Skip to main content

How I Write and Learn

Wellness in the Time of Corona

By a Learning Center Coach

The following tips, tools, and resources are things that have brought me joy during #quarantinelife. I wanted to share them in the hope that maybe something here will resonate with someone else, too.

Virtual workouts

I have known about Fitness Blender for several years. Kelly and Daniel have wonderful (free!) virtual workouts that include low impact, high impact (such as HIIT), yoga, and weights. You can filter the workouts based on time, intensity level, and type of workout. I always choose “no equipment” since I don’t have a fully equipped gym in my house.

Let me tell you—they will make you sweat! One of my favorite ways to connect during quarantine and get a workout in has been to call a friend over Zoom and use the “screen sharing” feature to show a video from Fitness Blender. We’ve encouraged each other during the hard parts, chatted during the “water break,” and then caught up afterward until we both decided it was time to shower.

Scheduling in movement during my day has been a great way to feel refreshed and energized before returning to work or after a long session of reading and writing. (The Learning Center’s handout on movement and learning backs me up on this!)

Recipe of the week: Black bean brownies

I created this recipe when I realized I just had too many beans on my hands. Brownies are great any time of the year, but this whole quarantine experience has definitely increased my sweet tooth. Plus, they’re sugar and oil free to boot!

A photo of a brownie pan featuring black bean brownies before being cut.

1.5 cups well-rinsed black beans
¼ cup peanut butter
¼ cup oats
¼ cup cacao powder
1/3 to ½ cup maple syrup
½ cup chocolate chips (optional)
½ teaspoon baking powder
Dash of salt

Blend everything but chocolate chips in a high-speed blender or food processor. Fold in chocolate chips (if using). Then, spread mixture on a parchment-lined 8×8 pan. Bake on 350 F for 15-20 min. Brownies will firm up once they cool. Enjoy!

Mindfulness practices

Engaging in mindfulness practices throughout the day helps me refocus my attention. This has been especially important during quarantine as my home is both my work space, living space, leisure space, and cooking space. The following tools are several that I use, but I would also suggest checking out the Learning Center’s handout on distractions for additional tips on how to stay focused.

  • 3-minute breathing space

This mindfulness practice is often used in meditation and mindfulness workshops. I use it as a simple way to refocus my mind if I feel tired or distracted. The three steps in the process include 1. Attending to what is, 2. Focusing on the breath, and 3. Bringing attention to the body. Try the video of the practice here.

  • Insight Timer

Insight Timer is an app that can be downloaded and has a number of free guided meditations. My personal favorite teacher is Sarah Blondin. Her recent talk–“A Message of Hope”—speaks to the challenges many of us may be facing. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything, but she does ask us to find our own “okayness” amidst the chaos and uncertainty. I felt grounded in my body—more connected to myself and the world in which I live—after listening and being led through this meditative practice.

These are just a few examples of activities I’ve enjoyed during quarantine. The key has been to mix it up!

This blog showcases the perspectives of UNC Chapel Hill community members learning and writing online. If you want to talk to a Writing and Learning Center coach about implementing strategies described in the blog, make an appointment with a writing coach or an academic coach today. Have an idea for a blog post about how you are learning and writing remotely? Contact us here.

Comments are closed.