In talking with student organizers about the College’s Mental Health Week, which is March 29-April 2, Michelle Alexander and Kadisia Archer realized there was a greater need. So they helped put together a series of self-care sessions in April called “Good Vibes: Self-care and COVID: Managing Pandemic Fatigue.”
“This year has been difficult,” said Alexander, an assistant professor of Health, Physical Education and Wellness. “There was a series of student meetings and they were talking about stress, so SGA (Student Government Association) really wanted to do something to respond to that. We’re looking at exploring ways people can reduce stress through important self-care steps.”
The series will be held Tuesdays in April, all over Zoom and from noon-1 p.m. Topics will cover how to managing stress, how better eating habits and exercise help relieve stress, and relaxation tips to battle stress. Archer, Thomas Nelson’s Student Activities Director, said each session will include a question-and-answer period. Alexander noted the sessions will be interactive and “help students think about how they can enhance their personal wellness by adopting some of these self-care strategies.”
There has been a shift in wellness, according to Alexander. It used to be about finding balance, but now it’s about finding harmony.
“We’re not always going to achieve balance,” she said. “It’s almost impossible for us to be able to focus equally on the different areas of our wellness. But if you can find a place of harmony, meaning that you’re focusing on those areas that are important at that time.”
Students might be so busy with schoolwork that they forget about exercise, but finding even small amounts of time is beneficial.
“It doesn’t have to be a complete balance,” Alexander said. “But still taking care of our mind, body and spirit.”
She’s excited because the advice being offered has proved to be successful.
“The literature supports those are solid strategies for taking care of yourself,” Alexander said. “Individuals who are able to incorporate those strategies into their lives find that they have not just physical health benefits, but mental health benefits as well.”
While the four hourlong sessions surely will cover a lot of material and offer many tips, Alexander doesn’t expect students to remember everything, or work everything into their daily routine.
“My hope is that if they come to the sessions, they find one thing that can help them to relieve some of the stress they’re feeling at this point in time,” she said. “I’m not looking for people to overhaul their lives. … It’s baby steps. Is there one small thing that you can try that will just make the feeling of stress a little bit better?”
Here is the schedule:
April 6: “Making a Plan to Manage Stress.” Dr. Valerie Burge-Hall, Associate Professor and Department Chair of Health, Physical Education and Wellness.
April 13: “Mindful Eating: Making Nutrition Work For You.” Michelle Alexander.
April 20: “Physical Fitness: Moving more for Mind and Body.” Todd Barker, baseball coach.
April 27: “Self-Care Through Sleep and Relaxation.” Amy Anderson, Associate Professor and Department Chair of Legal Studies.