Dear Parents and Families, 

In this ever changing world we currently live in, it’s important to remember to keep ourselves physically safe and take care of those we love in the same way.  It’s also important to think about how this pandemic has effected all of us emotionally.  It has taken a toll on our mental well-being. 

Most students left college for spring break heading to the coast, on a mission trip, leadership trip or even home without realizing that they would not attend face to face classes for the rest of the semester.  They left their friends and support group.  This is hard, being separated without being able to say goodbye.  Students have indicated this has caused some stress, anxiety, and depression.

I would like to offer some suggestions to help with our emotional well-being in the coming days.

  • Encourage virtual gatherings. Urge your son or daughter to connect with their friends virtually through FaceTime, Zoom, or another platform.  This enables them to maintain contact and remain knowledgeable about what is going on with their friends.  They also can understand how others are dealing with the separation as well.
  • Get outside. Encourage your student to get out and be active.  Take a walk or run.  Get on a bike and enjoy the scenery in your neighborhood.  Make a picnic lunch and eat together in a different place at home or at a local park.  You can continue to social distance while providing a space to open your mind.
  • Journal. What an interesting time to record how you are feeling and how you see the world today.  A colleague of mine stated that his mother-in-law had encouraged him and his wife to journal during this time.  What a great idea!  It allows your student (and you) to get those thoughts out of your head and onto the paper so you are not carrying them around with you all the time.  It will also be great to look back at the journals later in life and remember this time and share with those who did not have the experience.
  • Eat, Sleep, and Exercise well. Make sure your student is getting enough sleep and eating well.  It’s easy to get into the habit of staying up very late and eating junk food when we feel isolated.  Suggest a regular pattern for sleep.  Going to bed and getting up at a certain time can help with emotional health.  Exercise helps to release our natural endorphins.  We need our rest and we need to continue to eat regular meals as opposed to just snacking all day long.  Too much sleep contributes to lack of interaction with others and causes further isolation.
  • Try Something New. Meditation, yoga, a new hobby, or game.   It gives you something new and different to hold your attention and keep your thoughts from collecting in a negative way.

Offer a listening ear and understanding during this difficult time.  Encourage action and interaction as much as possible.  We will all get through this and although our world may look different in the future, the future is exciting and different does not have to be bad. 

Enjoy your summer and we look forward to seeing you and your students in the fall.

 

Cindy Wallace
Director of Counseling Services
Gardner-Webb University
cwallace@gardner-webb.edu