During this stressful time, a healthy activity to release stress may include connecting with others over the phone.

Alaska Native and American Indian people are strong and resilient people. Many in the Alaska Native and American Indian community have shared their knowledge of survival and the importance of working together to get through life’s hardships. Less than two years ago, Alaskans demonstrated strength as the whole community responded to a 7.1 earthquake in Southcentral Alaska. When faced with adversity, Alaska pulls together as a community; by working together we will make it through this current challenge.

Southcentral Foundation is committed to working with the Native Community to achieve wellness through health and related services. In response to the concerns related to the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19, SCF is being vigilant and is preparing as far ahead as possible. SCF will continue to support the community following the recommendations provided by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on COVID-19.

In response to COVID-19, the health and wellness of the community is everyone’s responsibility. Individual action to support community wellness means social distancing as much as possible, washing hands with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds, and providing emotional support for each other. Check-in on loved ones, reach out to friends, and when possible provide support to those who continue to work and support the needs of the community. This is a stressful and uncertain time for everyone. Now, more than ever, it is important to pull together and be compassionate. Fortunately, there are many options that are available to stay connected while practicing social distancing. To stay connected with family and friends considering reaching out via text, phone, video chat, social media, or write a letter and mail it.

The practice of social distancing and self-isolation provides an opportunity to slow down, create art, and take time to practice the hobby that there hasn’t been enough time for. Perhaps read a book, learn phrases in an Alaska Native language, bead, create Alaska Native or American Indian art, craft, share knowledge with family and friends (with proper social distancing), or journal to remember life during a pandemic and how life was before and after — the generations ahead may want to learn how they too can be strong and resilient, or cook a traditional dish.

In response to social isolation recommendations and the significant impact on services, many individuals and organizations have made changes to continue to support the community. In addition to the changes, many are offering services for free or at reduced prices, examples include cooking classes, yoga, access to webinars, and online courses.

As a community it is important to continue to support the most vulnerable and ensure that help is provided where it is needed. With everyone in the community doing their part to help prevent the spread of germs while also supporting each other’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health we will continue to be strong and resilient.

Information is available here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

Healthy ways of coping with stress is also available on the CDC website here: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/copingwith-stresstips.html.

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