Each week, the Wellness Center will provide a newsletter with tips/recommendations for staying well during this unique time. Student can submit questions directly to the newsletter.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 2:00 – 3:00 PM EST
Thursday, March 26, 2020, 7:00 PM ET / 4:00 PM PT
Thursday, Mar 26, 2020 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM CDT
Unlocking Us, hosted by Brené Brown
The Hardcore Self Help Podcast, hosted by psychologist Robert Duff
Colorful Eats, hosted by Caroline Potter, NTP
Food Psych, hosted by Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN
Ali On The Run, hosted by Ali Feller
Modern Love, hosted by WBUR and The New York Times
10% Happier, hosted by Dan Harris
The Bounce Back, hosted by Laura Yates
Beautiful Stories From Anonymous Peope, hosted by Chris Gethard
Just One More, hosted by Joanna and Daphnie, CPT
Food Heaven Podcast, hosted by Wendy and Jess, RDs
Science VS, hosted by Gimlet Media
Invisibilia, hosted by NPR
This American Life, hosted by WBEZ Chicago
Oprah Super Soul, hosted by Oprah Winfrey
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Prioritize getting a healthy amount of sleep, eating well, moving or exercising regularly, and avoiding alcohol. Sleep, nutrition, and exercise greatly impact the body’s ability to regulate emotions.
- Create and follow a daily routine
Maintaining a daily routine can help preserve a sense of order and purpose in one’s life despite the unfamiliarity of this situation. Try to include regular daily activities, such as learning, working, listening to music, spending time being creative, and other healthy pastimes.
- Stay virtually connected with others
Try using phone calls, text messages, video chat, and social media to access social support networks. If you’re feeling sad or anxious, use these conversations as an opportunity to discuss your experience and associated emotions. Reach out to those you know who are in a similar situation.
- Limit news consumption to reliable sources
It’s important to obtain accurate and timely public health information regarding COVID-19, but too much exposure to media coverage of the virus can lead to increased feelings of fear and anxiety. Limit time spent on news and social media.
Journaling is an exercise often used as a means of pursuing mental health and well being. Here is some information on how journaling works and why it works. Creating a written or typed narration of your thoughts, experiences, and feelings provides you with an opportunity to make internal experiences tangible. Establishing a tangible narrative through journaling allows you:
1. Sift through your cognitions (or thoughts)
2. Shift your perspective(s) when necessary
3. Unpack/explore and/or process thoughts, feelings, and experiences
Journal Prompts for Reflecting on the New (temporary) Normal:
What has changed in your day-to-day life since COVID-19 became “a thing”? Which changes have caused the greatest imposition(s)? Which changes have led to the most distress? Which changes, if any, have been pleasantly surprising? Which changes have led to some relief of distress? Note: If your response to the last question is “None!” then create some changes that lead to stress relief; this might be new self-care and coping strategies you’ve employed.
Movement Toward Joy Part I:
What are things that bring me joy (e.g. activities, hobbies, experiences)? Why do these things increase my joyfulness? What is it about these things and what is it about me that leads to interaction (between myself and these things)-based joy? Which people/relationships increase my joy? What is it about these people and what is it about me that leads to interaction-based (between myself and these people) joy? What may I do to maintain my connections to people and things adding to my joyfulness during the pandemic?
Movement Toward Joy Part II:
Who in my immediate present circle seems most in need of joy? What may I do to increase their joy? What may I do to add to the joyfulness of all others around me? How may I add joy to the lives of the people from whom I am physically distanced at present?
Moving Outside of the Self and Into the Community:
Reflect on the changes you’ve experienced due to the pandemic in the context of the larger picture. You are being impositioned in some ways due to the campus shift to remote operations. How are other folk in the larger community being impositioned? What is your role in the Nation’s response to the pandemic? How does being an individual who may or may not be in a “high risk” category tie into your role in decreasing the spread of the coronavirus? Are there ways you may be of service to your local friends, family, and campus community members at this time? What might that look like?
What are you learning about yourself as a result of the coronavirus-related shifts in your life? How have you come to learn these things? What are you learning about other people (both close others and not-so-close others) as a result of our present situation? How have you come to learn these things? What are you learning about institutions (colleges & universities, the government, etc.) related to these shifts? How have you come to learn these things?What are you learning about your home, local, and global communities? How have you come to learn these things? How may you integrate this new learning and related perspectives gained into your life moving forward?
These techniques use your five senses or tangible objects — things you can touch — to help you move through distress.
1. Put your hands in water. Focus on the water’s temperature and how it feels on your fingertips, palms, and the backs of your hands. Does it feel the same in each part of your hand? Use warm water first, then cold. Next, try cold water first, then warm. Does it feel different to switch from cold to warm water versus warm to cold?
2. Pick up or touch items near you. Are the things you touch soft or hard? Heavy or light? Warm or cool? Focus on the texture and color of each item. Challenge yourself to think of specific colors, such as crimson, burgundy, indigo, or turquoise, instead of simply red or blue.
3. Breathe deeply. Slowly inhale, then exhale. If it helps, you can say or think “in” and “out” with each breath. Feel each breath filling your lungs and note how it feels to push it back out.
4. Savor a food or drink. Take small bites or sips of a food or beverage you enjoy, letting yourself fully taste each bite. Think about how it tastes and smells and the flavors that linger on your tongue.
