Self Care during Social Isolation
10:05PM Apr 3, 2020
This is a panel discussion organized by the Moraine Valley library and the Moraine Valley counseling and Career Development Center. My name is Troy Swanson and I'm the library's department chair. Today we're talking about self care and working on our mental and physical well being during this time of shelter in place and isolation. So just to be clear, we're not talking about Cova 19, specifically, or healthcare related to the virus. We're talking about dealing with the stress and perhaps the loneliness, that's a result of this current situation.
Alright, Hey, everyone, my name is Tish Hayes. I'm one of the librarians here at moraine. I am excited to be part of this panel, just asking questions of our three counselors that we have here with us. So just to get us started, how's everyone doing? And could you introduce yourselves?
Well, thank you for Having me, my name is Aminah Salah. I am one of the adjunct counselors that works here at marine and I'm doing well just trying to get adjusted to this new normal. My background is in social work and I've had some experience working in schools and in in a medical background to
I go Hi everyone. I'm Shanya. Shanya Gray. I am a counselor here at the college as well. I've been here for about five years. My background is in clinical psychology. For me, I I can't see him doing well but I'm trying to manage given the current circumstances so it's very difficult for anybody. So just getting by the best I can.
Okay, and my name is Teresa Hannon. I also am a counselor. My back Round is actually a marriage and family therapy. But I have been doing college counseling for 20 years and actually I'm finishing up my 10th year at Moraine Valley. I'm doing okay. I shift from being really grateful to kind of heartbroken to really grateful to overwhelmed. So I'm kind of a roller coaster is a good way I would be putting it.
Yes, I think all of us are with the attorney. So for sure. So well, thank you all for being here to keep the conversation going. What are the first three words that come to mind to describe the last few weeks?
Um, you know, for me, you know, to be honest, anxious, humbling. And just being patient, I realized I just really had to focus on being patient and realizing that you know, there's not much that I have control over. So that's really humbled me and the situation of just taking everything. minute by minute day by day.
I would echo that. I think the three words that came to mind was all consuming because everything we're doing has to shift everything, everything. And heartbreaking, which I already said, but I also I am really, especially with working with my students, I'm seeing an amazing amount of resiliency, which is really touching my heart. No,
that's all for me. Um, I think the words that came to mind were chaotic, because it's been a chaotic few weeks. Scary, right? Because when things are unpredictable, we don't know and it can be very scary. And then the final word is just change. All had to change in some way and adapt and transition unexpectedly in the last few weeks as well. So those are the three words that come to mind for me.
Thanks. Can you talk a little bit about what the last few weeks have been like for each of you?
a lot of change, definitely a lot of change and a lot of adjustments. Now, I'm a mother of four. So that also just everything, everything was just turned upside down from not just work, but also, you know, just the support system that I've had in place always to get through each day. You know, I'm used to seeing extended family. I'm used to seeing friends. My kids just having to be home so much, and my children range in age too. So I have a toddler and I have a child in high school. So also just trying to manage so many different people. So life has changed dramatically in that and having to care for others in a different way, creating a new normal for them to just making sure that they are getting adjusted. their needs are getting met. And then also so so getting adjusted to my new normal for sure, in terms of caring for others, but also for myself, working from home, you know that that wasn't really, you know, the job that we had. So learning, learning how to do that learning how to do it well, and helping my children with school. So it's just been a lot of adjustment in that in that capacity on top of that as also just trying to find a time for myself. That's also been a challenge, especially I think if your personality is more extroverted, were you used to seeing others. I think that's been a big challenge for a lot of people. I'm trying to find fight that feeling of feeling isolated. So that's how these few weeks have been, is it just trying to come up with some no routines, a new adjustment and feeling okay about it.
That's, for me. Um, the last few weeks have been really intense. From the time we saw the trajectory of how everything was going and trying to work in partner to help transition our counseling center online. So that was really intense and trying to do that to do things we've never done before. As well as a little overwhelming because having to think and prepare, and it's not a good thing. We'll talk about this later, but I'm the type of person that watches the news a lot. So seeing a lot of that and thinking about it and trying to plan was hard and it was also A little sad for me. Um, I was supposed to go to Barbados for a funeral and I had to cancel that. The during spring break, and I was supposed to go to visit a friend who's on hospice right now. And I couldn't go see her either. So, it's been really difficult. Those having to adjust and think about that loss that I've felt because of what's going on.
