People of CN: Aleta Duff on Maintaining Positivity During COVID-19

by Aleta Duff
  Community, People of CN

Aleta Duff with her grandmother prior to the onset of Covid-19With the current Covid-19 pandemic, most people are spending most of their time at home – as they should! It’s easy to fall into bad habits such as eating unhealthy foods, watching too much TV, or spending too much time on social media. I’ve started a list of things that I am trying to do every day to stay positive:

1. At minimum, spend 30 minutes working on my physical health.

2. Engage in at least two activities (30 minutes each) to improve my mental health.

3. Do one thing to help someone else.

The first item, physical health, is obvious. If you’re stuck inside, your activity level tends to drop. I try to either go for a walk or a run – on my own, six feet from anyone else, practice yoga (there are so many videos online), or simply stretch. Just getting moving is so important.

The second item, mental health, isn’t as obvious, but is just as essential. Our day to day lives have changed in a short amount of time. At first I found myself spending all my free time either on the couch watching TV, or on my phone checking the news. Neither is good for my mental health. I try to take time each day to occupy my mind with something healthy. I’ve been practicing the piano, reading books, doing sudoku puzzles, cooking, writing in my journal, and studying for the PE exam. The exam may be cancelled until October, but I am determined to keep my mind sharp. Making it a priority to do something creative while also temporarily muting the background noise has helped lower the stress in my life.

The third item is tricky. How to help someone else while social distancing? I don’t know about you, but I have many family members and friends who are also struggling to maintain a positive outlook right now. I’ve been making it a priority to call – not text, not email – at least one of them each day. My 92 year old grandmother (pictured above with me), my mom who lives by herself, my sister who is supposed to be graduating college this spring, my other sister living under strict regulations in a Covid hotspot, or my old college roommate who lives on the other side of the world. Each of them is struggling in their own way and a phone call is a great way to lighten both their spirits and mine.

Aleta Duff is a structural engineer EIT in our Virginia Beach office. She has been with Clark Nexsen since 2016 and holds a Master of Engineering from Old Dominion University. Outside of work, Aleta can normally be found reading or outdoors on an adventure – anything from walking around her neighborhood, to running half marathons, to hiking in New Zealand.