A Letter from Counseling Services

Hello everyone,

I hope you are doing well and have found some time to relax over the last week or so. I have noticed some people are experiencing fear, apprehension, or frustration with the uncertainty of this crisis, and believe most of you are likely experiencing a mix of reactions that are hard to understand. Having remote courses and practicing social distancing can be nice for a while, and is certainly necessary in the current climate, but it can also lead to all kinds of other problems like isolation, boredom, bad habits, and depressive symptoms. Because of this, I felt it important to include a list for you all with ways to stay ‘healthy and sane’ while you endure this period of withdrawal from your normal life. It may not feel extremely relevant now, but I am sure in the next few days many (if not most) of you simply won’t feel like yourselves because you have been cooped up for too long. The good news is there are things you can do to raise your spirits, it just takes a bit more effort.

  1. Set a routine for yourself and stick to it

The first week or so may have felt like a vacation, but I do not recommend spending any longer without a daily routine. This includes setting a bedtime, setting a wakeup time (I know it’s hard!), setting aside time for various tasks like chores and homework, and setting aside time for leisure. I encourage you to use a planner to organize your day. Staying self-disciplined in these ways may be difficult in the moment, but will keep you happier in the long run… trust me!

  1. Get moving

Stay active - moving our body and getting our blood flowing is very important for our mental and physical health. There are so many online workout videos out there to try. Maybe you could learn to tap dance on youtube. If you can, going on a walk or taking a bike ride through your neighborhood is even better.

  1. Get outside as much as you can

Fresh air can do so much to reset your brain. Even if it means just hanging out on your porch, do it. The weather will be getting really nice, too ;)

  1. Eat healthily

This can be a challenge, especially since we are limiting our trips to the grocery store. Don’t just eat packaged foods, though. Include fruits and veggies into your diet every day, even if you need to thaw/cook frozen ones. Including lean meats and healthy proteins (like nuts and beans) into your diet is also helpful.

  1. Keep your mind busy

Being stuck inside all day can be mind-numbing so you should make a real active effort to stimulate your brain... and not by watching TV, using the computer, or playing video games. Read, draw, paint, play your instrument, listen to music, dance in your room, play with your pet, do a jigsaw puzzle, organize your closet, clean your house, plant some flowers, anything! There are so many things we can do to occupy our brains that do not involve a screen, which brings me to my next point...

  1. Limit screen time

This is so important! Please don’t sit on your phone all day. This is so bad for you in so many ways! My recommendation is to limit screen time to 2 hours a day (aside from class time)… this may seem unrealistic, and maybe it is. At least schedule time in your day to NOT look at any screens to give your brain a rest.

  1. Notice how you are feeling

Yes, as a counselor I had to include this. Pay attention to any changes in your wellbeing. Sometimes we do not notice when we aren’t feeling well, and it typically becomes harder to ask for help and/or change our habits when we get stuck in unhealthy routines. Thus, you will need to make a concerted effort in noticing how you feel and in taking various steps to feel better if you need to. If you don’t know where to start you could talk to your parents about it, call a friend, or write your thoughts in a journal. And remember - it is normal to feel off right now. People like knowing what to expect and we simply don’t have that right now, all while being stuck in our homes day after day. Try keeping in mind why we are doing this - for the good of those who are at increased risk of being harmed from this virus. It is a sacrifice our entire country is making right now for the good of others which is really beautiful.

If you need anything at all, please do not hesitate to let Mr. Kochis or me know. We are still here for you! I will be thinking about you all.

Peace and Blessings,

Mrs. Mateo