Um, I think for me, I feel really blessed especially when I talk to my colleagues who have kids.
I just have a husband right now that lives with me and you know, he's in the basement. I'm on the second floor.
I think you know, I feel like my brain is really really tired because we are everything we are doing. counseling students to online to coming up processes for students who are in soap restriction from how do we help students who need emergency funding? I mean, every little thing is shifting. And because we're using remote computers, everything is much slower. It's just been. It's been okay. And so I just got back from lunch and my husband wanted to talk. I'm like, No, I can't. I can't talk about refinancing mortgages or anything like that. I just, I'm tapped out, I'm tapped out my brain is tapped out from problem solving, I guess is a good word. So.
So you mentioned, you know, setting up the Counseling Center and starting to get going back into the groove. So I know that, you know, our counselors have been working with students. So I wanted to ask how you've been finding them to be how are they holding up? You know, how are these circumstances impacting them?
It's up a really, really great question.
You know, the students that we already were working with as, as counselors, they're already they already had vulnerabilities, they already had obstacles. So those students are really dramatically affected by this situation. And I've had some pretty intense conversations, they are very thankful that we are here, and that we will continue to meet with them. I think the biggest thing is the sense of isolation they feel because even if I have one student who lives with her mother and stepdad and isn't able to really connect with them, just because it's just not that kind of relationship. I also would think the financial stress is really, really starting to not only affect the student, but the whole family. That's another big thing. And the other thing is what I'm finding his students are being really, really hard on themselves, that they're not transitioning. Easily, they're really beating themselves up. Why can't I get this? Why can't understand this? Why, you know? And so instead of taking it as this is just a really hard situation, it's out of your control. They're kind of taking it, and then internalizing it, and that is what we're trying to work with students. So those are the big things I'm seeing.
Yeah, I would agree. Most of the students that I've talked to actually have been very hard on themselves. And we've had to remind them that, you know, you're not alone. Most of your instructors were not prepared, you know, mentally to start teaching online, either. Everybody was just forced into this. And so some of the students I talked to said, I would have never chosen to take five classes online. And now here I am, and I'm scared and I'm, I'm afraid of, you know, how this is going to impact next semester, or the school that I want to get into. And I talked to a student who said, You know, I don't want to use this as an excuse. I don't want to use this time as an excuse. And I said, This isn't an excuse, this is reality. And you need to remember that and to be kind to yourself and reach out to the instructor and say I am struggling. You know, I am struggling with figuring out this math assignment where I feel isolated. And I normally would have sat in a classroom and been able to ask questions. And you know, there is no shame in doing that there is no harm in doing that. In fact, you're you're not going to lose anything by letting people know that you need some extra support.
Mm hmm. I'm finding that our students have
are like most of us and in society. I feel like there's this collective trauma, this collective grief right now, right? We all got kicked into this adrenaline overload. We went into almost like a fight or flight state because we see this threat coming towards us that we're trying to deal with and trying to manage And so our students like almost everybody else, they're trying to figure out how to navigate how to overlap, how to deal with it, how not to be overwhelmed. We have a lot of students who are parents, we have a lot of students who are breadwinners for their households, you know, they have a lot of family responsibility, sometimes coming to school was their reprieve. They could focus on class and so on. But now they're at home, you know, they have a lot more expectations. And so I'm finding that students, although they are a lot of very resilient, you know, they are definitely struggling in this transition, because like all of us, they're trying to figure out, how do I deal with this? How do I manage this? How do I manage my emotions? How do I manage my mental health? On top of how do I balance take care of my kids? And how do I balance my schoolwork? And so like everybody else, units are really finding it.
I've noticed just to add on to it, there's just been kind of this lack of motivation. Because the whole idea of going from especially the face to face students to going online, it is completely overwhelming. And one way to deal with that is just to shut down, request donate, and to really just like, you know, peace out, I'm not going to deal with this. And so in my conversations with students, it's just how do you, how do you kind of get through that motivation, I think we're going to talk a little bit about that. But that motivation zap is what I'm seeing a lot of too.
You all have kind of brought up this idea that we are trying to maintain this sense of normalcy, when of course nothing is normal. And we have all of these things that we have to do and get done and first students who are balancing working and caring for their children or younger siblings. I'm trying to make this transition in like not enough time at all. They're all struggling, we're all struggling. So what advice would you give to those students as they're trying to balance these responsibilities?
