There’s a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, but as people begin to get vaccinations, that light is still a ways off. And there’s no question: The events of 2020 have taken a toll on many of us.

If your stress level is higher than normal—or you’re still dealing with some direct fallout from coronavirus in your life—it’s important that you take care of your mental health. Doing so will equip you to navigate the challenges that come your way and keep a positive attitude.

Here Are a Few Tips:

Keep a Good Routine

It sounds simple and it is! Routines create structure, give us a sense of accomplishment (boosting the mood), give you energy and help you maintain a positive outlook. In other words, they’re essential for good mental health.

Sure, regular routines have been harder to maintain these days because of the multitude of disruptions and changes caused by the COVID pandemic. At a minimum, try to wake up and go to bed around the same time, get dressed and ready, eat meals and exercise every day. Consistency is key.

Exercise

Physical activity isn’t just good for your body—it’s excellent for your mind as well. Make time for daily exercise—and if the gym isn’t your thing, take advantage of Colorado’s great weather and get outside. Go for morning and/or evening walks. Take up hiking.

Or join a fitness class (where available, and things are likely to become more available throughout the year). Although the FRCC fitness facilities are closed right now due to COVID-19, when they do reopen, these centers are convenient for days you’re on campus—and a great way to socialize too.

Get Organized

It’s a new year, and time for a fresh start. As a college student, it’s easy to get overwhelmed about the many things you have to do—but if you embrace good habits, you’re much less likely to procrastinate and slack off. Stay on top of your work and adopt a strong time management and organizational system.

Free Counseling for FRCC Students

You don’t have to navigate hard times by yourself. The mental health team at Front Range is available to you—and they are a valuable, easily accessible resource when you’re feeling overwhelmed, sad, alone or excessively worried.

Even better, did you know that FRCC students get at least six sessions per semester with a licensed therapist at no cost? Take advantage of these!

Patty Pearson, LCSW, mental health counselor at FRCC’s Larimer Campus, says that for many, talking to someone is helpful.

“College is exciting, but it also has stress—and this year, students have been dealing with more than ever before,” Pearson says. “We encourage students to talk to others, and if they don’t have anyone they feel comfortable talking with, we suggest they come in to meet with one of the college’s therapists. Whatever people are going through, pandemic related or not, it can help so much to talk. It’s exactly what we are here for.”

Other Suggestions for Managing Stress, Anxiety and Depression

Find Ways to Calm Down

That might be through meditation or deep breathing, exercise or painting. Everyone should have a few go-to strategies available when they’re not feeling themselves. The counselors at FRCC can help students figure this out too.

Know the Red Flags

An inability to get out of bed. Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed. Overall hopelessness. These feelings aren’t normal—so if and when they do arise, it’s important for you to recognize them as problematic, and acknowledge that they shouldn’t be ignored.

Take a Step

Having the self-awareness to realize that things are not right is good—but unfortunately, many stop there. Take a small next step. That might mean talking to a professor or a friend, or calling a mental health counselor for information.

“We often wish students would call us sooner than they do, because people don’t realize that the little red flags eventually add up to bigger red flags,” says Pearson. She reminds students to share how they’re feeling with someone.

FRCC Counselors Can Help with Many Other Things

One final reminder: FRCC’s mental health team can connect students with resources outside the realm of counseling to deal with issues such as food insecurity and financial difficulties. 

Make this the best year possible by putting YOU first. Take care of yourself, and when you know you need help with that, contact someone at FRCC’s mental health team.

Here’s how to reach them:

FRCC Westminster Campus

Becky Lane-Ramsey – email Becky or call (303) 404-5289

FRCC Larimer Campus

Kathleen Strong – email Kathleen or call (970) 204-8210

Patty Pearson – email Patty or call (970) 204-8210

FRCC Boulder County Campus

Meet the team at Boulder County Campus and learn more about counseling.

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