Resources for Self-Care While Working from Home

By Emily Bamber, PhD 2024 and the Science Y'all Team

This piece is a companion to a post by Kiara Gomez on coping with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’ve been working from home for over six weeks–I hope everyone is settling into working, learning, and teaching from home. This is a difficult time for all of us and will be affecting everyone differently. We at Science Y’all have been thinking of ways we can have a helpful impact, so here we’ve compiled a list of resources for self-care during this unusual time. You’ll also find a list of resources on ways we can help, as we know the sense of helplessness* during this time can be overwhelming. I’ve categorized the list into 1) Resources for Staying in Touch, 2) Resources for De-stressing, and 3) Resources for Helping Others. The resources are linked within the post, but a right-click will display the address if you prefer or need to copy and paste to share specific resources.

*If the symptoms of stress and anxiety impair your ability to function, please speak to an experienced mental health professional. The UT Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC) is continuing to provide services over the phone. For more information please visit:

  • or call 512-471-3515 (available Monday-Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm),
  • or call their Crisis Line at (512) 471-2255 (available 24/7).


Image from Adobe Stock

1) Resources for Staying in Touch

“Maintaining social networks can foster a sense of normality and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress.” – American Psychological Association

  • Schedule regular calls with friends and family using FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, or other video-calling options. This is also a great time to catch up with old friends you haven’t spoken to in a while.
    • You could even plan a virtual dinner party (or karaoke night?) using FaceTime or a video-conferencing tool.
  • Start a text /email chain with friends with articles or books to read, videos to watch, podcasts to listen to, songs to listen to, etc.
    • You may even want to start up a virtual book or movie club, weekly gaming hour(s), or do other activities/hobbies at the same time.
  • Play online games with friends:
    • Obviously, there are the usual avenues if you have a gaming console connected to the internet (e.g., Xbox Live or Playstation Network).
    • Houseparty is an app you can use to communicate and play party games.
    • Words with Friends is a good game to get started on with your friends and family.
    • A free, online, cards against humanity -style game. (still in beta).
    • You can download and play a whole range of free (+ paid) games from Steam and the Board Game Arena, in both single player, multiplayer, and remote play-together options.
  • Start watching TV shows/movies/podcasts/live streamed concerts at the same time with friends:
    • Try Netflix Party. (As of now, this app only runs as an extension on the Google Chrome browser).
    • Remember – You can get a 30-day free trial of Netflix, 6-months free of Amazon Prime Student, and 1 free audiobook on Audible.
    • Continue reading for suggestions of live-streamed concerts and virtual tours!


Mandala colored by Megan Flansburg (PhD 2022)

2) Resources for De-stressing

  • Take regular breaks from the news and social media.
    • Or at least, follow more accounts that make you feel good, if you have to keep up with news. (Tasty cooking videos, anyone?)
    • If someone you follow is sharing posts that are inaccurate or perturbing, mute their posts.
    • You may want to control your news intake by signing up to a daily newsletter on coronavirus, rather than browsing all day.
  • Have a routine.
    • Try your best to keep to waking up, eating, and going to bed at the same time – this is standard advice you can practice all year round to help yourself feel healthier.
    • Check out these work-from-home tips from experts, compiled in a TED Talks playlist.
  • Eat Healthy.
    • As above, this is important all-year round.
  • Practice deep breathing and meditation.
  • Move around. Physical activity produces stress-relieving hormones.
    • Yoga:  GSEC are running weekly lunch yoga sessions, taught by a grad student – watch out for their emails. And, more yoga tutorials are available on YouTube!
    • Exercise: Here’s a no-equipment, full-body workout you can easily do at home.
  • Do something that makes you feel good, at least once every day. Here are some suggestions:
  • Get cultural.
  • Tune in to live streamed concerts.
    • Stream the Met Opera for free from their website. Performances go live at 7:30 p.m. ET and remain active for 20 hours. Also, consider donating to their emergency fund.
    • Here’s a full list of artists streaming concerts or fun stuff, compiled by VULTURE. Scroll down that page to find an individual day-to-day schedule, updated daily.
    • And here’s a link to the Sofar Sounds online listening room: ~30min FREE concerts are available live and on-demand from a range of artists. You can also donate directly to the artists, or go buy their EPs/stash if you’re able to!
    • The YouTube channel the show must go on! is releasing Andrew Lloyd-Webber musicals every Friday, available for 48-hrs.
  • Play games. See our suggested single-player and multiplayer platforms above.
  • Pick up a new (or practice an old) hobby or skill.
    • Start learning a new language using Duolingo or the web, such as this list on Open Culture.
    • Start learning a new instrument, singing or dancing! There are plenty of YouTube tutorials out there to help you learn.
      • For example, Oti Mabuse is running dance classes for adults and kids alike.
    • Drawing, sketching, making collages, or painting.
    • Baking and cooking – see @breadaheadbakery on Instagram for live bake-along instructions at 9am CST
    • Crafts like sewing, knitting, cross stitch, woodwork/carpentry, (Amazon is still delivering if you need to procure materials). It’s finally time to upcycle that old dress or cabinet! See creativebug for inspiration.
  • Be there for others. (see above, and below)


Image from TED Talks playlist (linked above).

3) Resources for Helping Others

  • Help with humanitarian aid, in any way you can.
  • Offer help in your community to those more vulnerable. Search the web and social media for community groups in your area where you can offer your services.
    • E.g., find your neighborhood Facebook page, or alternatively your local “buy nothing” project page – These are not groups specific to the crisis, but here people are offering services and items relevant to the COVID-19 outbreak, for their local area.
  • Support local businesses that are closed by buying gift cards for their online stores. (or buying from them if they are open – but take care to practice social distancing and hygiene!)
  • Share public health recommendations and updates within your personal networks and on social media.
  • Donate personal protective equipment (PPE) that you may have in the lab to the local hospital or via
    • Some organizations are also running low on reagents and equipment, so consider donating if you can.
  • Donate your computing power for COVID19 simulations.
  •  Volunteer your skills to help COVID-19 researchers or take on a COVID-19 challenge. Tasks can include anything from transcribing data and annotating images, to creating a low-cost ventilator and machine learning challenges:
  • Volunteer to help answer questions for specific COVID-19 ChatBots.
  • Edit Wikipedia pages related to COVID-19.
    • Create an account, see this tutorial for beginners, and add and/or verify information on COVID-19 related pages.
  • Offer to help with teaching virtually, and share your research virtually with families.
    • Sign up for Skype A Scientist
    • Edit and share this text on social media or directly with your friends/family:
      If you are remotely educating your children, if you need assistance with understanding something that has been assigned for your child or if you need more resources, just give me a shout. I have experience teaching [subject] and I’ll be happy to answer questions to the best of my ability. I also have a good network of other lecturers and researchers so if I can’t help odds are someone I know can! Just ask. #bettertogether


Some of the ideas and information for this article was obtained from the following resources: