As a school, as individuals, and as a community, social distancing and remote learning are entirely new to us. As such, many of us are experiencing a range of new emotions as we try to process and understand the global uncertainty and what it means in our own lives. Now, more than ever, health and well-being are moving to the forefront. Without daily interactions with our friends, teachers, and mentors, we must find new ways to take care of ourselves and process our emotions. Director of Counseling Nicole Siciliano put together helpful suggestions for our students about how to manage stress and make sure we are prioritizing self-care.
Be Mindful of Media Consumption:
It is important to stay informed. At New Hampton School, we encourage our students to be informed, global citizens. However, the abundance of information and sources available can be exhausting. It is possible to feel profoundly overwhelmed and yet completely confounded. Perhaps you are confused or frustrated with how to unpack it all. Perhaps you have questions to which there are not answers. Being mindful to limit your exposure to the media can be effective and grounding. Identify a few reliable sources such as CDC, WHO, and NYT and trust that they will provide you with the most informed updates. Make time in your day to stay informed and then cut yourself off and move on to a new activity.
Manage Anxiety in Healthy Ways:
For some, this may be the first time you are experiencing significant fear or anxiety distinct from the stress of everyday life. For others, that have experienced anxiety or depression, fear associated with COVID-19 may worsen symptoms. Consider your emotion regulation strategies. And are they working for you? Some helpful resources include What Do We Do With All These Feelings?, Anxiety and Coping with the Coronavirus, and 8 Ways to Manage Your Coronavirus Related Anxiety.
Identify your New Normal:
You have been asked to make a huge shift. Take time to acknowledge the similarities and differences between New Hampton School and your new setting. Consider the level of structure, independence, and connection you would experience daily on campus. What about your routine worked for you? Your most constructive strategies may no longer be an option, and so you must find alternatives. Consider how you are using this time now. Establishing a routine that includes daily exercise, healthy meals, and ample sleep is crucial to regulating our moods. When this is all behind us and we return to our lives, how will you look back on the experience? What will you have learned?
So much of what makes this situation challenging is that it is new. Fortunately, your peers from Husky Nation are experiencing this for the first time as well. If you feel frustrated, unsure of how to navigate synchronous learning blocks, office hours, and alternate time zones, know that you’re not alone. If you miss popping by the Country Store for your favorite breakfast sandwich or cheering on a friend at their game (watching any sports at all) or even just relaxing in the houses, know that you are not alone. Being away from school and our routines can feel especially isolating. Reach out to a fellow Husky, let them know you care.
Ask for Help:
It may feel like you can’t drop into the student life office, or knock on your advisor’s door, but all of your contacts and resources are still standing by, you just may need to access them differently. Whether you just need your House Parents to make you laugh, or you feel like you could really use the help of your school counselor, don’t hesitate to reach out. Help is available in many ways, it just might require a little more effort on your part to make the connection. After a day of classes on Zoom, an informal chat with your advisor might not seem that appealing, but this informal social time with a trusted adult may be just what you need.