How to Stay Emotionally Healthy During Uncertain Times


Whether you’re just starting your post-secondary journey, halfway through, or on your last leg, these last few weeks have been rough and challenging on all of us. The past month has been and continues to be difficult for many reasons and the impact has been consequential. However, it is still important for students to stay emotionally healthy.

young girl holding phone looking out window

In times like these, stress and anxiety tend to rise to the forefront of our minds. Students who are juggling studies, work, and taking care of loved ones need their own coping mechanisms to manage the stress and anxiety surrounding the coronavirus and the current global environment we are living in. 

Given how predominantly online our everyday lives are with technology, we are accustomed to being bombarded with news and updates from several sources multiple times a day. However, with this in mind, we also need to take the time to be aware of and manage our own mental health during this challenging period.

At Sprott Shaw, we are here for you and want to help you through this uncertain time. Below, we’ll go over some helpful strategies from the “Not Myself Today” program to help keep you healthy, both mentally and physically.

1. Pay Attention to Your Body and Emotions

It’s natural and only human to experience stress and anxiety in the face of a threat we cannot control. Because everyone thinks, reacts, and behaves differently, whenever something frustrates you or feels “off” to you, notice what your body and emotions are telling you:

girl reading book on red couch
  • Listen to your emotions and notice any anxiety, sadness, or detachment
  • Listen to your body and notice any new aches and pains or changes in your appetite

When you start to notice troubling symptoms, you should pause to care for and take care of your body and mind. Do something that relaxes you or makes you feel like you – whether it’s reading, cooking, going for a walk, or even binging on your favourite Netflix series.

2. Embrace Best Health Practices

While we’ve heard it before and read the facts many times over, there is still so much about the coronavirus outbreak over which we have no control. However, we can choose to embrace the kinds of practices that will keep us and our loved ones safe by continuing to practice the following:

  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Maintain social distance when in public settings and even at home as a precaution.
  • Cover your cough with or sneeze into a disposable tissue. Make sure you throw the tissue in the trash after use. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing happy birthday twice).

3. Access Reliable Resources and Know When to Step Back

In our everyday lives, we’re constantly exposed to news reports and updates from all kinds of sources – and some might not even be true. Make sure the outlets and channels you are following are reputable and reliable. Believing and sharing false reports will only hurt your own mental health and cause more anxiety.

Remember, you are your own person. You can choose how you will receive and consume information about the outbreak. However, if you find that your mind and mental well-being are being negatively affected by the outpour of breaking news, you can also choose to step away from the media reports and take a break. Being overwhelmed by the news or compulsively checking it will not do any favours for your well-being, so it’s good to set reasonable limits for yourself. Stay updated but don’t overwhelm yourself.

4. Stay Connected

woman on skype on laptop in coffee bar

In our current state where people are feeling anxious more than ever, you can be a gift to others. Take care of yourselves and each other and when you find the situation becoming a little too much for you, reach out to someone. As humans, we are social creatures (no matter how introverted you may think you are). Stay connected with your friends and loved ones by Facetiming, Skyping, Zooming, calling, or even texting. Social distancing is just about physical distance – you can still stay connected with your friends, family, and colleagues. Spend some time talking to people who are positive influences when you are feeling stressed. 

5. Talk to a Student Support Advisor

At Sprott Shaw, we offer the My Student Support Program (My SSP) for students to access online resources and talk with student support advisors. Whenever you’re feeling anxious, lonely, stressed, or burdened, you can reach out to our advisors.

Through the program, students can call or chat with an advisor at any time (24/7, 7 days of the week) to receive immediate support. Plus, it’s available in multiple languages so you can speak with an advisor in English, French, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Arabic, and Spanish.

To learn more about My SSP, click here.

We hope these tips were able to help you focus on your mental health and well-being. Take care, stay connected, and stay safe. Together, we will get through this.

Need assistance?

Our advisors are happy to answer any questions.

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