Supporting your mental health during a time of uncertainty

It’s a stressful time for us all, but Counseling Services is here to support you during the events surrounding COVID-19. Using HIPAA compliant video conferencing software, you can still get the confidential and secure support you need right from home—all you need is a computer or a smartphone to speak with a counselor.

You don’t have to be a preexisting client either to see one of the college’s counselors! Just reach out, make an appointment, and you are on your way to getting help managing your symptoms of anxiety, stress, depression, and even boredom or fear—there’s never a wrong reason to seek out counseling.

No matter what, we are here to listen and support you. Setting up your appointment is easy Just email me, Marla Gentile, at

In the meantime, to help you to reduce feelings of stress and isolation, here are some helpful tips:

Get some exercise. If you want to mix it up, there are tons of YouTube videos that can guide you, or you can simply take a walk. Go outside, take a hike, ride a bike, and get some fresh air—just make sure to distance yourself from others. Exercise will distract you, reduce stress, and due to the “feel good” endorphins, it’ll help you feel better!

Learn how to meditate. You can download free guided meditation apps on your smartphone such as Calm, Headspace, and Oak among many others. You can choose short meditations that are under ten minutes if you are a beginner, and even longer if you are more advanced. Research has proven that daily meditation can reduce stress and contribute to improved feelings of wellbeing.

Distract yourself with puzzles, movies (especially comedy!), YouTube videos, or binge watch that TV series that you haven’t had the time to watch previously.

Video chat family and friends. It is really important to feel connected right now.

Take deep breaths whenever you want to. This will help you to reduce anxiety and stress. One breathing exercise called “square breathing” is a great place to start. Breath in for four counts, hold for four counts, out for four counts, rest for four counts, and repeat.

Give self reflection a try. With more time on your hands, this is a great opportunity to check in with yourself. Some great questions to start with include: What changes in your life would you like to make?  What goals would you like to set? This is also a time to think about doing some things inside that you have put off for a long time. Counseling Services is available to help you sort through some of these things as well.

Practice mindfulness. Take it one day at a time and embrace the moment. Even though times are uncertain, we all still have many things to be grateful for. Reach out to Counseling Services and we can help you learn how to do this.                                                                

Check The Den and the Student Affairs Instagram (@leesmcraestudentlife) often. Each week, Student Affairs staff will host several virtual events you can join right from home. Also keep an eye out for self care tips and affirmations. In addition, you can join me for virtual meditation sessions Wednesday afternoons at 4 p.m. If you have any other ideas that you would like to see either Counseling Services or Student Affairs provide virtually, please let us know! We are here for you.

Note: This article includes links to external websites. These links are only to provide ideas and examples, and do not reflect endorsements.

By Director of Counseling Services Marla GentileMarch 28, 2020
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