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Mental, Emotional, Social, and Spiritual Health

"Ways in which people may respond to stress, and by extension, the COVID-19 crisis, can vary from person to person. Some people may express it similar to signs of a depression, others may come off disconnected and unaffected, and yet others may express themselves more angry or agitated.  

In an effort to try and help support our community during this time, here are some suggestions for approaching and managing our mental health." 

Geselle Dominguez | Administrative Assistant, Center for IDEAS

Managing Your Own Emotions and Anxiety

a cartoon brain meditating

Be honest with yourself and identify what you’re feeling when you’re feeling it. Just because the way you are feeling doesn’t look or feel how you might expect, doesn’t make it any less true. When you name how you’re experiencing a problem, it makes it easier to start learning how to move forward. 

Some folks find creating a personal routine or schedule can help restore a sense of control or structure, as we adjust to changes in our lives, during and after self-quarantine. 

bright, colorful image of a brain

Discover ways in which you can best express your thoughts, feelings, and fears. Write things down, in a journal, letter, notes app on your phone .Talk on the phone, or facetime with people while you’re both at home. Concentrate unused energy into a creative medium (music, art, etc.) or physical activity (walking, meditation, breathing practices, workouts).

Prioritize taking care of your body in ways that you have accessible to you. Try staying away from foods and drinks with a lot of caffeine if you are experiencing a lot of anxiety  Keep to meal schedules you are familiar with, and that help support your body. Get as much fresh air as you can, either by taking walks outside, or simply sitting by open windows and on porches, to counter feelings of being trapped or isolated. 

Stay connected with your peers, professors, and staff that you’ve built connections with during your time as a student. Join/make group chats with folks to keep others in the loop about yourself and how others may be handling our new adjustments to this global pandemic. 

Identify other trusted folks that you can connect with, offline and/or online, to talk about how you are feeling. Family, friends, and local community members may also be experiencing similar anxieties and can offer resources and support.

Look for what resources are available in your community- local foundational/non-profit work, to community organizing and grassroots activism. Social media is a good place for organizing- pages on Facebook like “Tompkins COVID-19 Mutual Aid Response” (which is helping folks in and around Ithaca) are online spaces that provide people in the community an opportunity to share resources, offer aid, and answer questions.  

If You Need Support...

As students, it can be especially difficult to transition right now, as circumstances have abruptly interrupted life as you had known for 1-3+ years. In several ways, this can lead to folks experiencing increased senses of frustration, hopelessness, and anxiety. 

If you are in crisis, please call: 

  • Suicide Prevention & Crisis Services of Ithaca | (607)272-1616 
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline open 24/7 | 1-800-273-TALK  
  • The Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741 
file-outline Aniexty Grounding.pdf - Aniexty Grounding.pdf (435.56 KB)
file-outline How to Deal.pdf - How to Deal.pdf (538.13 KB)

Other Mindful Practices

  • Limit the amount of time you spend on social media and news networks. Set timers on your phone for how long you use certain apps, like Twitter or Instagram, that can have frequent or fast-paced information sharing 

  • When you do look up information regarding COVID-19, make sure they are from sources that you can trust. Some news networks may not always reveal up-to-date or correct information before fact-checking, often relaying either fast or emotionally-charged headlines, which can increase our sense of hopelessness, shock, and anxiety. Be sure your information is accurate before falling down internet rabbit-holes. Here are some examples of sites that you should get your most accurate COVID-19 updates: 

  • Adjust your social media feeds to include posts and content that help support and manage your stress/anxiety. Do you need to break your feed up with inspirational quotes? Pictures of animals? Humorous posts about COVID-19? Humorous posts that have nothing to do with COVID-19? Think critically about what would be most helpful for you, while reducing the stress you experience on a daily basis. 

    • Take a break from social media and do something for just for fun! 
      Buzzfeed or Clickhole quizzes add a little bit of humor to pass some of the quarantine time if you need the distraction. 

    • Mute words or phrases that may be particularly sensitive or triggering to you as you scroll 

  • Utilizing free things on the internet can also help deal with periods of quarantine. Did you know it is possible to virtually tour different museums from the comfort of your home? Or access free audiobooks and e-books on sites like Libby? Or even access hundreds of free online courses from universities such as Yale, Harvard, and UPenn? There are hundreds of other resources and services available on the internet, many of which are free.