The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can be stressful, and dealing with anxieties because of coronavirus can become overwhelming without proper coping mechanisms in place. Students are facing unprecedented change because of the virus and have had to restructure their lives to continue their education.
COVID-19 can elicit strong emotions in students with or without preexisting anxiety disorders. Whether you returned home to study or stayed put in Kamloops to finish your degree, you might be feeling unusually uneasy this semester, possibly even melancholy, and somewhat uncertain about your future.
The Wellness Centre’s Senior Coordinator, Chelsea Corsi, outlined ways TRU students can better cope with anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the fall semester. She suggested students take a moment to pause and breathe deeply, first and foremost.
Corsi stated that students should never “underestimate the power of slowing down and taking deep breaths.”
HealthLink BC lists breathing exercises as one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. Breathing exercises like belly breathing, roll breathing, and morning breathing is easy to learn and require no special tools or equipment to get the job done.
Corsi suggested students practice grounding techniques, which can help to refocus attention on the present moment. There are a wide variety of ways in which we can ground ourselves.
The majority of tactics used for grounding purposes focus on the five basic senses. After taking a second to catch your breath, try the five, four, three, two, one tactic: Acknowledge five things you see around you, then four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Grounding techniques are especially helpful when feeling overwhelmed.
Corsi reminded students to be kind to themselves and others.
“People are generally doing the best with what they have… yourself included,” Corsi said.
Times are odd, and people are doing their best to get things done and get by. Remember to show love and kindness to those around you. Showing empathy for others and yourself can invite positivity into your life.
Corsi then suggested students honour their time by creating a comprehensive schedule.
“Use a system that works for you,” Corsi said. “Do you prefer a paper planner, a checklist, or a digital calendar?”
When we prioritize organizational strategies, it can help us feel prepared, which lessens anxiety later. Taking time to schedule our lives highlights essential aspects of our daily existences and makes clear our purpose.
Corsi went on to advocate for booking in time for self-care, saying, “self-care is not selfish… you need time for [self-care] to refill your bucket and rejuvenate your spirit.” Self-care is simply any activity we deliberately do to take care of our physical and mental health. It looks different for everyone; do what feels right for you.
Corsi encouraged students to “be brave and reach out for support if things become too much… TRU has incredible student service professionals and engaged student leaders who are here to support [students] if need be.”
Further, the Wellness Centre at TRU is hosting various virtual programs this semester to encourage student connection and engagement throughout the fall. Programs include Live Chats with the Student Wellness Ambassadors Team (SWAT), Tea Time with Wellness, virtually Wellness in YOUR House sessions, weekly virtual therapy dog visits, weekly virtual mindfulness sessions, and one-to-one health and wellness consultations with Corsi herself.
If interested in any of the programming listed above or more information concerning the topics discussed within this article, feel free to contact Corsi at firstname.lastname@example.org or head on over to the Wellness Centre’s information page on the TRU website.