You know, one of the things that I have said to students is to try to lower your expectations. We're living at a time when, you know, things are very high stress. This is not the ideal situation. And we didn't make this choice. The choice was good, you know, the situation was made. And we have to follow suit. We have to, you know, you don't want to take for online classes, but now you have to, you don't, you know, you ideally, you never expected to help maybe do some elearning with your siblings. You know, there's some of your expectations. One student I spoke to kept saying over and over, this isn't me, you know, I'm an A student, this isn't me. And I said, you know, but this, this wasn't your choice to learn this way. Under the situation. Maybe normally you'd be at the library, you know, maybe normally you'd be meeting up with friends and studying. So lower the expectation that everything is going to be perfect, because it's not be very kind to yourself and give the compassion that you would give to someone else to yourself and say it's going to be okay. It's an unprecedented time. And so there really isn't like a roadmap on how things are supposed to be. And, and that's okay, we're trying to figure this all out together, and try to find some level of balance. If things seem like they're frustrating, they're overwhelming. I know for myself, you know, and I and I talked to some students who are parents, and then even students who are not parents, but maybe they're the older sibling and they've had to add on some responsibility at home. If my child is doing their elearning and it starts to get overwhelming, and maybe they don't understand the subject, you know, you're not going to take the place of that teacher. So I'll say it's okay, we're going to take a break, we're going to stop, we're going to walk away from this. So try to find that balance, because now we're all being forced to do everything we once did, but under much more stressful situations.
Yeah, to add on to that is definitely a lot of responsibilities we're trying to balance right. And we, we live in a country in a culture, which usually says, we're supposed to be independent, we're supposed to be strong, that we shouldn't be asking for help. And we see a lot of students internalize this, even as we try to tell them about resources available on campus. To get additional help and additional support. Oftentimes, we internalize this message. So if we need help, or if we can just get it done ourselves, we see ourselves as being weak, as opposed to this being okay, as opposed to this being something that everybody will go through. And it's so To ask for help. So one of the things I definitely would tell students is it's okay, it's okay not to get it all done. It's okay not to get all A's right now or not to be perfect. You know, for me, I'm trying to balance having two kids and older one who has some elearning going on and working from home and it's okay if sometimes he is on his tablet, and watching the screen, you know, it's okay, I'm not going to get everything accomplished that I would have at work in that day. So what are the practical way I can manage these responsibilities? Let me prioritize what I have to get done. Let me figure out the time of day that would work best for me or where am I home or where I can, can do this. Let me figure out what I can do what I can manage without overwhelming myself and without sending myself into a tizzy. So that's kind of where I would say for our students, and then just get help. You know, you can't do it all yourself. And so ask for help. There's help available and so you want to make sure you access that as well.
And, Theresa, did you have anything that you want to add?
No, I think
I mean, these are the ladies that have the kids at home. I feel like I can't even imagine. I think, though, the thing that I would
that lowering that expectation, it's really hard for our students for some of our students,
especially students who are prone to anxiety, they yx they have, they have perfectionistic qualities. And so, what I tell them is, what can you do well, and have control over it. You know, what can you do? Well, you can't, you can't. And the other thing that keeps coming up with some sessions I've had with students is, you know, it's my family. They're driving me crazy. I, you know, I can't, I can't get any work done. I'm here and I said, Well, alright, let's problem solve, let's think outside the box. What can you do? And I, you know, can you sit in the backyard on your laptop when it gets warmer, a little warmer? And it's been it's been an hour doing what you need to do? What can you do? Think outside the box? Maybe you need to schedule time in a room like, Can I have this room from this time to this time have a have a contract with the rest of your family or the people that are living in the home so that you feel like this is under your control? So I think that would be what's the other thing I would add?
Yeah, great. I mean, connected with this. Let me I'd like to ask about, you know, focus, like how can we stay focused and how can we also stay motivated to keep working and moving during this time?
