Supporting Your Well-being

During Times of Difficulty — March 24th, 2020 Edition

Dear community,

Whether near or far, we are still a community with the shared experience of trying to adapt to this new normal. During this phase of change, it is important to remember there are things outside of our control right now, but there are many things within our control we can do to support our mental health and well-being. In the newsletter, we will share tips for supporting your well-being by engaging with nature, practicing mindfulness, and strengthening social connections, as well as resources to support your mental health. If there's a particular wellness topic you'd like us to address in a future newsletter, please feel free to reach out to us at our email addresses (listed at the end of this newsletter).

Wishing you wellness,

The Skorton Center for Health Initiatives at Cornell Health

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A Breath of Fresh Air

No matter where you're now located, whether in crisp Ithaca or the tropics, spending time outdoors and getting some fresh air can be a wonderful way to support your overall well-being! Enjoy a solitary break in nature from time to time to relax, refresh, and reset. Just be sure to mind social distancing protocol: avoid playgrounds and public facilities like restrooms, refrain from sitting on public benches, remain 6 feet away from others, and always wash your hands before and after spending time in public spaces. With these precautions in mind, you can get your daily dose of nature while minimizing health risks to yourself and others.

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Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness could be as simple as taking a full deep breath and noticing the rise and fall of your chest, feeling your feet on the ground or your back against a chair, and choosing to focus your energy on things that are within your control. You may even consider incorporating meditation into your wellness routine. If you're looking to do so, Cornell's Let's Meditate program has made the switch to virtual and you can find the schedule of upcoming Zoom meditation sessions online! You can also visit our meditation page to learn about meditation, its benefits, and follow online audio meditations.

Keep Connection Alive

Large social events and other in-person gatherings have been cancelled to help flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19, but that doesn't sentence us to social isolation. Now is the time to find new, creative ways to connect! Strengthen your social connections by video chatting with friends and family or sending a text to reconnect with an old friend. There are many resources online to help you enjoy each other's company and engage in shared activities; you could host a watch party where you all watch the same show or movie and then discuss, play an online game together (Words With Friends, anyone?), or start a virtual book club! Kindle Unlimited offers a free 30-day trial during which you can enjoy an unlimited number of books on a Kindle device or your phone, tablet or computer with the free Kindle Reading apps. Additionally, though libraries are closed, many are still offering e-books and other media online for free! Cornell also provides access to Kanopy, an online streaming service where you can enjoy indie films, documentaries, classic cinema, and more!

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Care for Coronavirus Stress & Anxiety

The website, shared by our Cornell Tech community, offers resources for dealing with a wide array of concerns including health anxiety, social isolation, finances, xenophobia, and more. It also offers a daily mantra and meditation, an "Ask a Mental Health Expert" feature, and a curated "Take a Break" page full of random, wonderful internet things to occupy your time.

Bright Spots:

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Venice's Water Crystal Clear

During quarantine, the sudden halt of tourism to Italy and the drastic drop in boat traffic within the canals has given Venice its clearest water in years. Without boats disturbing the waters and stirring up debris, the unusually calm waters have become clear enough that you can spot schools of fish swimming beneath the surface!

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Talk/Text Resources

If you find yourself struggling or in need of someone to talk to, know that you are not alone.

The following resources are here to support you:

Cornell Resources

  • Cornell Health phone consultation (24/7): 607-255-5155

Ithaca Resources (24/7)

  • Ithaca Crisisline: 800-273-8255
  • Advocacy Center (sexual/domestic violence): 607-277-5000

National Talk-Lines (24/7)

  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
  • Trevor Project hotline (LGBTQ+): 866-488-7386
  • LGBT+ National Hotline: 888-843-4564
  • TransLifeline: 877-565-8860

National Text/Chat Services

  • National Crisis Text Line: Text HELLO to 741741
  • Steve Fund crisis text line: Text STEVE to 741741 (connects you to a crisis counselor of color)
  • Trevor Project text line (LGBTQ+): Text START to 678678
  • National Suicide Prevention "Lifeline CHAT" service:

Get in Touch

  • Contact Catherine Thrasher-Carroll, Mental Health Promotion Program Director, at
  • Contact Amber Pasha, Public Health Fellow, at
  • All Cornell students, regardless of location, can access medical and mental health services through FREE telehealth appointments with Cornell Health (appointments may be offered by video, phone, or online, depending on your location and need). Our in-person services are currently limited to pre-screened COVID-19 testing and select pharmacy services. As always, please refer to the Cornell Health website for the most up-to-date information regarding our services.