By: Chabe Acosta
Give Back is committed to supporting and informing students during these times of uncertainty. The COVID-19 Pandemic may make it impossible for colleges and schools to resume in-person learning in the fall. We want you to know that it is okay and normal to experience stress and anxiety. It would be best if you took care of yourself and your mental health. Here are some tips we learned from our successful mental health session, which recently took place at our Mid-Atlantic Summit.
Take breaks from the news and social media to clear your mind. Staying informed is vital. However, information overload can also cause anxiety, fear, and stress. Try to disconnect and relax whenever you can. Instead, talk with people that you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. In times of disconnect, it is essential to remember to stay connected with your loved ones and friends as much as possible. Send a text message, set up a group video call or create a fun mailing list, and reach out to stay connected.
Try to care for your body by eating a well-balanced meal. What you eat directly affects the function of your brain and your mood. Eat healthily and see how you feel after 2-3 weeks! You can also look after your body by exercising and practicing yoga. Yoga improves balance, strength, endurance, and aerobic capacity in youth. It can help foster creativity, flexibility, self-control, and discipline in academics, career, and interpersonal relationships during early to late teenage years.
Are you still feeling overwhelmed? Breathe and ground yourself. Grounding is a strategy that may distract you from what you are experiencing and focus on your mind, senses, and being kind to yourself. It anchors you and helps you calm down. Grounding creates space from distressing feelings and allows you to readdress the problem that is triggering any unpleasant emotions. If you still feel that you are on your own, giving back can help you feel reconnected to others and the world. Work on your mental health by making a difference. Time with animals boosts feelings of happiness. If you do not have a pet, volunteer at a shelter!
The ongoing pandemic has brought forth challenging times. You are not alone. We are together apart and with you.
These are free online resources to help students focus on their emotional wellbeing and cope with anxiety and stress:
- National Suicide Prevention Line: Call the hotline at 1-800-283-TALK if you are experiencing emotional distress related to COVID-19.
- Crisis Text Line: Text “Home” to 741741 when you are feeling sad, depressed, or going through any type of emotional crisis, a crisis worker will text you back immediately and continue to text you.
- Calm: a free meditation app for beginners, but also includes programs for intermediate and advanced users. Its guided meditations range from 3 to 25 minutes.
- DreamyKid: a free app offering meditation, guided visualization and affirmations for children and teens.
- Headspace: a free app focusing on mindful awareness, relieving anxiety, and reducing stress.