Counseling Center offers self-care tips during social distancing


Central Michigan University's new counseling center activity room in on Sept. 7 in Foust 135. 

Social distancing can be very hard on a person's mental health. Anxieties are now escalated because of this scary and uncharted territory, and some people have lost the sense of comfort from routine and structure in our everyday lives.

“We are going to feel what we feel,” said Michelle Bigard, associate director of the Central Michigan University Counseling Center. “But we cannot let our feelings overcome us”.

Central Michigan Life spoke to Bigard at the Counseling Center to compile a list of ways students can practice self-care while in isolation.

1. Find a purpose

Identify three things that you want to accomplish every day. No matter how small they are, Bigard said assigning a purpose to your day is key. 

The most important question you can ask yourself is, “What is the next best and healthy thing to do right now,” Bigard said. 

2. Keep a journal

Take time to reflect every day on what you did, how you feel and what your hopes are for the future. This is a historic moment in time and it will be remembered for many generations to come. “What story do you want to tell?” Bigard asked.

3. Exercise

Take time out of your day to do some sort of physical activity. 

“Me and my husband promised to go outside once a day,” Bigard said. Going outside and exposing your body to the fresh air and sunlight would be beneficial to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. 

However, if individuals do not feel safe leaving the safety of their own home, doing some at-home exercises would also help your mind by releasing “feel-good” endorphins in the body.

4. Discover your potential

Think of this time as an opportunity to explore new hobbies and skills. Learn how to cook, paint, play an instrument or design fashion. Bigard said we have so much untapped potential, the possibilities are endless.

5. Ride the rollercoaster 

“This will be an emotional rollercoaster for all of us,” Bigard said. It is more than okay to have days where the panic, fear, and uncertainty seem like it’s too much to handle. Allow yourself to feel those emotions. 

But remember to balance out the bad days with good days full of self-care and positivity. 

“Look for the little moments of joy and humor in your day,” Bigard said. Keeping a sense of humor during this time could be helpful.

Though Foust Hall is closed, the Counseling Center is still offering counseling appointments to all CMU students via video chat. 

“Call us! We will talk with you,” Bigard said. “Even if you just need to vent, we will listen”.

More resources about taking care of our mental health while social distancing can be found on the Counseling Center website.