5. Take a short walk. Concentrate on your steps — you can even count them. Notice the rhythm of your footsteps and how it feels to put your foot on the ground and then lift it again.
6. Hold a piece of ice. What does it feel like at first? How long does it take to start melting? How does the sensation change when the ice begins to melt?
7. Savor a scent. Is there a fragrance that appeals to you? This might be a cup of tea, an herb or spice, a favorite soap, or a scented candle. Inhale the fragrance slowly and deeply and try to note its qualities (sweet, spicy, sharp, citrusy, and so on).
8. Move your body. Do a few exercises or stretches. You could try jumping jacks, jumping up and down, jumping rope, jogging in place, or stretching different muscle groups one by one. Pay attention to how your body feels with each movement and when your hands or feet touch the floor or move through the air. How does the floor feel against your feet and hands? If you jump rope, listen to the sound of the rope in the air and when it hits the ground.
9. Listen to your surroundings. Take a few moments to listen to the noises around you. Do you hear birds? Dogs barking? Machinery or traffic? If you hear people talking, what are they saying? Do you recognize the language? Let the sounds wash over you and remind you where you are.
10. Feel your body. You can do this sitting or standing. Focus on how your body feels from head to toe, noticing each part. Can you feel your hair on your shoulders or forehead? Glasses on your ears or nose? The weight of your shirt on your shoulders? Do your arms feel loose or stiff at your sides? Can you feel your heartbeat? Is it rapid or steady? Does your stomach feel full, or are you hungry? Are your legs crossed, or are your feet resting on the floor? Is your back straight? Curl your fingers and wiggle your toes. Are you barefoot or in shoes? How does the floor feel against your feet?
11. Try the 5-4-3-2-1 method. Working backward from 5, use your senses to list things you notice around you. For example, you might start by listing five things you hear, then four things you see, then three things you can touch from where you’re sitting, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Make an effort to notice the little things you might not always pay attention to, such as the color of the flecks in the carpet or the hum of your computer.
These grounding exercises use mental distractions to help redirect your thoughts away from distressing feelings and back to the present.
1. Play a memory game. Look at a detailed photograph or picture (like a cityscape or other “busy” scene) for 5 to 10 seconds. Then, turn the photograph face-down and recreate the photograph in your mind, in as much detail as possible. Or, you can mentally list all the things you remember from the picture.
2. Think in categories. Choose one or two broad categories, such as “musical instruments,” “ice cream flavors,” “mammals,” or “baseball teams.” Take a minute or two to mentally list as many things from each category as you can.
3. Use math and numbers. Even if you aren’t a math person, numbers can help center you.
Try:running through a times table in your head.
counting backward from 100
choosing a number and thinking of five ways you could make the number (6 + 11 = 17, 20 – 3 = 17, 8 × 2 + 1 = 17, etc.)
4. Recite something. Think of a poem, song, or book passage you know by heart. Recite it quietly to yourself or in your head. If you say the words aloud, focus on the shape of each word on your lips and in your mouth. If you say the words in your head, visualize each word as you’d see it on a page.
5. Make yourself laugh. Make up a silly joke — the kind you’d find on a candy wrapper or popsicle stick.
You might also make yourself laugh by watching your favorite funny animal video, a clip from a comedian or TV show you enjoy, or anything else you know will make you laugh.
6. Visualize a daily task you enjoy or don’t mind doing. If you like doing laundry, for example, think about how you’d put away a finished load. “The clothes feel warm coming out of the dryer. They’re soft and a little stiff at the same time. They feel light in the basket, even though they spill over the top. I’m spreading them out over the bed so they won’t wrinkle. I’m folding the towels first, shaking them out before folding them into halves, then thirds,” and so on.
7. Imagine yourself leaving the painful feelings behind. Picture yourself: gathering the emotions, balling them up, and putting them into a box walking, swimming, biking, or jogging away from painful feelings imagining your thoughts as a song or TV show you dislike, changing the channel or turning down the volume — they’re still there, but you don’t have to listen to them.
8. Describe what’s around you. Spend a few minutes taking in your surroundings and noting what you see. Use all five senses to provide as much detail as possible. “This bench is red, but the bench over there is green. It’s warm under my jeans since I’m sitting in the sun. It feels rough, but there aren’t any splinters. The grass is yellow and dry. The air smells like smoke. I hear kids having fun and two dogs barking.”
- Check out the St. Olaf VIRTUAL PROGRAMMING website!
- Read a book (a new book, or even a favorite book you’ve already read!)
- Learn a new language (Duolingo is a good app)
- Watch interesting TED talks (Favorites: Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability, Amy Cuddy: Your body language may shape who you are)
- Listen to music, find new music
- Art – drawing, painting, doodling, collaging with magazines, etc…
- Watch a movie, Netflix
- Take up a new hobby, like knitting
- Give yourself a manicure or pedicure
- Write a poem
- Write a letter to a friend
- Connect with friends and family over the phone
The Jed Foundation Tips for Self-Care and Managing Stress
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation During an Infectious Disease Outbreak
In support of the college’s mission, the St. Olaf Wellness Center strives to educate and support a community that encourages healthy and safe behaviors through the promotion of personal responsibility, positive social norms, and campus engagement. Staffed by trained Peer Educators, stop by Buntrock 112 for educational information, peer one-to-one support, health supplies, or to take a break.
visits per week
health supplies distributed weekly
peer one-to-ones each month
educational presentations each month