Looking after your mental health
The impact of the novel coronavirus on community mental health has been significant. Not only are we faced with concerns for our physical wellbeing, but we may be feeling isolated amid disruptions to our everyday lives and routines. The Notre Dame Counselling Service has put together some suggestions on managing your mental health during this difficult time.
Focus on the present and act mindfully
Oftentimes we can become overwhelmed by our ruminations about the past or our anxieties about the future. This is particularly the case in times of global strife or uncertainty, when we feel as though many things are out of our control. While these worries are normal, sometimes it helps to take a break and focus on the present moment and the things that are within our control. Try these steps:
Make a routine
Going to work or university forces us to have a routine; we need to think about when we get up, make breakfast, catch the train, and our activities throughout the day. When we don’t have a routine sometimes we can begin to feel aimless and untethered. Consider making a timetable for yourself, even if you don’t write it down. Include time for lectures and study, but also for your hobbies, interests, and connecting with others.
You might have to be adaptable — if your usual activities aren’t possible due to social distancing, try some creative alternatives. If soccer is good for your mental health, you may want to practice dribbling or work on your cardio. If you enjoy the arts, try painting, dancing or making music at home. It’s important to feel like we’re still connected to the things that are meaningful in our lives, even though we are living in a disrupted time.
If you’re finding it harder to focus on study, you’re not alone. It’s common to feel distracted when so much is going on in the world. Consider breaking your study into shorter, more regular chunks. For example, rather than trying to focus on an assignment for 2 hours straight, you might find it easier to do four 30-minute blocks with short breaks in between.
Reach out and learn more
The Counselling Service at Notre Dame remains open and available for free, confidential appointments for students. You can speak to a counsellor by phone or Zoom about whatever issues may be troubling you, and receive professional advice and support. You can find details of the service on your campus on the Notre Dame website.
The Department of Health’s Head to Health website also provides a number of resources for looking after your mental wellbeing at this time, along with links to other avenues of support.
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