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Mental Health Tips for Students

By Sarah Dimock

Let’s not sugarcoat it, things are pretty crazy right now. COVID-19 turned the world on its head while you were just minding your own business and trying to get through a major life milestone – college. Being a student has always come with a certain amount of stress, but right now you might be feeling a little lost – and that’s okay, but we have some tips that may help.

It’s okay to be stressed out. It’s okay to feel unsure. But if you’re really feeling the pressure right now, some simple things might help out:

Get up and get active

Maybe you used to go to the gym regularly, you liked to go dancing with friends, or you’re just used to that college student hustle of speed walking from class to class every day. It is normal and reasonable to have lazy days where you just relax, but don’t let yourself become an every day couch potato. Try a guided exercise video on YouTube, check out an exercise app, have a virtual dance party, or a dance party for one. It might sound weird, but even just getting up and taking stretch breaks can help you feel more productive/active and make the day seem fuller.

Take breaks from the news

This is a hard one for me as a writer and maybe it’s a tough one for you too. We all want to keep on top of what’s going on and help ourselves stay safe, but I can tell you from experience that negative stories tend to get more clicks than positive ones. There are some amazing positive stories coming out of this crisis, but it’s still a time of crisis and a lot of what you’re going to find online feels negative and heavy. It can be extremely draining to try to keep up with the news as it unfolds, so give yourself a break. Set some rules for yourself, maybe no social media right before bedtime. Give yourself permission not to be on top of everything. It is okay to unplug for a bit.

Social distancing doesn’t have to be antisocial

No one is alone in feeling a little alone right now, so it’s a great time to reach out. If you aren’t at home then CALL YOUR PARENTS. Tell them you love them. Call up Grandma and ask her what life was like when she was in high school or college. Reach out to your friends or classmates and have a virtual game night, roll a nat20 in your latest dungeon and dragons campaign, jump online for a Netflix watch party, or just hang out with friends on Zoom. I like to put events like this in the calendar on my phone just like I would’ve if I were going to see my friends or family in person. It gives me something to look forward to and physically shows me that I’ve got people around who care.

Take a break from junk food

I, like you, am not immune to the allure of eating an entire family sized bag of potato chips for dinner. But I find that when I’m just eating an armful of snacks and calling it a meal, I feel far more sluggish and gross than I do when I get some protein and vegetables in there. Everyone is in a different situation with food right now, but try to sneak some healthy choices in there if you can. Your mood will be better and your body will thank you.

If school is getting really tough, reach out

If you are having a hard time with online classes right now, reach out to your professor, your advisor, to student life. Capitol has always been a place where students can talk one-on-one with their teachers, mentors, or advisors. We know you aren’t on campus to see us in person, but we are still here and ready to support you. We understand that fully online classes might not be what you signed up for, and the transition can be jarring. We want to help you get through this really tough situation, and that starts with you letting us know you want to talk.

Resources For Students:

  • CDC’s guide for stress and coping during a pandemic
  • Student life is available at studentlife@captechu.edu or you can also text with them via the Capitol Technology University Students group on GroupMe
  • Reach us on Instagram @captechustudentlife · For Advisors, please email advisor@captechu.edu or call 301-369-2315. Grad students please email gradadvisor@captechu.edu or call 240-965-2494 · Career Services Guidance for College Students Seeking Employment During COVID-19
  • he crisis text line is available 24/7, Text HOME to 741741(for U.S. and Canada), UK: text 85258 | Ireland: text 086 1800 280
  • The Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Reach out to your family or friends for support. Classmates may have experiences in common with you that you can talk out together. And if you need to talk to someone, but don’t love chatting with humans, you might want to check out an app called Woebot. It lets you check in and chat about what’s bothering you with a friendly robot companion.

Be nice to yourself and remember that this won’t be forever. Stay smart, be safe, and please remember that we're all in this together.