From the Rhodes Student Counseling Center
2020 has been a long, tough year. We are proud to be alongside all of you nearing the end of what feels like a year of challenge and change. As we wind down the remainder of this year it feels as important as ever to take care of our physical, emotional and mental health during our upcoming break in preparation for the start of a new year. While our hope for all is an easy period of joy and rest, we also want to provide some tips and tools for coping with what may come up during the break.
As we enter into winter break and the holiday season, we want to encourage you to be intentional about your self-care. The holidays can be a time filled with joy and rest for some, and for others it can be a time of grieving or a time when you are compelled to be within the company of others who have been hurtful in the past. The break is often less structured than the academic semester and sometimes that can be challenging. Idle time can sometimes allow for feelings of unease or avoided internal troubles to surface. Take time to set expectations with yourself and others about how you’d like to spend your time over the break. Intentional planning of self-care and connection can be helpful in regaining some of the structure that feels needed during this time. As you are setting these expectations, don’t forget to prioritize your basic needs including getting adequate rest, exercise and a well-balanced diet. Keeping your body physically well is one of the first lines of defense against chronic stress, anxiety and depression. Check out the basic self-care resources at the end of this letter to assist you in your pursuit of meeting your basic needs.
Setting Boundaries with Others
Spending time with those you love can be a wonderful gift, but boundaries are important, even in the healthiest of relationships. As we grow and change, our needs and boundaries may shift as well. We want to encourage you to honor your own needs and self-care by communicating boundaries with others. Acknowledging and communicating wants and needs with others is a lifelong conversation. If you anticipate that conversation being difficult for any reason, here are some tips to set the tone for effective communication:
- Pick an appropriate time to have the conversation. It’s important that both parties are calm and prepared for an open conversation. You can always ask the other party if it’s a good time to talk.
- Use I-statements. A formula for I-statements can be “I feel _____________ when you ___________ because ______________. I want/need ____________________.” Example “I feel overwhelmed when you are asking about my post-graduate plans because I’m feeling uncertain about my options. I need more time to figure that out.”
- Take a break when needed. If you can feel that you are becoming too angry/tired/upset to continue the conversation in an assertive way, express the need to take a break and return to the conversation after you feel grounded to continue.
Mental Health and Emotional Support
The winter break can be a great time to devote time to recuperating emotionally and mentally. Prioritizing time over the break for healing and growth can set up a strong start to the spring semester.
Winter Break Support Options
Over the winter break, Rhodes students will continue to have access to Therapy Assistance Online (TAO), an anonymous online service where students can access self-help modules on a variety of emotional wellness topics. You access by registering with your Rhodes email address at www.us.taoconnect.org/register. Once registered, you can peruse the self-help modules and complete any modules that speak to your needs. Another support resource available over the break is through Protocall, a phone service that students may utilize by calling our front desk number (901-843-3128,) which is forwarded to Protocall while the office is closed. Protocall is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for emergency counseling needs and crisis evaluations. Check out additional therapy resources at the end of this page for options to begin your pursuit of healing and growth.
Preparing for Your Return to Rhodes
This winter break is going to be a long one. As such, the patterns you fall into over the break will be all the more difficult to break out of when you need to return to a more structured schedule. If your emotional wellness is best served by sleeping late and setting low expectations for your daily schedule, by all means do what is best for you! If you are dreading returning to the structure of daily classes and assignments, give yourself a two week buffer before the start of the semester to help your mind and body return to the academic setting in a gradual way: set regular sleep and wake times, cut down on napping, firm up any routines that feel important to keep as you move into the semester so that you can build your academic habits around them when you start engaging in coursework again. If you have outstanding work or obligations that need attention over the break, get them done as soon as possible so that you have the remaining portion of the break to truly disconnect and rest.
Anticipating a Spring Semester of Opportunity
The Student Counseling Center staff are planning quite a few opportunities for students to focus on taking care of their mental health during the spring semester. Please consider joining us for one or two events, or even participating in quite a few. Taking care of your mental health is important and can be a big difference maker when it comes to coping with the ongoing challenges of this time.
In addition to our clinical services, we will also be offering the following virtual workshops, wellness opportunities and support groups:
Trauma-Informed Responses on a College Campus – Wednesday, 2/10/21, at 4:00 PM
Healthy Relationships – Wednesday, 3/17/21, at 4:00 PM
Coping with Grief and Loss – Wednesday, 4/14/21, at 4:00 PM
Reoccurring Wellness Opportunities
Introduction to Mindfulness, Tuesdays at 2:00 PM
Wellness Chat, Thursdays at 3:00 PM
Counseling Center Instagram Bi-weekly Wellness Posts
Weekly Support Groups
Students who would most benefit from these groups are those looking for community with their peers in a therapeutic context; those desiring support around these topics of concern to better handle their responses in their own lives; and those willing to promote not only their own growth and change, but to also be a part of promoting that same growth and change in others. These support groups are an important and meaningful way to engage with others while increasing the "tools" with which we support our own mental and emotional health. Our spring weekly support group topics are as follows:
COPING with COVID-19
Impact of Racism
Dealing with Family
Moving through Grief or Loss
Black and Brown Student Voices at a PWI
Multicultural Stress Management
Juggling Academics, Family, and Life for First Generation Students
LGBTIQ and Impact of COVID-19
Wellness Charlas for the Latinx Student
Stress Management for the International Student
- Intuitive Eaters Holiday Bill of Rights
- Healthline: Your guide to Intuitive Eating for the Holidays
- Instagram accounts to follow for fast & budget-friendly cooking inspiration: @healthyoneminutemeals @budgetbytes
- Books for those struggling with disordered eating:
- Eating in the Light of the Moon by Anita Johnson
- Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole
- Intuitive Eating Workbook by Evelyn Tribole
- Memphis resources:
- Yoga With Adriene - a free YouTube channel with tons of yoga routines! -
- The Peloton app – for around $13 a month you can utilize this app which is most commonly known for the stationary biking program; however, the app also offers structured indoor or outdoor running routines, strength building programs, yoga, cardio HIIT programs, meditation, walking, stretching and of course biking as well.
- Pure Barre Go – for around $30 a month, you can utilize this app to engage in Pure Barre workouts from home.
- MidSouth Professional Counseling is hosting a “Taking on the Holiday Blues” group therapy opportunity. It will be held on Mondays from 6-7pm from December 7 – January 11 via telehealth. Call 901-682-6136 to find out more or sign up. Fee is $50 per group or you may choose to pursue insurance coverage. *Memphis area only*
- GriefShare hosts a free “Surviving the Holidays” program. GriefShare is nondenominational and open to people of all faiths, as well as those who do not practice a faith. You do not need to be enrolled in a GriefShare group to attend the Surviving the Holidays group. Everyone is welcome! Go to www.griefshare.org/holidays and type in your zip code to find a group near you.
- Milla’s House – Center for Good Grief – provides free grief support with individual counseling, support groups and grief workshops – *Memphis area only*
- Betterhelp.com is a service which can connect you with a virtual therapist to pursue individual therapy wherever you are. There is a fee associated with this service.