Health & Counseling Center News
Spring Term 2016: Summer Self-Care Edition
Making it through finals and to summer break can be one of the most relieving things for any college student. You have made your way through another academic year and are rewarded with a break from school to recharge, relax, and catch up on much needed sleep!
However, making constant shifts can be challenging. Regardless of how well you tolerate transition and manage stress, making the shift to college, back home, and back to college again can be challenging. There are many things you can do to make any transition smoother and ensure that you are appropriately coping with stress.
Challenges You May Encounter During Break
Being out of your normal routine
In college, you likely developed a routine or schedule that you followed on a daily basis. This might have helped you keep motivated and productive. While you are at home or traveling, be conscientious about how you are feeling, both mentally and physically. If you are feeling sluggish or unmotivated, check in on your routine. It may need to be tweaked.
Exposure to increased stressors
As you settled into your college life, you have likely made new friends who have become your family away from home. Hopefully, you have also created a network of supporters who have helped you cope with stress. Sometimes, visiting home or seeing old friends can trigger emotions you may have not been exposed to for a long time. Holidays and celebrations might also bring about more chaos, stress, or anxiety. Put your positive coping skills to use when you recognize a trigger and practice working through hard emotions or stressors you might experience.
Separation from primary support group
Is your primary support group on or around your college campus? This may include your therapist or counselor, faculty/staff, medical doctor, mentors and friends. If you regularly meet with your support team, it can be challenging to take a break from a regular treatment schedule or interaction.
Take Care of Yourself
Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider prior to returning home! It is never a bad idea to have a physical check-up after returning home.
Also, if there is something you wish to discuss with your doctor, SPEAK UP! Write down any questions you have before your appointment to make sure you are prepared and your questions will get answered.
Meet with your provider before returning to Knox as well! This will ensure that your health is up to date and that you will have the prescriptions you need for when you return.
Receiving counseling while at home
Mental health does not take breaks! If you find that you are having difficulty adjusting or are experiencing distressing symptoms, seeking therapy in your hometown area may be beneficial.
There are several ways to find a therapist. One would be to check your insurance for providers that are in-network. Also, your primary care physician may be able to refer you as well. In the event that you do not have insurance, many agencies offer a sliding scale fee. Sliding scale fees are variable prices for services based on your ability to pay. Also, outpatient counseling may be offered at your nearby hospital. If this is an option, check to see about any charity care or financial aid benefits that may be available.
Once you have found the right agency or therapist for you, contact them prior to leaving Knox. Many agencies and therapists, especially psychiatrists, have waiting lists that may consist of a few weeks to a few months. By making your appointment prior to returning home, you won’t have to wait as long to get in once you do return home. The same is true for when you return to Knox.
There are several things you can do to remain productive and stress-free!
• Reach out to old friends from home
• Get a job/internship or volunteer (this can serve as a resume booster as well!)
• Learn a new skill or take up a new hobby
• Do things you have been putting off
• Make a schedule to avoid that “lost” feeling
• Eat regularly, drink water, and get plenty rest
• Keep in touch with your Knox support system
• Increase the amount of time you spend outdoors