You know, that's a hard one, especially given your situation. You don't have any control of who you live with. You don't have any control of how big your houses you don't have any, in some ways even control how many people are on the internet. But again, I go back to this kind of having up maybe a conversation with the people in your home like, when can I have internet time? When can I have this room time, I've been telling students as well to set aside in wherever in their rut in their bedroom in a place in their house that is just set aside for schoolwork. It is not on your bed, it is not in whatever place you're sitting. This is where you're going to do homework, because almost like you're in a class, when you're sitting in a class, the environment stays the same. And so if you can start there, develop that so that your body's like, Oh yeah, we're going to be doing learning here. Now we're going to sit in this corner of the room or we're going to sit in this room and this is what we're going to do and this is what we're going to accomplish. I have been trying to tell students that if you can sit and do the work Along the same lines of when you were going to be in school if that is possible, so have the same classroom stuff, you know, if you're an income one on one, Monday, Wednesday, Friday at nine o'clock, see if that is a possibility. Now it is not always the possibility we know that but having some kind of, you know, place for you to do your homework, having a time for you to do homework. And the other thing I think is where it goes back to this whole conversation about students being really hard on themselves, what is that internal dialogue? So you know, I'm really about mindful awareness like what is going on inside you, what are you saying to yourself? it you know, are you causing more suffering by the negative talk, are you you know, catastrophizing awful arising and so, if you can start to become aware of it and notice it, it actually kind of can release some of the power and then obviously challenging it would be the next Way to go.
For, um, I would say for saying, first of all for staying motivated, right, you have to, if you have a big poster in your wall or whatever it is, you know, you have to remember why you're doing this in the first place. Okay? I am in school because I am trying to pursue this career, I want to make sure that I become independent, pursue this career, be able to take care of my family, I have this long to go. You know, one of the things I've been telling students is, we have come further and this semester we have we've come further in this semester than there is to go, we have about six weeks left or the semester to go hold on to that, know that you've gotten this far. And you don't want to let it go. Don't let it go to waste. Just persist is just six weeks of trying to get this done to the best of your ability. motivate yourself to push to keep going. Right and then focusing is hard right? So Unfortunate I do hide out in my bedroom because I have family members in the other places in my house, you know, but with focusing like, fine, regardless to the room, your end, you know, maybe coming scheduled, maybe have a schedule to say, Can you try not to disturb me at this time, and that's okay, you have somebody else in the house. But if you're single mom that may not be possible. So you may just have to decide that after you put the kids to bed at night, you may have to do some work then, or when your kid is taking a nap or when they're trying to do work that you try to do work to. Right. We're focusing one of the things being in a way from school, like when you're at school, and I often tell my students like find a environment that works for you. And I usually give an example of I can't get work done at home because I have two kids Oh, no, I don't have a choice. So instead of having an environment that works for me is like figure out how can you function in that environment. So one of the things I would say is Make sure you write down what you have to get accomplish. Write down what you need to focus on and set the dates and deadlines. And if you can break it up, create a schedule where you're a realistic schedule, Know yourself, know your situation, know your dynamics and create a realistic schedule where you're breaking up everything you have to get done. So for example, if you have an essay you need to write and this essay is due in two weeks, you know, okay, I have to go online to the library's website, I need to do my research for this. Let me start that let me start identifying and looking at those articles and so on. Over the next week. I'm going to read one article every day and make notes on that article. After that next week, I'm going to start the draft for that I'm going to at least get my introductory paragraph and two paragraphs written and then or my outline written and I will continue like that. So if you can break up what seems like overwhelming tasks into small bits, this can help you to focus Because one of the reasons we tend to procrastinate a lot is because we're overwhelmed by the tasks that are ahead of us. So being able to break it up where it seems much more manageable can definitely help us to focus.
Yeah, I completely agree. I've talked to some students, they're just completely overwhelmed. And, you know, different instructors are going about the online learning in different ways. So they were they're also getting used to different styles. So I know with some some instruct to do it and that was very overwhelming for me. So I had said to her, you know, break it down, break down your goals. Don't wait till the last minute. Set a goal for yourself. You know, the night before, how much do you want to get accomplished and also just set up a good routine for yourself. So that also includes what time you go to sleep, what time you wake up. You know, get up in the morning and try to start your day similar to what you would have done when you were in school. You know, if you normally took a shower in the morning, you got dressed, put on some makeup, had your cup of coffee, whatever it was that type of structure so that you're not in a situation where you're sleeping until 12. And you feel so overwhelmed and dragged down by the time you do get up that starting all your school tasks become even more overwhelming.
So I know that you wanted to make sure that we talked about self care before we left today. Um, what are some? Can you talk a little bit about why self care so important? Why we need to focus on self care?
