CEDR’s Selfcare Challenge

Almost a year into this pandemic, many are finding our mental resilience challenged. Dr. Simon-Thomas, Director for the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley has found that the ability to be resilient depends on how we manage our setbacks and difficult periods. The good thing is that resilience can be developed though active practices that are scientifically proven. These practices such as self-care and meaningful connection to others, help us move forward in a positive ways even during a crisis.

One practice that has helped CEDR as an organization, is working on that meaningful connection with our volunteers. Team Leaders often check-in with our volunteers during an activation, and even for some time afterwards. Team Leaders do this to make sure volunteers are managing the stress and emotions that emerge from being witnesses to a disaster. Our Team Leaders know the personal impact disasters have on our lives and the importance that self-care provides to help us manage our physical and mental stress.

Developing a healthy self-care practice to increase our resilience and improve our overall mental health is not easy even during normal times. Scientists have shown us that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit, let alone a whole practice taking care of ourselves on a daily basis. However, the research of Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, has shown that with consistent practice we can thrive even during the challenging times.

Towards the goal of developing a consistent practice of self-care and positivity, we at CEDR have decided to launch a challenge over the next 30 days to help our volunteers and followers begin, develop and maintain a self-care practice that creates a mental resilience that will enable us to deal with any challenges that are ahead. We hope you will join us in this challenge and share with us feedback of your journey along the way. Please feel free to leave comments or suggestions about your self-care experiences using the actions on our list or from your own practice.  For those who are visually challenged they can access the text of the image at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CDNAvQS8amMD4qw7dI1mV5aW6jqAdxtubIWwbv2OFw8/edit?usp=sharing

If you’re new at these types of challenges, participation is easy. Simply choose daily one of the 40 activities listed and make a note somewhere about your experience: either in a journal, or by checking off the box on a printout of the list, in order to develop a habit of accountability. Please note that even though it is a 30 day challenge we listed 40 activities in the event you might want to swap out an activity you don’t like. We encourage you to give us feedback on our social media accounts to let us know how things are going. Every Saturday night we will be available to chat on twitter and get your comments or questions on your experiences. These check-ins are what we do every week when we have activations to share life hacks or challenges with our self-care practices.

For a bonus as well as a boost of inspiration, we encourage you to listen to The Science of Happiness Podcast.

image shows the podcast title: The Science of Happiness

Explore Free Courses During COVID

This #holiday season we’ve been sharing with our followers, resources our volunteers have found to be helpful in getting through this pandemic. Today we will share additional FREE resources our volunteers have used either to learn something new or to explore something that has always interested them. We invite you to take a look at these online resources and see if any of these capture your interest during this pandemic.

These learning opportunities run the gamut from simply exploring a hobby, classes in skills development, to the introduction of  courses in a variety of subjects. Several give you an opportunity to earn academic credit or professional certifications. A few resources provide advanced level business or computer science courses.  Many of the introductory online courses can be done in one day, while others require small chunks of time over a week or more.

Some of our own volunteers have used this time to finally dive deep into that hobby they always wanted time for, or they have acquired new skills that will help them move forward in their current careers. Others have used this time and these resources to alter the direction of their lives and have begun to pivot into new career paths. Some of these opportunities end soon so please review and explore them soon!

Learn a New Skill or Hobby While Staying Busy


Coursera has hundreds of free courses that can be finished in under 8 hours. Topics vary from Cooking, Psychological First Aid, Child Nutrition to Introduction to Computer Programming or if you prefer, you can choose longer courses or programs, such Computer Programming Certificates.


Teach your cat to give a high five, learn to make kombucha, become a better dancer, improve your handwriting, and more with these Youtube tutorials.


Lifehack believes in acquiring skills that multiply your time, energy and overall quality of life. Explore their personal development fast track classes to jumpstart your transformation.


There are plenty of free niche courses online such as bird identification or All About Fancy Males, from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, daily instrumental ukulele, harmonica, baritone uke, and guitar classes from music teacher Gary Jugart, and drawing lessons from Drawing Coach.


Want to know more about how disasters are handled by FEMA, how you can prepare for the impacts of disasters on your pets or livestock, or how your community emergency response team operates? FEMA has a course for you!

Khan Academy

Free online advanced high school and college level courses where you can learn about, or brush up on, many levels of astronomy, math, art, computer programming, economics, physics, chemistry, biology, finance, history, and more.


Check your local library to see if they provide access to Lynda.com or Udemy.com. Both offer a wide variety of classes. In addition, your library may subscribe to Mango, a language-learning database, if you’re interested in diving into a whole new language. You’re paying for access to these databases with your tax dollars – use them!



Courses on computer and software skills ranging from computer basics and typing tutorials to Microsoft Office 2016, as well as topics as diverse as critical thinking, algebra basics, and digital photography. Many courses are available in different languages.


The G Suite Learning Center provides 10- to 15-minute micro-learning modules to equip you to use Google’s GSuite (Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive).


Lessons range from 45 minutes to 10 hours on G Suite software and topics such as preparing for the FAFSA, building your online business, and using Google to get a new job.


Digital skills help us connect, learn, engage, and create more promising futures. Learn how to effectively use devices, Microsoft software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), and the internet to collaborate with others and discover, use and create information.


If you’re looking to make a bigger time commitment or do a deep dive on something you’ve been hoping to learn then explore the offerings at Openculture. It has a catalog of 1,500 free online courses from major universities via learning platforms such as EdX and Coursera.


Start developing your skills for free with learning paths from LinkedIn Learning and Microsoft Learn, then practice tech skills in the GitHub Learning Lab. Also, learn how the skills you already have map to thousands of jobs with LinkedIn’s Career Explorer tool.

Harvard University

Harvard offers a variety of open learning opportunities, including free online courses in a variety of subjects from Astronomy and Buddhism to Politics and Philosophy. A full list of online courses at Harvard is available through the link and through their edX learning platform which offers over 3.000 courses.

Website Design: HTML5 & CSS3 for Absolute Beginners  

In this free series you will learn all the foundational principles of website design in a self-paced 21 episodes course where you will learn and use CSS and HTML to build websites.


Alison offers a wide range of free basic/introductory courses in a broad range of subjects from business startup topics to marketing, in addition to their core IT management, networking, security, hardware, software and game development. While courses are free to participate in (by watching ads), if you complete a certificate or diploma course, you’ll need to pay a fee to get a printed or digital certificate. You also can opt to pay for a premium account for around $9 per month to remove ads, access to more advanced level classes, and additional features such as discounts on certificate fees.

Worker Safety Training

Free online worker safety training from the University of Utah and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences which provides expert guidance on health, safety, virus prevention, employee rights, and COVID-19 policy in the workplace.


Free IBM Professional Training & Skills

IBM offers free online training courses, designed to build valuable skills and improve your  productivity. They include foundational soft skills programs as well as technical training. Many courses offer free digital certificates to help you build your professional credentials.

PBS TeacherLine

PBS TeacherLine is one of the top professional development resources delivering self-paced certified courses online for PreK through Grade 12 teachers.

Machine Learning

Carnegie Mellon University is offering a free introductory self-paced class on Machine Learning for those computer science peeps interested in exploring this subject. 


Udemy is for professional adults who need to enhance their skills to continue advancing in their career. Some courses are free, while some are available at a fee — it depends on the course and instructor. However, paid courses won’t break the bank, as most go on sale for as low as $9.99, so you can typically find a good deal (especially around the holidays).