Article: Sarah Kurbanov ’21 | Photos: Jenna Daly ’21
Support from the Counseling Center
Wake up. Read the news through bleary eyes. Sigh and regret it—why does it seem like there are always so many things out there to be upset about? Hurriedly grab something for breakfast because even though classes now start at 9:30 (how great is that?!), it is still somehow just as easy to be running late. Don’t forget a mask! Is that a caffeine headache I’m feeling? Or could it be the virus? With the start of the day comes a barrage of emotional and mental stimulation. Then its classes, meetings, meals, athletics—and the business doesn’t help anyone relax. Eventually, it is back to bed again, and the day feels like a blur as it merges with the next. During these anxiety-inducing times, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by an abundance of information, changes to the usual way of life, and our own emotional responses to what we see and hear both immediately around us and through our ever-present technology. To get some insight on how we can take better care of ourselves, and to find out what Suffield is doing to support the well-being of its community, I spoke with our Director of Counseling, Mrs. Londraville.
What is the first step to understanding and coping with anxiety we feel around the pandemic?
Firstly, it is important to normalize uncertainty – give yourself grace, because it is normal to be reacting to abnormal things abnormally. What we are going through right now is definitely not normal for anybody, and our normal coping skills are not accessible to us right now. It is ok to feel overwhelmed, and it is important to recognize our reactions to what is going on around us.
What would be your advice for members of our community on how they can take better care of themselves?
Not being able to compete in sports feels like a curveball to students, but our physical health is directly tied to our mental health, so it is very important to still be exercising. Moving your body in some way, be that running, biking, walking or something else, is as effective as meditation. Finding a way to stay connected is also very important. If you have a concern and talk to someone else about it, you might feel better having aired it out, and they might feel better as well if they have similar feelings. Lastly, give yourself screen breaks and find creative ways of not being bored. Find time to do something that makes you feel good.
What is the Counseling Center doing to support the community right now?
Our intention is to set up meetings with everyone to check in with our counselors, to get a pulse on everybody, which feels like a necessity right now with the pandemic. Our aim is to introduce ourselves and take the edge off of meeting the counselors if it is for the first time. Now with easy access to Teams, that is a pressure-free option. It is a real bonus to students to access the support at Suffield.
What would you say to a student who is anxious about visiting the Counseling Center?
If it is a meeting in person, have a friend or advisor walk you down if you are anxious. There is something and somebody for everybody in the Counseling Center. Even if you just need a mental health moment, you can use the Counseling Center as a space away from others.
Is there a general message the Counseling Center would like to get across to the community?
Our message is that we are here for everything, for all aspects of mental health. We want to de- stigmatize needing to talk to someone. Having a conversation helps both parties, because we all need each other. That is how we can make the world a better place.