Practicing self-care and wellness during COVID-19

Tips from the Johnson C. Smith University Counseling Center.

COVID-19 has caused many people including college students to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about the future.  All of us in our JCSU community are experiencing a myriad of emotions, feelings, and stress related to changing events, circumstances, and the impact of our daily lives.  Faculty, Staff, and Students are redirecting personal goals, visions, and mission statements while simultaneously considering the effects on family members, friends, and personal safety.  This extraordinary social context produces tension, anxiety, and a grappling that often is difficult and cumbersome to articulate. The shift to all remote (online) classes and disturbance in campus housing can foster many to question, second guess, and struggle with belief. 

In addition, many are wondering what will happen or what you can do about the rich, vibrant, and meaningful campus connections and relationships that you have cultivated during your tenure at JCSU. Further, some are processing academic and financial standing within this global pandemic. This is the time to take intentional steps to guard your mental health and implement wellness in your daily praxis.  The Counseling Center at JCSU stands with you currently and encourages self-care as we all make the necessary adjustments to secure balance and meaning.   

There are several things that you can do to keep your mental health strong, vibrant, and positive. JCSU Counseling Center recommends: 

  • Change is a part of life. Accept that life has changed. However, there are new opportunities for growth. Be creative in how you approach this new normal. 
  • Practice good hygiene. Wash hands often. Follow CDC’s Recommendations for Safety Protocols.
  • Take care of your body. Your physical health improves with daily exercise and healthy eating.
  • Find creative ways to stay connected. Although we are experiencing social distancing there are new forms of connectivity that are beneficial. 
  • Allow for rest. Adequate sleep allows the body to revive itself in stressful times. 
  • Journal how you feel and allow for new perspective to form.
  • Talk with trusted family and friends. 
  • Unwind- Find activities that you enjoy with one or two persons.
  • Monitor your self-talk. Affirm yourself and pursue positive thoughts.  Action often cures Fear. 
  • Take pride in your academic pursuits.
  • Read books for fun and pleasure. Listen to inspirational music that produces calm. 
  • Practice deep breathing and meditation exercises.
  • Seek peace through your faith tradition.
  • Harness the coping skill of being a non-anxious presence.
  • Help others in need through servant leadership. 

Please avoid the following during the Pandemic of COVID 19:

  • Alcohol and Drug Use- Long-term these substances do not numb uncertainty and can lead to new challenges such as SUD- Substance Use Disorder. 
  • Large Gatherings- COVID 19 is highly contagious and the probability of spreading is increased with activity with numerous people.
  • Other stresses that may trigger unhealthy practices. 
  • Over consumption of news/media/social media outlets that produce increased anxiety about COVID-19.
  • Symptomatic people with a cough and fever. 
  • Negative self-talk about events, situations, and circumstances that you cannot control.
  • Fear that paralyzes action and behavior that is productive and healthy.
  • Avoid feelings of helplessness and the desire to quit or give up.
  • Procrastination regarding academic assignments.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a helpful website that educates, informs, and provides detail information on COVID-19. This comprehensive site provides information about the virus, what to do if you test positive, and coping strategies related to COVID 19.  Please share with family and friends.

If you desire to schedule a tele-therapy session with one of our three JCSU Mental Health Professional, please contact the Counseling Center at 704.378.1044 or

Also, please visit our self-assessment pages for additional information on mental health.