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Summary

In January 2020, the United States was introduced to COVID-19, a new disease that is spread through respiratory droplets that often occurs when someone is coughing, sneezing, and even talking. Currently in the United States, there are over 2 million confirmed cases and over 100,000 deaths. In the state of Georgia, there are over 80,000 cases with approximately 2,805 deaths with Clayton County Georgia experiencing close to 2,000 confirmed cases and 79 deaths.

Situation

Due to COVID-19, the world was essentially shut down. Businesses, schools and daycares, and churches were closed. Many were quarantined or isolated to their homes for months with Stay-in-Place or Stay-at-Home ordinances, and were told to social distance, staying away from friends and family, and those they love. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that stress during an infectious disease outbreak can cause: “(1) fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on; (2) changes in sleep or eating patterns; (3) difficulty sleeping or concentrating; (4) Worsening of chronic health problems; (5) worsening of mental health conditions; and (6) increased use of tobacco and alcohol and other substances.” While the number of cases in Clayton County seemed small compared to other Metro Atlanta cities, the risk of isolation and mental health stressors were on the rise.

Response

In March 2020, Clayton County Extension began its Mindfulness in Chaos series in partnership with a Piedmont Health Care representative, Avril James. This series was a four-part, one-hour series held virtually that allowed participants to explore the different techniques and uses of Mindfulness. The series was offered via Zoom and then streamed on FaceBook Live. Mindfulness is described as the basic human ability to be fully present and aware of where we are and what we are doing. Research has shown that mindfulness positively impacts stress reduction, emotion and attention regulation, and helps to reduce depression and anxiety. The topics covered in our four-part series included Mindfulness in the Senses, Mindfulness in the Body, and Mindfulness in the Mind. Our last session will take place in July 2020.

Impact

The Mindfulness in Chaos series reached over 250 people with an additional 220 views after the videos were posted online. One participant said, “In the middle of this crazy pandemic, I often forget to protect my mind and take care of it. This series gave me an understanding of what my body needed. I have started taking one hour a week to just sit and meditate.”

State Issue

Other Programming

Details

  • Year: 2020
  • Geographic Scope: State
  • County: Clayton
  • Location: College Station, Athens
  • Program Areas:
    • Family and Consumer Sciences

Author

  • Barber, Diandria Lashell

Collaborator(s)

Non-CAES Collaborator(s)

  • Avril James, Piedmont Healthcare
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Extension Impact