Yeah, I mean, we
we know that when stress, our self care usually goes out the window, often. But we also know for instance, an irregular sleep schedule could exacerbate any kind of mental health concern. Not eating properly or not eating enough protein to keep the energy up can also affect not only your mental health, but your ability to complete your work and to focus. So we know that so I mean, self care is something we talk about a lot when we're stressed out, and that is often the first thing that goes out the window. You know, students don't have to be up at eight o'clock in the morning to get to a nine o'clock class. And I'm finding many are nap then and they are you know, they're up at Yeah, you guys are laughing because that's what that's what we're hearing. So, you know, I've been really trying to stress the fact of getting out a schedule. It doesn't have to be the exact same schedule but being up till three or four o'clock in the morning and sleeping till noon. As I mean, I said it's just not it's not going to help you because you're going to feel like behind the clock all day long. I think the other thing is is finding a way to have time where you can quiet your mind with It is through meditation, prayer, yoga, Qigong, I mean, there's a lot of different ways for some people it's exercise as well you know, to quiet your mind and to give your your mind a little bit of a break over the feelings of overwhelmingness the feelings of maybe being sad about all of this or feeling concerned about being able to provide for your family or to pay your bills or pay your tuition. So really trying to give yourself some time I pulled out some a stepping stone that my granddaughter and I were supposed to do together. But you know, now I'm painting it myself and that's just given me some really quiet time I I took it I did a Facebook Live Concert I'd listened to and it was music and it was Monday night and was great. I was like, wow, I really enjoyed this. I need to put this into my life. So finding things that you enjoy, and it's okay to do it for an hour, it is really okay even if there's a lot to do, because that will really refresh you.
I think it's important to have time for self care because it actually re energizes you. And then if we re energize, then you can focus you could feel more motivated to do the work that you need to do. So what some of the students that I've spoken to we've talked about, what is it that you do that gives you joy? What is it that you do that gives you peace? Because we're, we're living at a time where we feel like, you know, we don't have control over that joy, you know, you might be stuck at home. And even that language like I had read somewhere, instead of saying stuck at home, you're safe at home, and for some of us, we do feel safer than others. And I recognize that but feeling like I am okay, I'm healthy. I woke up this morning. I have what I need and I'm going to do this best that I can with the data that's been given to me. And I'm just talking to students about what can you control so that you can provide that self care. So some students will say, Well, I want to see my friends. Okay, well, can you can you send? Can you FaceTime them? Can you call that feeling of freedom, you know, a lot of students are struggling with because leaving the house, especially, you know, going to school was their escape or going out with friends. So I've suggested taking a walk, regardless of how gray it looks outside, even if it's just a 10 minute walk, and while you're taking that walk, calling someone facetiming someone listening to music, that type of thing I think is important to try to do daily. I spoke to a student who said, I've never had time to paint, and I've always wanted to paint. And I said, so why don't you take 15 she didn't have the motivation to really do it. But I said why don't Take 15 minutes out tomorrow, and just try to paint, try to do it because that part of your self care might make you feel like you have more control over your joy and over your peace.
One of the things I say why self care is important. So I'm drinking the rest of my coke here. Everybody though I don't drink coffee. So I often drink Coke. But this glass is almost empty. And the thing is, is I can't really share this with you because it's almost empty. So when your glass is empty, or almost empty, you have nothing left to give. So a lot of times, even as mothers and from certain cultures, we're always taught that we put ourselves last. We're taught that we give that we're supposed to just give of ourselves as much as we can. But in reality, if we have nothing left to give, there's nothing we can give. So in order to take care of others, and to get everything accomplished, self care is very, very important. We need to have a glass that is full to be able to pour from. So some people might think, Hey, you know, I'm last, you know, it's selfish for me to think about myself now. But really, you have to change that form of thinking to think. If I can add Li take some time for myself, then I can take, then I can help everybody else and I can get everything accomplished. But if I'm completely drained, I'm completely without energy. I'm completely frustrated, I'm completely down, then you will accomplish very little everybody around you will know. And it would a lot of your efforts will be fruitless. So one of the things I want you to think about one of the things we promote in this time that is really stressful. Our adrenaline is go in, we're very hyper vigilant. We're scared, we're anxious we're overwhelmed is how can I with my limited ability because We can't not like we can't go to the salon or we could do any of those things. What are my options right now for Karen for myself, so that I can accomplish what I want to accomplish and care for and help all those others around.
