news-category: Health and Wellness

October is Emotional Wellness Month: Tips for Dealing with Stress

a graphic with the words wellness

Gardner-Webb University Counseling Services Hosts Depression Screening Day, Other Activities

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—For the last 17 years, October has been recognized as Emotional Wellness Month. Emotional wellness is defined by the National Center for Emotional Wellness as an awareness, understanding and acceptance of your feelings, and your ability to manage effectively through challenges and change. During the month, Stephanie Allen, director of Counseling Services at Gardner-Webb University, and counselors, Megan Peek and Michael Taub, have events planned to bring awareness to mental health and well-being.

Practicing emotional wellness is more relevant today because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing, quarantine and mask wearing can contribute to stress, anxiety and loneliness. “In relation to COVID, we have seen an increase and worsening of mental health symptoms, especially in those with pre-existing anxiety and/or depression,” Allen noted.

National Depression Screening Day will be observed at Gardner-Webb on Thursday, Oct. 7, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Faith Hall, Tucker Student Center. The screening is open to students, faculty and staff and only takes about 10 minutes. “When they arrive they will register/sign in and receive a number to make the screening as anonymous as possible,” Allen noted. “They will turn their screening in to be scored and then a counselor will call out the number they were assigned upon registration. The counselor will then take them back to discuss their scores with them.”

To further promote emotional wellness, the Student Activities office will give away Mental Health Awareness bracelets at the football game on Oct. 9.

Practice emotional wellness

Allen, Peek and Taub list the following ways individuals can practice emotional wellness:

The Student Activities office will give away
Mental Health Awareness bracelets at the
football game on Oct. 9.
  • Reach out to social supports. If you feel lonely, participate in activities (sports, clubs, extracurriculars) where you can meet new people.
  • Practice gratitude. Write down three things/people you are grateful for each day. If you cannot think of anything, ask a friend. Focusing on what we are grateful for can help quiet the stressors around us.
  • Do what you love. Baking/cooking, watching a movie, calling a friend, going to the gym, hiking, etc. These are all examples of coping skills, methods of distracting yourself in order to come back to stressors with a fresh perspective.
  • Schedule at least 15 minutes each day to do something you enjoy.
  • Spend time outside safely/resist the temptation to stay indoors.
  • Engage in physical activity.

Too much stress?

Here are some signs that individuals have too much stress in their lives:

  • Physical symptoms (stomach aches, headaches, fatigue, difficulty breathing) that were not present previously.
  • Irritability.
  • Less social.
  • Discouraged easily.
  • Negative attitude.
  • Having so much going on that you are neglecting other obligations or yourself.
  • Having trouble planning/organizing because of what you have going on.

When to seek professional help:

  • Stress levels negatively impact your overall functioning.
  • Physical symptoms worsen.
  • Friendships/relationships suffer.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Misplaced priorities.

For more information, contact the Counseling Center at (704) 406-4563.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to six professional schools, 14 academic departments, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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