Many of us have had to make significant changes to our everyday lives in the face of uncertainty and adversity. As life continues to change, it’s important that we show ourselves compassion through this process. Here are some things you can do to protect your mental health during this time.
Set healthy boundaries with yourself
Whether you’re reading the news or scrolling through social, it can be hard to get away from negative news and information. That’s why it’s important to set healthy boundaries for ourselves. Boundaries serve an important role in our lives, especially when we are feeling anxious or experiencing a crisis. Here are some ways you can set boundaries around how you interact with COVID-19 information:
Set healthy boundaries with others
Knowing what we need and communicating our needs clearly can help to protect our own mental health and energy. Here are some examples of things you can say to set boundaries with those around you:
Process your emotions
When we are experiencing a crisis or being bombarded with information, it can be difficult to process our feelings and emotions in a healthy way. Increased stress and anxiety levels may cause us to snap at those we love or leave us feeling physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted.
One way to process emotions in a healthy way is to practice journaling. Journaling allows us an opportunity to explore our feelings, process them and move forward. If you’re new to journaling, try setting a timer for 2-5 minutes to write. If you don’t fill the whole time that’s okay.
Look for bright spots and landmines
As we navigate changes and work to adjust to a new normal, it can be good to reflect on our thoughts and behaviors to find bright spots and avoid landmines:
Once you’ve discovered your bright spots and landmines, write them out into two lists. Set reminders for yourself to do the things on your bright spots list and create systems to help you avoid the things on your landmines list. For instance, you can set a reminder to go for a walk every day at noon if that is one of your bright spot activities. If spending too much time on social is on your landmines list, try to set boundaries around your use. You may set a 10-minute timer or use an app that blocks certain accounts once you’ve hit your daily limit.
Self-care is any activity that we intentionally do to take care of our own mental, emotional and physical health. Sometimes, self-care is short term, like eating a sweet treat. Other times, self-care is more long term, like learning how to budget or getting enough sleep each night. The important thing to remember is that self-care looks different for everyone. If someone else’s version of self-care doesn’t match your own, that’s okay. Do what you need to do to feel better.
It’s important to create a self-care plan that works for you. Set aside time each day or week to enjoy those activities.
Talk to someone
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to someone. Reach out to a trusted friend or family member and let them know what you’re going through. While we all might be experiencing the same thing, it may impact us differently. Take the time to talk to someone about your emotions and where you might be struggling.
You can also schedule a free virtual appointment with Counseling & Psychiatric Services (CAPS) by calling 303-492-2277. Services are confidential, and counselors can help provide insight, solutions and information about additional resources. Students commonly work with CAPS to address concerns about stress, sadness, worry, relationships, academic performance, family problems and financial struggles.
SilverCloud Online Mental Health is a confidential program that offers access to online programs for stress, anxiety and depression. Each module offers information, tips and activities to help better understand your emotional wellbeing. This program is available for free to all CU Boulder students, grad students, staff and faculty.
Health & Wellness Virtual Programs are available to support students and graduate students through this transitional time. Students can find resources for counseling, medical care, coaching, online fitness classes, confidential support, live events, stress-relief activities and more.