The Office of Campus Ministries hosted “Sunday Streams,” a Facebook Live study of the book of James, each Sunday in April. | Photo credit: Courtesy Andrews University Campus Ministries
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought constant change to the daily lives of everyone around the world. The uncertainty has caused many to rethink their approach to “normal” and how to best care for their physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing. At Andrews University, classes have moved to remote learning, with most faculty and staff working from home. Despite the adjustments, the importance of community remains a priority, and members of the Andrews community have found new ways to maintain positivity and establish healthy practices.
For Rachel Keele, associate Dean of Women at Lamson Hall, fitness plays a large part in her COVID-19 routine. She says, “Exercise plays such a huge role in both physical and mental health. I’m a group fitness instructor at the Andreasen Center for Wellness, and have been blessed to have the opportunity to continue teaching in a virtual setting. It’s a great motivation for me to exercise, but I know it’s so important for those that join me from their homes.”
In addition to focusing on fitness, Keele has prioritized healthy eating and journaling about things that have brought her joy each day. “Aside from that, my husband and I have tried to be intentional about taking time for each other. It’s easy to just do our own thing all day as we work from home, without really spending any meaningful time together. We’ve tried to set aside time to eat a meal, watch a show or play a game,” Keele explains.
Danielle Pilgrim, associate Chaplain, also notes the importance of having healthy habits throughout the pandemic. She says, “Social distancing for an extrovert like me is certainly not ideal. However, despite being physically distant from family, friends, colleagues and the student population, I have been able to maintain my joy and fulfillment by intentionally focusing on my spiritual, emotional and physical health.”
Pilgrim created a daily routine of three effective practices. “My routine includes an hour-long power walk around my neighborhood. In addition to my power walk, I intentionally contact one family member, friend, colleague or student to encourage them,” she says. “Lastly, and most importantly, I spend an hour daily speaking to God and meditating on His words. One Scripture that has been extremely encouraging says, ‘The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged’” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV).
Turning to the Bible is also one of the ways that Scott Moncrieff, professor of English, has sought encouragement as well.
“When Paul wrote ‘for now we see in a glass darkly, but then face to face’ (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV), you might have thought he was talking about our experience teaching by Zoom, contrasted to our traditional way of teaching,” Moncrieff notes. “Everyone at Andrews has been making the big transition to temporary online teaching and interacting. But faith, hope and love remain, and the character and stability of our God of love sustains me in a time when the immediate future seems especially uncertain.”
Hannah Gallant, University Communication student writer