While social distancing has been adopted as a proactive measure to protect our physical health, it’s important to maintain social connections and look after our mental health, too. Here are some ways to care for yourself during times of uncertainty.
Stick to routines you enjoy
Routines give us structure. They also provide comfort and a level of predictability to our lives. Recent changes have disrupted many of our routines, but that doesn’t mean we should let them go completely. Try to stick to routines that you enjoy or modify your routines to fit your new schedule. This can help you manage additional stress or anxiety that may come with major life changes.
For instance, if you usually get coffee with friends on the weekend, try to recreate a new variation of that routine. Consider taking your coffee to-go to enjoy the fresh air outside and get out of your room. If you are missing your friends, schedule a time to video chat with them like you normally would in person.
While many routines help us stay connected socially, they also play a role in our class schedules, homework and other school-related activities. If you’re struggling to stay motivated or feel overwhelmed by the transition to online classes, try to create a new routine for yourself:
Look for positives
News cycles, social media and other outlets can sometimes bombard us with negative news. If you start to feel overwhelmed, consider taking a step back to focus on the good things that are happening, too.
One way to emphasize the positives is to practice gratitude. Grab a journal and start writing 3 things you’re looking forward to each morning and 3 things you’re grateful for each night. Gratitude can be as simple as getting your favorite cup of coffee or the warm weather. You can also download free gratitude journaling apps like Grateful (iOS) or Gratitude (iOS, Android).
Practicing mindfulness is another great way to focus on good in the moment. If you’re feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed, try to tune in to yourself. Turn off all distractions and take 5 deep breaths. This will help your body calm down so you can focus on being present. Paying close attention to your senses can also help you feel more grounded.
If you’re unsure where to begin, try out free mindfulness apps like Jour (iOS). This app can help you check in on your mood and practice mindfulness throughout the day. Smiling Mind (iOS, Android) is another good option that coaches you through a variety of 10-minute mindfulness activities each day.
Ask for help
Change impacts us all differently. We also process our emotions differently. While we may think we can handle things ourselves, asking for help is an important component of self-care because we can’t always manage everything on our own.
Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) will continue to provide services to students on a reduced schedule. They will be providing walk-ins online through their telehealth platform. You can call 970-492-2277 to schedule a walk-in appointment. CAPS will also continue to see students for individual therapy and psychiatric follow-up appointments online based on provider availability. Therapy groups and workshops are not available at this time.
For students who are interested in self-help, there are a number of resources available online. CU Boulder offers SilverCloud, an online mental health resource for students struggling with stress, anxiety and depression. Students can complete activities and learn techniques for managing their mental health.
Students can also access online platforms like Happify. This free online program provides tools and activities to help you manage your thoughts and feelings. They also offer free apps for iOS and Android, so you can take your mental health care on the go.