You know, Can I just add this notion of compassion?
I find, one of the things that's coming up is students are really irritated. They're irritated with their instructors. They're irritated with the government, they're irritated with their family members, they're irritated with their friends are just irritated and judgmental. And I think if we can, if you could start to work with your own sense of self compassion, and being really caring towards yourself, that tends to expand outward, that tends to allow you to be less negative towards the people around you in the situation. around you. And so there are a lot of self compassion exercises, you can find them online. Kristin Neff is a big self compassion meditator is one. But there's all kinds of things you can do to find a way to kind of break that cycle of negativity. So, yeah,
yeah. Well, I'm really glad you're saying that because I can literally hear my youngest daughter's scream at her brother right now. And so I'm pulling in my compassion as as we share. So these have been some Yes, hit a lot of key, you know, tips on self care, but I didn't know if there were any others that you wanted to share before we moved on.
Um, one of the things I would share Well, first of all, for self care is know yourself. Okay. So there's not a cookie cutter size for all. So for me, part of my self care right now, is me binge watching a TV show called Ozark. Because
just try and at the end of the day I've worked all day I'm just trying to disconnect, right? I'm trying to turn off the new is I'm just trying to relax and for me that's relaxing. So know your stuff know what is relaxing, right? Go outside for some fresh air, you know or read a book listen to some music. You know I'm my youngest my four year old he a lot of times he controls the my phone and the radio because they're all these happy songs he loves to dance to write and I'll play some sounds from Barbados, some Calypso and some Soca sounds and some really upbeat sounds, you know, we'll dance or, you know, you'll see him dancing and getting down and everything else. And so, find things that uplift you. You know, there are all these YouTube videos of these people dancing and having fun. I think about humor. Laughing right. I'm laughing does wonders for the soul. And so even in the midst of this is a very serious situation people are dying, you know some of the means that are out there with our mirror that are hilarious with Mayor Lori Lightfoot and it just brings levity to the moment. So know yourself and find things that help you. They're not necessarily made for everybody else but know yourself enough to know what gives you that break what gives you that rejuvenation, what gives you that refresher that you need?
Are there any apps that you all can recommend that might be helpful?
I am a huge fan. It's called insight timer. I N si ght timer and I'm a huge fan because it's free. So you can use it just to time meditations but they also have a plethora, a large plethora of different meditations, from relieving anxiety to stress to motivation. And they are from five minutes to an hour. I mean, there's there's just a huge range. And
I think for, for people who want to
kind of foray into meditation, I would just say, you know, doing something that's guided is really helpful. Because then you're focusing you have the ability to focus on the guidances.
I also would say, though, if you are,
you know, you've got some really strong mental health, you have a lot of mental health concerns, you just got to be careful about meditating, because kind of getting inside yourself can be too much at times, especially if you're trauma survivor. So it's not something to go with lightly. But you know, maybe Do a couple minutes, see how that goes and and then kind of move that. And if you are working with anybody that is a mental health professional, you want to talk with them first about that.
Um, another app is the happy color app. I'm impressed. I haven't used it but I've had friends who've talked about it in color. And instead of scrolling all the time, social media i is an app that can be very therapeutic. So the happy color app and then also the calm app, which helps to relax you. And so those are two that have come highly recommended. And then I know a lot of people are using at this time.
And we also just so just to give a little plug to our counseling, students support campus shell. I actually just posted it again, we will be I will be facilitating along with one of our other accounts or Sarah meditations for students at three o'clock on Mondays. And they're guided, we're done in a half hour, but it's sometimes it's just the break, you need to kind of rejuvenate yourself. So spread the word on that as well.
Yeah, it was all other reasons. Yeah. Yeah. And we're putting other resources in there. So we'll put this app on there. We'll put all of our tips on that Canvas app, that Canvas shell, so definitely, be sure to get into that.
All right, great. You know, we always talk about what we should be doing other things that we should not be doing right now.
