During this time of the year when the beauty of autumn surrounds us on campus, we know that many in our community are also experiencing stress, anxiety, and possible hardship. For some, it’s a disappointment at a lower than expected midterm grade, and for others it’s grief over the death of a loved one. It may also be frustration that the COVID-19 pandemic still lingers, uncertainty about an academic major or life after graduation, worry about the upcoming holidays or some other concern. These are all normal reactions at this point in the semester, and the shorter days and earlier onset of darkness can make our reactions seem even more intense.
If you are experiencing any of these things, we want to remind you that you are not alone. Each in its own way, our offices are here to support you and we invite you to reach out if we can be of help or if you just want to talk:
In addition, here are some suggestions for self-care:
- Our emotions reside in our bodies and minds, so take good care of yours.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule—try to go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time.
- Work towards maintaining good nutrition and regular meals.
- Limit alcohol intake.
- Limit caffeine intake.
- Get some exercise.
- Spend some time outside in nature.
- Practice deep breathing, relaxation, prayer, meditation, yoga.
- Try an activity that engages your body and mind: e.g., artwork, crafting, playing a musical instrument, dancing, joining an intramural sports team.
- Maintain or cultivate religious and spiritual practices. Gather with classmates at Mass or another form of prayer in the Chapel, attend a Bible study, go on a retreat, spend some quiet time in the Interfaith Prayer Room in Tinsley.
- Maintain your social connections. We are essentially social by nature, so it is vital to stay in touch with family and friends. Get together with friends on campus, make plans to hang out this weekend, try the old-fashioned art of letter writing!
- Write the names of friends and family members who have died in the Remembrance Book in the Chapel so that others who gather for prayer in the Chapel can pray for them.
- Maintain a schedule. Develop a routine for meals, classes, study time, and relaxation time. Having a schedule helps us remember our mission/purpose, helps us to keep sight of our goals, and gives us a sense of control.
- Consider keeping a journal. End your daily entry with three positives from the day.
- Do something kind for someone else. Call or text someone you haven’t seen in awhile, make an appointment to give blood, make a video or music playlist and share it, cook a meal and invite friends to share it, volunteer through the Reach Out Center, sign up to go on a SEND trip. Whatever your talent is, consider how you can share it!
- Maintain perspective. Remind yourself of what is good, sustaining, and enduring in your life: e.g., family, friends, faith, health, mental health, a home. Remember what many of us heard from our grandmothers, “Storms don’t last forever, and trouble don’t last always.”
Consider making use of one of the many mental health apps that are available. See the list here.
- Also, please be aware of the following websites and phone resources if you are in need of immediate assistance with a crisis or if you are having thoughts of hurting yourself:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255)
Visit www.crisistextline.org or connect to a counselor by text: text TALK to 741741
Students of color may text STEVE to 741741 for crisis support or click here to call or chat.
Students of the LGBTQ+ community may text START 678-678 or click here to call or chat.
Mobile Crisis Resource: If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, call toll-free: 800-977-5555 or click here.
We leave you with this prayer which was written by a college student during a time of stress and anxiety:
Lord, it is hard even to begin this prayer.
The extraordinary effort needed to do daily tasks,
to get out of bed, face the world, open a book, exhausts me.
I feel as though the eyes through which
I see the world are no longer my own.
I long for comfort and relief
from this feeling inside of me,
but even hope can be exhausting.
Lord, help me to feel your constant presence
and the presence of those who care for me,
even when I find it hard to care about myself.
Give me the strength and courage
to seek the help and support I need.
Stretch out your hand to me, Lord;
reach out and help me to calm the storm. Amen.
Deacon Paul Covino, Director, Campus Ministry
Dr. Frank Dibert, Director, Counseling Service