message from The Jewish Board
If you live in the New York metropolitan area and need help coping with stress in times of crisis, we can help. Call us at 1.844.ONE.CALL to speak with an intake specialist.
Visit our events calendar to see what additional Community Connections are coming up. We also have the following opportunities for those interested in supporting New Yorkers during this time of crisis:
The Jewish Board HelpCorps is a team of paid, temporary full-time and part-time staff to help us serve New York’s most vulnerable during this time of crisis. No specialized skills or training are required to apply — only a passion for helping others. Learn more.
During this time of crisis, there are many ways that we can help the people we serve – children in the foster care system, children and adults with mental illness, and people of all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Learn more.
Help us safeguard New York City’s safety net as we continue to provide services to our most vulnerable populations in a time of crisis. Proceeds will go towards providing relief for programs who are struggling in the wake of COVID-19. You can also help spread the word about our fundraiser by creating your own fundraising page or team.