So one of the first things I would say is, do not isolate yourself. It is easy to do. You need time alone. Yes. And it depends, right? If you're introvert or extrovert, that's the case. But do not isolate yourself. Do not lock yourself away. If you live alone, make sure that you are zooming and facetiming and talking to people every day and snapchat in and, and all of these other things I've seen on TV where like a couple people like neighbors have decided we're going to socially isolate together. So they're still living in their own homes, but they've decided that these three households are going to act as a family because they're living on their own. So one of the first things I would say is, do not isolate yourself, it can be super easy to do. And especially if you struggled in the past with depression, anxiety, any of those things. It is not something that is good for you. Be sure to get out. Be sure to talk to others be sure to be in touch with people.
I think I would say I am somebody who reads a lot and watches a lot of news. And I think if you are somebody who likes to stay informed Try to find a balance. Tell yourself I'm going to turn off the TV for now I'm going to walk away. So don't overdo it, where it's on 24 seven this level of bad news. And maybe just find a balance because there's actually a lot of good news that's coming out right now, too. There's a lot of like a sense of community that we can try to focus on. And, you know, just not to overwhelm yourself with the bad news.
And I think what I would just add, it's not so much what you should not do. But we know that the students that we're working with and people out large, they tend to if they're having an issue, they're going to talk to somebody that they feel the most comfortable with. But if they're coming from a place where I need to figure this out by myself, I can handle my depression, my anxiety, whatever, they're not going to necessarily reach out to us. I would also say, you know, be that good friend, be that good neighbor, be that good family member and just reach out to people, even if you have no sense of where they aren't mental health wise, just say I'm just checking in and I haven't, you know, we haven't talked in a while, but I'm just checking in, and obviously, I want to make sure you're okay. And that could really be really powerful. For anybody that is really suffering.
When the other things do, I would say not to do is to not catastrophize. Okay. A lot of horrible things. And sometimes I think our access to media can do this, you know, we see so much information and take it in, that we catastrophize how awful This is, but let's really try to put what's happening in perspective. It's not good. And I know there are a lot of bad things happening. But let's talk about Have you gone through bad experiences before how have you come through those situations? You know, let me talk about how what how can I use this to my advantage, should I do something I've always wanted to do or at home, you know, some hobby or some project, you know, just find a way to reframe it reframe a lot of negativity. And also in that as well. Be sure, if you have people in your life who tend to be negative, um, be sure to really put boundaries around those people sometimes. And sometimes they live with us, you know, and so we have to really figure out how do we manage it because eventually we start internalizing, and we start taking all of that in, and that gives us more anxiety and more stress. And so we have to find a way not to constantly be negative not to constantly taking negative information and not to catastrophize what is happening today.
Okay, to wrap up, I'm wondering if you could all contribute one thing if a student was listening Today like one thing that you'd really want them just to take away, most important thing
I would want students to know that this is temporary. And that we will get through this, we're in this together. And it seems very overwhelming, it seems very long, but it is temporary and you know, sooner sooner or later things will get back to normal, we will be okay. And that we are here for you. So if you need help if you need support, we are here to help you succeed. We don't want to see anyone struggle, we don't want to see anyone you know, suffer through their schooling. And if if they if they need to reach out we are here for them.
And I think I would just add, you're not alone. You are not alone in all this. We are all this is one situation. In some level, we are all bonding. And so please don't feel like you're alone. Please be the person, allow people to be the person you would want to be if they were if you were struggling. So be that be open to what Chinese said Be open to support and be open to caring, and then pay it for when you need to.
For me, I would say it's okay not to be okay right now. Sometimes we tend to gloss over those negative emotions like you know, we have a lot to be thankful for Yes, we do. Um, but we can also be sad at the same time. We can also be upset at the same time we can also be hurt at the same time. So eventually things will be okay. But it's okay not to be okay right now. And that's a normal emotion that we are all feeling. And so we have to manage it. We have to live with it and then figure out how to cope with it. But first, just acknowledging that everything we're going through And it's a lot, we're all being traumatized. We're all being affected. And that's not normal. And that's okay. If you're feeling that and you're dealing with it and struggling with it, that's okay.
Okay, um, let me just say thank you to all of you for your time and your great work organizing and thinking this through for us. Today, we focus on self care and balancing responsibilities. We're planning a part two for some time, down the road, where we'd like to talk a little bit more about more serious issues, mental illness, domestic violence and suicide prevention. With that, I want to say keep, you know, wherever you found this video to our audience, if you found it on the canvas website for counseling, or one of the library's media channels, come back, we will be here again, down the road. So thank you very much. Thank you.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.