Mental Health Check-in

Like it or not, we’re starting to settle into our new routines. Gone are the hypotheticals of what ‘quarantine’ / working from home will be like – we’re living that reality now. My new reality = a tow rope for our backyard ski/snowboard hill and 2 newly constructed ‘MTB manual machines’ in my living room (because, why wouldn’t you practice learning how to manual during the COVID crisis?). No, my idea of ‘stocking up’ did not include buying the necessary supplies for a tow rope, and I certainly don’t prefer to decorate my living room with mountain bikes, but yes, it certainly does keep things exciting around here. Needless to say, I am not even remotely in control of my environment anymore. I’m guessing I’m not alone in feeling this way. But, that doesn’t make me helpless.

It’s time to focus on self-care. For me, that means a new download on Audible and daily stroller walks with the baby. Working in mental health, and really just higher ed in general, we talk about self-care a lot. Adults are generally just kinda okay at it, but teens and emerging adults might really struggle. Good self-care requires a great understanding of self, the ability to reflect and analyze emotional responses, and some planning. 

Have you checked in on your students yet? Our students may really be struggling with their new confines.  Rough home life, younger siblings, spotty internet, cramped spaces, shared bedrooms, etc. can all be major obstacles to overcome. 

  1. Empower your students. Stuck ≠ helpless. Encourage them to make positive changes in their lives. 
  2. Remember to humanize yourself. Share some of your changes, sprinkle in some humor, love, and wisdom from the hurdles you’re overcoming with your new routines. 
  3. Share resources – did you know that Wellness is posting daily tips on Instagram, FB, and Twitter? Do you have favorite podcasts, books, or shows that help you maintain sanity? 
  4. Start a self-care forum or challenge with your class. Have everyone share ideas on what they’ve done for self care. 
  5. Spend a minute or two on daily gratitude. Give students a minute to breathe, and reflect on what they’re thankful for or what gave them a moment of happiness. Take time to do this during a Zoom lecture, or via a discussion board on Canvas. 

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be hearing from others on campus with more tips about the work-life balance and ideas on ways to support your students’ mental health. Stay tuned!

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