category: Mental Health 6 Tips for Better Mental Health During Coronavirus By Gardner-Webb University On August 1, 2020 1) Pause, breathe and notice how you feel Take a moment at the start of each day and as needed throughout the day to check in with yourself. Stop what you are doing and take inventory of your thoughts and your actions: What are you thinking about?What emotions are you feeling right now?What sensations are you aware of—what do you: feel, see, hear, touch, taste, and smell? Just notice and make a mental note or write it down if you are keeping a journal. Keeping a journal enables us to externalize feelings and thoughts, facilitates emotional regulation and helps us from feeling overwhelmed. Then give yourself permission to feel what you just observed. That means let yourself laugh and cry and everything in between. Emotional expression is normal and healthy. Suppressing sadness is unhealthy and will eventually come out in unexpected and unpleasant ways potentially as anger or depression. 2) Take breaks and spend time outside As state and local officials are encouraging residents to stay at home during the pandemic, most states still enable (and encourage) enjoying the outdoors as long as you maintain a safe social distance. Get outside! Sunlight boosts positive brain chemistry, wards off depression and helps strengthen your immune system. Spend at least 10 minutes outside every day. 3) Make time for sleep Focusing on sleep is a natural fit for focusing on self-care. In these times of uncertainty, it can be difficult to unwind, relax, and take rest. Sleep is critical to physical health and effective functioning of the immune system. Create a sleep schedule and limit screen time before bed to create an environment that promotes restful sleep. 4) Take time for exercise Do for others, but also take care of yourself. If you are not taking some time for yourself daily—at least 15 to 30 minutes—to exercise, meditate and move your body intentionally. You are likely going to become irritable, resentful, and stressed out from day to day. Remember: an empty pitcher never quenched anyone’s thirst. 5) Reach out and stay connected Humans are social creatures. While we are social distancing, it is imperative to practice social connectivity—or the feeling of closeness and connectedness to a community or group of people. Plan time for video calls with family and friends or create a virtual trivia night with friends. 6) Seek help if you feel overwhelmed We are here for you. Gardner-Webb University Counseling Center provides academic, emotional, social, and vocational support as well as mental health consultation to students. A team of professionals trained in education and counseling help University community members in developing constructive life plans, handling crisis situations, and coping with day-to-day problems. All services provided are confidential and no information will be given to others without the consent of the individual. The University Counseling is located in Tucker Student Center and is open for appointments, Monday- Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For after-hours emergencies, an on-call counselor can be reached by calling the crisis number (704) 406-2599 or University Police at (704) 406-4444.