The summer days are long, and the time we’ve spent away from public places like college campuses may seem longer. If you’re a student, you’ve probably been focused on the new challenges of online learning, and how to balance your obligations as a student with the constraints of studying and working from home (and perhaps other demands, such as taking care of children or other family members).
In the middle of all that, the TMCC Counseling Center wants to make sure you check in with yourself to do some mental-health self-care during this unprecedented time. According to TMCC Counselor Erin Frock, students right now are facing two distinct challenges that can definitely impede your ability to succeed academically. “Most students who reach out to us right now are struggling with housing and food scarcity, or with stress or anxiety related to isolation,” she said.
TMCC’s Counseling Center is here to help you—whether it’s by meeting one-on-one with a trained counselor through a virtual appointment to locate resources to help you in your current situation, or by exploring how you can start and keep a daily self-care routine. Just because we’re remote doesn’t mean we aren’t here for you. As always, all services provided by the Counseling Center are free.
The Importance of Self-Care
If we were to ask you what you do every day to take care of yourself mentally, how would you answer that question? Admittedly, there’s no “right” answer; however, if you answered something like “I don’t know” or “I don’t do anything,” it’s time for you to take better care of your mental health, and to do some healthy self-exploration.
“It’s best to think of self-care as a daily ritual that nourishes us in a fundamental way. What is good for you might not be good for another person, so thinking deeply about this practice might take a while,” said Frock.
Some examples of self-care rituals include: walking outside in the sunshine, caring for a garden, drawing, keeping a journal, knitting, listening to music or meditating, to name a few. It could be anything. The point is to find something that feeds your wellness—and that makes you feel better after you’ve done it.
Could self-care be a pedicure? Sure... but the idea is that it needs to be a daily ritual, and not many people can afford a daily pedicure (those, instead, are special treats—luxuries—that can also be a part of a wellness routine, but they probably won’t happen each and every day).
Throughout the summer, the Counseling Center has hosted Facebook Live videos as a part of its Wellness Wednesday series that offered some ideas that could become a part of your self-care routine. This series will continue throughout the summer; you can catch the live sessions every Wednesday on the TMCC Counseling Facebook Page at 11:30 a.m. PDT. If you missed these Facebook Live sessions, you can still access the recordings if you need inspiration on developing your own unique self-care routine.
There’s an App for That
If you like the idea of having wellness at your fingertips, the Counseling Center has also curated a collection of apps with free features that can help you to keep your mental health and wellness in tip-top shape. If meditation is something you would like to explore or develop, the Breathe2Relax app can guide you through meditation and breathing exercises. Or, reduce your anxiety with the Self Help for Anxiety Management App. See the full list of suggested apps for more ways to keep your mental wellness as a part of your daily routine.
However, sometimes an app just isn’t enough. If it’s that kind of a day, the Counseling Center has several resources that can help. If you’re near a computer, log on to Canvas and check out the Lizard’s Lounge, a virtual space packed with resources that can help you to weather these uncertain times. You can request to be added to the Lizard Lounge discussions if you would like to talk about important issues with Counselors and other TMCC students.
There are also links to several resources, such as other TMCC resources, information about distance learning, and community resources that can help you. If, however, links just aren’t enough, the Counseling Center still offers its core service—counseling—for students who need someone to talk to.
Talk It Out: Counselors Offer Virtual Appointments
You’ve probably heard or thought this a lot in the past few months: sometimes, there’s no replacement for human connection. Even though TMCC is continuing its remote operations, the Counseling Center is still up and running from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Friday. If your first thought is: I could never talk to a counselor, think again. You can—and as we say at TMCC: you are welcome here.
According to Frock, asking for help when you need it is brave... and necessary. “Students shouldn’t be afraid to communicate. Even though we are apart, we can stay connected and you can definitely reach out to us for support. It’s not weak to ask for help... it’s brave,” she said.
For more information about the free resources and services available through the TMCC Counseling Center, call 775-673-7060.