Self care and mental health were already crucial topics for graduate students long before the COVID-19 pandemic began, but the furloughs, lay-offs, cancellations, and shut downs that began around March of this year made talking about self care and mental health more important than ever before. Many of us struggle with balancing classes, a job (or multiple jobs), an internship, professional organizations, and family. 

Now, we are struggling with additional stress at work due to COVID-19 regulations and fears. Some are anxious over finding work and making ends meet after being furloughed or laid off or having a partner furloughed or laid off. Others may be concerned about the health of elderly family members or exhausted each day from caring for children who are learning from home this year.

While searching for resources, I found several helpful self care and mental health tips. Here are a few takeaways that really resonated with me:

  1. Take a break from electronics. This is especially crucial during the pandemic, where people have replaced many of their physical connections with virtual ones. As an online student, you will also spend a massive amount of time on the computer, so it is important to take a break in order to rest your eyes and  mind. Do a puzzle or play a board game, take a walk, take a drive, make a craft, or cook yourself a meal – anything to step away from computers, iPhones, and TVs for a while.
  1. Figure out a time management plan. As a graduate student, time management is crucial. Impending due dates can really bog you down with stress and anxiety, so having a laid out schedule for your class work can help to ease your mind and organize your thoughts. At the beginning of each week, look at your course due dates as well as your personal schedule, and set aside specific days and times that week to read and work on your assignments. Having a formal schedule and a plan written out can help settle some of the anxiety over completing classwork.
  1. Find some way to blow off steam. This is tougher during a pandemic, as the gym may not be an option for many people, but there are still many different ways to break a sweat and get off of the couch or the computer. This could be biking, walking or jogging around your neighborhood, shooting baskets, or doing a quick yoga session in your room. Anything to get your body moving and your mind off of the things that are making you stressed. 
  1. Recognize your feelings of stress and anxiety and take steps to better cope with those negative emotions. This may include seeking counseling. Sometimes self care alone is not enough to ease mental health concerns. This resource list includes links to Kent State Psychological Services, which can help you figure out a way to move forward.

The following resources provide information on mental health and self care. Some were specifically written with COVID-19 in mind, while others focus on self care and mental health in general. Many resources also focus on self care from an LIS perspective.

Self Care and Mental Health Programs

9/23/2020 10:00 am ET. This webinar will help you take control of your choices and your life, increase your sense of positivity and positive emotions, and work toward responding to adversity with optimism and hope. Registration is free for iSchool students through NEO-RLS’s Gold Membership. All you have to do to take advantage of the Gold Membership is create an account through NEO-RLS and identify yourself as an iSchool student.

Kent State Psychological Services is offering virtual group counseling this semester. You can learn more about these groups below.

Art of Coping Group

This virtual group will help you learn to overcome challenges and set realistic expectations. You will also learn strategies to increase mindfulness, regulate emotions and tolerate distress, and break out of negative cycles. The group will start meeting on Wednesday, September 16th and take place every following Tuesday from 3:30 – 5:00pm. You can register for the group here.

Anxiety and Stress During COVID-19 Group

This virtual group will help you work to manage the stress of everyday life during COVID-19. Some topics of discussion in this group will be overcoming excessive worrying and negative thinking, and learning relaxation and self-care techniques to cope with anxiety. The group will start meeting on Tuesday, September 15th and take place every following Tuesday from 4:00 – 5:00pm. You can register for the group here.

Kent State of Wellness is offering virtual, facilitated meditation sessions every week day this semester as part of the Meditation Across Campus program. Meditation sessions last for around 30 minutes and are free for students.

Kent State of Wellness is offering Koru Mindfulness training for free to Kent State students. In these classes, you’ll discover how to incorporate mindfulness skills and meditation into your life to better manage stress.

LIS Resources

This webinar, hosted by ALA JobLIST Placement and Career Development Center, looks at twelve strategies for managing stress. The link provides access to the archived webinar and a related resource list.

Kent State Resources

Kent State of Wellness is a university-wide health and wellness promotion initiative. You can access their COVID-19 support resource list here.

KSU Psychological Services is currently offering teletherapy and telepsychology M-F 8am-5pm. Students who are in Ohio and have access to a laptop and Wi-Fi for video conferencing are eligible.

Included in the resource center is a list of self-care resources for BIPOC.

Other Useful Resources

This organization provides mental health resources specifically for students of color.

This organization is focused on the mental health and wellness of college students. You can access their Coronavirus resource center here.

Leave a Reply