Tips for Prioritizing Self-Care

Published on 11 November 2020

Navigating college during a global pandemic is not what students envisioned for 2020.

Despite the challenges, students at University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis have maintained a safe and supportive campus community by wearing masks, completing daily health screenings and temperature checks, and maintaining a safe distance from others.

Although students are making the most of the fall semester, licensed psychologist Michelle Hastings, Ph.D., director of the Counseling Center, shares that the pandemic has had a psychological impact on students.

“The pandemic has amplified feelings of depression, anxiety and isolation, and the Counseling Center has seen an increase in telehealth appointments,” Hastings said.

As students return home for remote Finals Week, Hastings is encouraging students to make time for restoration, reconnection and self-care.

Start each day with intentionality

Living intentionally could include writing a letter to a friend on nice stationery, going to bed early or reading something that is inspiring. Every day, ask yourself these questions:

  • What will help me feel connected today?
  • What will give me a sense of purpose today?
  • How will I accomplish my goals today? To do that today, I intend to…

Prioritize physical and restorative self-care

Get plenty of rest, eat well, exercise, listen to music, call a friend, meditate, read for fun, go outside, paint and find other ways to get out of the cerebral part of ourselves and activate the emotional side. Taking in these moments can help you have a better workflow and focus, and improve motivation.

Track your mood

Rate your mood levels every morning and evening to reflect on what may have contributed to the levels being higher or lower.

For example, you may notice that minimizing consumption of news may result in lower levels of anxiety, while connecting with friends may increase feelings of joy and playfulness.

Connect with others

Language can help shape our experience. Instead of using the term social distancing, it may be helpful to use the term physical distancing. Physical distancing does not mean you have to self-isolate, so find ways to socially connect safely. This is the time to get creative! There are lots of ways to connect including driveway visits, video calls and virtual events.

Contact the Counseling Center for assistance

The Counseling Center offers free telehealth counseling sessions during winter break when classes are not in session and has online resources to help students manage their mental health.

Access the Counseling Center’s online resources.

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