5 Steps to Manage Mental Health When Returning To Campus

There is no doubt that 2020 has been a different and stressful year, with the time we spent quarantining to protect everyone’s health, student’s are ready to go back to campus. As a rising junior, returning to Bryn Mawr’s beautiful campus is exciting and a dream come true after a hard summer. We are all aware of the dedication Bryn Mawr staff has taken on to achieve a safe and healthy return to campus and of the measures we need to follow in order to maintain everyone’s safety.

Part of those measures, the 14 day quarantine before the start of classes and the social-distance measures to follow during the school year, can make students feel lonely and bored – trust me, I already picture myself talking to the wall.

During these times, where we are thinking about our health in a physical way we need to remember the importance of mental health, specifically for students as they return back to campus for a non-traditional semester. Here are simple and effective steps one can take to manage mental health during COVID-19 and the return to academics:

  • Take a break from the news: make sure the information you are listening to or viewing is from reputable and non-sensational sources. After long periods of quarantine I have found myself spending so much time looking at the TV, with news not changing much but creating a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. Listening to and viewing pictures of the crisis can be emotionally upsetting, and the time spent looking at the TV or reading the news instead be spent talking through FaceTime, getting ahead on the interesting readings our Professors are starting to post or catching up on some Netflix! Here is a book recommendation if you find yourself craving a good read: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.
  • Let’s take care of our body: for me this screams: catch up on sleep and stretch! Adjusting to the non-traditional semester will take some time, so focusing on healthy habits during this period of quarantine can help us be more effective as soon as we hit the books! Do what feels right, what gets your mind off the boredom and whatever your body is craving!
  • Learn a new skill: before quarantine, my artistic talent was non-existent but now, I can skilfully paint by numbers! I painted a bunny with a bunch of colors that I now have framed and hang in my dorm room. If anyone is interested in becoming the new Bob Ross you could tune in to your artistic self or search for something that rocks your boat, like YouTube dance classes or bracelet making. Extreme TikTok dancing can be a time consuming but fun task!
  • Give to others: from a sweet text to a donation or maybe just calling your friend on FaceTime, connecting and spending time with someone else or taking part in a wholesome and generous act for a good cause can be a productive and heartwarming way to spend your time.
  • Reach out to Counseling Services: Bryn Mawr’s great Counseling Services is offering drop-in student support groups for all students via the Zoom Healthcare platform, facilitated by BMC Counseling Services.

A beautiful rainbow outside my friend Maeve’s window reminding us that better times are coming! 🙂