Supporting Your Well-being

During Times of Difficulty — April 15th, 2020 Edition

Dear community,

As always, we hope you are well and that you are continuing to find new ways to grow, adapt, show yourself grace, and support one another. Today's newsletter features another insightful article from Aisha Ahmad regarding happiness and productivity during disaster conditions, tools for visiting Ithaca virtually, Cornell Minds Matter's new "Grow With Me!" series, a way to keep yourself moving with free Facebook Live fitness classes, and a fun recommendation for embracing nature from the Icelandic Forestry Service.

Wishing you wellness,

The Skorton Center for Health Initiatives at Cornell Health

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Productivity and Happiness Under Sustained Disaster Conditions

This article by Aisha S. Ahmad speaks to the stages of processing we may find ourselves in as we adapt to life during a pandemic. Having lived and worked through many disaster conditions herself, Ahmad shares valuable insight on how to embrace radical acceptance and protect your mental health and emotional resilience during times of enduring crisis.

Visit Ithaca Virtually

Whether you're away from Ithaca right now or quarantining indoors, you may be missing Cornell's campus and Ithaca's natural scenery. Fortunately, Visit Ithaca offers virtual waterfall experiences as well as virtual experiences of Cornell's campus, including an aerial tour and a virtual archive of the Johnson Art Museum's collections. Enjoy scenes of the many beautiful local natural areas and revisit Cornell's campus from your own home.

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Cornell Minds Matter's "Grow With Me!" Series

CMM will now be offering a weekly Zoom series: Grow with Me! In this series, each week will feature a new activity - whether it be baking, arts and crafts, dancing or cooking that participants can watch or participate along with the event leader(s)! The series will happen on Wednesday evenings at 6 PM, starting the week of April 8th. Participation is on a weekly drop-in basis.

For April 15th - Grow with Me presents: Knitting with Milena! Join Milena for a knitting lesson - she will be knitting a scarf! Feel free to follow along or just watch and learn. All skill levels are welcome!

List of knitting needle alternatives:

April 15th Zoom registration link:

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Free Facebook Live Workouts: Jazzercise on Demand

Looking for more ways to keep your body moving and dance some of your stress away? Jazzercise On Demand is offering free virtual classes via Facebook live, and previous workout videos are archived on their page to enjoy whenever fits your schedule. All you need is a clear space, water, and your dancing feet — no 80's fitness attire required!

Bright Spot:

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Icelandic Forest Service Recommends Hugging Trees While You Can’t Hug Others

During this time of physical distancing, the Icelandic Forestry Service is encouraging people to embrace nature — literally! While we may be unable to hug our friends or family right now, they recommend finding comfort by hugging trees to reap the restorative benefits of feeling connected to nature and taking a few minutes to calm your mind. Of course, they caution parkgoers not to all hug the same tree and park rangers have marked intervals of over six feet so visitors can ensure they are keeping proper distance from others. It may feel silly at first, but going out into your yard to embrace a favorite tree or taking a moment to lay in the grass and feel the earth beneath you can help you feel grounded and refocus your energy on the present moment.

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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.