You are here

Tips for maintaining your mental and physical well-being

Published March 26, 2020

The campus is quiet, and Zoom and alternative education are a new part of our daily lives as Cal State Long Beach adheres to the Safer-at-Home order. Yet in these trying times, there are many campus online resources that can provide mental and physical boosts for students, faculty and staff, who are studying and working on or off campus.

Students who are experiencing anxiety about staying inside can seek help on the Counseling and Psychological Services website. CAPS offer telehealth counseling as well as guidelines for crises and emergencies to help maintain a healthy mindset. Facutly and staff can find help through the Faculty & Staff Assistance Program, a free confidential resource offered by CAPS.

“I think it is very important to be socially connected with someone who cares about you and whom you care about in a time like this when we are asked to be physically distant from others to prevent and slow down the spread of COVID-19,” said Bongjoo Hwang, director of CAPS.

“It would be helpful to have a routine check-in and touch base with the people who the students are connected to.”

The center’s on-call services are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. If anyone needs to talk to a counselor after hours, they can still call and talk to a counselor on the phone. All services will be done either on the phone or Zoom. CAPS will begin taking new students in April; faculty and staff can reach the office if they have questions about mental health issues, or check the CAPS website for available services, which will be updated periodically.

Hwang said to help stay mentally healthy, a person should:

  • Keep things in perspective. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that the news coverage on this issue does not necessarily mean there is a threat to you or your family.
  • Get the facts. Find a credible source you can trust. The following websites are credible sources to get the most updated information about COVID-19
  • Communicate with children. Parents and caregivers can help reduce stress in children by focusing on routines and schedules.
  • Stay connected. Maintain social networks. Talking with friends and family can foster a sense of normality and provide outlets for sharing your thoughts and feelings, and relieve stress.
  • Seek additional help. If you are feeling overwhelmed, sad or any other prolonged reaction that adversely affects your studies, job, relationships or daily functions (eating, sleeping, brushing your teeth), consult a trained mental health professional, such as a counselor from CAPS.
  • Have a regular schedule of activities. Associated Students, Inc. offers suggestions, while some students have taken to their social media accounts to keep students active.

Nick Duran, a graduate student counselor at Project OCEAN, a mental health program, offers weekly yoga sessions on his Instagram account. He has practiced various types of yoga for 23 years and recently began teaching the discipline.

“For me, teaching becomes a way to implement the self-care I need most,” he said. “Hopefully, it is useful to others as well. That's why I decided to record this. It came from a desire to feel connected in this time we are apart. Connected to my mind and body and connected to one another.”

He said he routinely checks in with his peers in Project OCEAN, as well as classmates in his grad program.

“Keeping in contact is really helping me through this adjustment. That and having a schedule – although it may not always be easy to follow -- it helps keep track of time and tasks,” Duran said. “It feels good knowing I've been even a little bit productive. Every small task counts. Rest and relaxation count too! We are learning how to be alone and together at the same time.”

Although the Student Recreation and Wellness Center currently is closed through March 31, there are several classes that are being taught online.

The university’s Basic Needs Program is open and helping students who are experiencing food, housing and/or financial insecurity during this time. Students can apply by filling out the Basic Needs form.

Associated Students, Inc. also has offered tips on what students could do in between their classes to stay busy at home. These include:

  • Cooking: Preparing meals can be a lifelong skill.
  • Learning a new language: A foreign language can enhance responsiveness and decision-making skills.
  • Meditation: A mindful routine can decompress your mind and be in an emotional balance.
  • Reading: A good book can broaden your perspective.
  • Color, draw, paint: Art can fuel your creative fire and awaken senses.

“Having some structured regular schedule of activities, which include meeting via social media or some technology, will be helpful,” Hwang said. “It depends on the person’s personality as well. If you are an extrovert, you may need more social interaction than someone who is an introvert.

“However, in a time like this, feelings of being alone and loneliness will strike everyone on varying degrees.”