Tuesday, October 5, 2021

While we continue to respond to challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as personal and academic stressors, it is critically important that you are taking time to care for your health – both physically and mentally.

As individuals, we tend to dislike ambiguity, and ambiguity has been a theme for the last 18 months and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. The pandemic is uncertain, hard to predict, getting better one month and getting worse the next, and may end next week or not until next year or beyond. This ambiguity tends to leave us feeling more exhausted than those things that are predictable and finite, even if they are also difficult.

The good news is that you can assert control over some of this ambiguity, and in the process improve your mental health. Some strategies may include:

  • Seek information, but work to resist the urge to participate in doomscrolling.
  • Share your feelings with others, which can create the chance for normalization, greater connectivity, and receiving help. You cannot be brave without being vulnerable!
  • Remind yourself that many of the negative feelings we are having are reactions to the mayhem, chaos, ambiguity, and lack of control outside of us. Therefore, increased feelings of depression and anxiety may be a reasonable reaction to the current circumstances.
  • It is important to allow ourselves ongoing grief for what has been lost by no fault of our own. The permission of grief allows us to understand without self judgement why you may feel okay one day, feel in a sad mood for a couple days, not feel anything for a week, and then feel okay again.

Our campus presents a wide array of resources to support you and your physical and mental well-being. Student Wellnessoffers appointments, group workshops, events and other programming for students on nutrition, fitness, stress management, alcohol and drugs, tobacco/e-cigarettes, sexual health and sleep. You can find individual and group workout options, as well as fun and engaging fitness opportunities through Recreational Services. Additionally, mentalhealth.uiowa.edu offers a broad array of resources to help you with your mental health, including how to find care with University Counseling Service, suicide prevention, and specific information on managing stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, if you need support or experience concerns, please reach out to your personal support systems or the university resources and supports available to assist you. Below are some additional resources that may be able to assist no matter the challenge or concern: