Fall 2022 Counseling Corner Newsletter
Issue 4: Fall 2022
Gear Up and Go, be ready to roll into a new school year
It’s time to get ourselves together, start back up, and ring in another school year. We started recovering from the pandemic last semester, now it is time to use our momentum to leap forward and recover lost ground. What are some steps to take in preparation?
Being more organized is a good start. Organization is more than planning. Being organized is a way to stay more relaxed, completing tasks without having to rush. Organization is a critical component of self care when life becomes complicated. Remember how stressed you were, that time you didn’t have your ducks in a row for that important task or event!
The more organized I am, the less I have to fret about things such as; where do I have to be, when I need to be there, what I need to have with me, what I need completed, and when I need to have it done. Multiply this by all the different classes, meetings, work shifts, etc. and you can see how your mind quickly becomes cluttered with worries, causing anxiety to rise to unpleasant or even crippling levels.
The first step is to “get it out of your head and onto a piece of paper.” If you have everything listed, prioritized, and added into your schedule, you don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night and worry about what you forgot to complete. Get in the habit of carrying a small pad or place (your phone?) to record things immediately (so you don’t forget). Give each item a one-three priority number and add the ones and twos to your schedule first, to make sure critical things don’t fall behind less important ones. Make sure to schedule at least one time per day to review your list/s and add items to your schedule. Transfer unlisted or uncompleted items to each new list. Break down large tasks into small steps to reduce overwhelm, and always add a little extra time to allow for the unexpected. Repeat until graduation!
Self Care Skill
Having a strong social support system is an important component of good self-care. Humans are social animals, and social networks are critical for our well-being, even survival. The human nervous system is designed to co-regulate by relying on others for support when stressed. For some of us, those who have some history of social anxiety in particular, our social support system might have contracted, during the recent pandemic.
After two years of being secluded, during lockdowns and self-imposed isolation when more infectious variants popped up, it is going to take some time to re-adjust to social situations. We may find ourselves feeling uncomfortable, or even overwhelmed in certain situations, that used to feel safe and familiar.
Recognize that you might need to practice your social skills to get back to where you were previously. Move toward situations that are challenging for you, to refresh your skills. Reestablish connections with previous contacts and place yourself in social situations that will rebuild your support system. You’ll be glad you did!
This Month's Mental Health Q&A
What is the best thing to calm down quickly, when I feel overwhelmed, like before a test or presentation in class?
When humans are anxious, agitated, or upset, the brain signals the adrenal glands to secrete stress chemicals into the blood-stream. This causes rapid heartbeat, fast and shallow breathing, tense muscles, and racing thoughts (reducing focus and concentration). Oxygen is what breaks down those chemicals in your system. Breathing in a way that delivers more oxygen, causes these chemicals break down faster, slowing heart rate, breathing, and slows the racing thoughts (like a “restart button”).
The 4X4 Breathing technique is simple. Only 4 complete breaths, count to 4 with each in-breath and count to 4 with each out-breath. Breath normally for a few minutes after and feel the results. You can do it multiple times if needed, but always breath normally for a few minutes between times. You will notice a rapid deceleration of problematic anxiety, tension, and an increase in ability to concentrate.
Anita's Mental Health Tip
College is an exciting, but scary time so I would like to offer a few tips on finding your way. Get organized, don’t procrastinate, go to class, network, study well, take advantage of resources, meet your professors, cultivate experiences, and take care of yourself.
Roger's Mental Health Tip
With all that you have on your to do list, it is challenging to find time to unwind. You don’t need a week on the beach to feel restored. Take mini-breaks for yourself during your busy days. Stopping for a few minutes to walk around outside, look at the sky, and take a few deep breaths can help you go back to the tasks at hand with a more relaxed perspective. Make room for relaxation, you deserve it!
We are here for you!
BCTC Counseling Services offers free short-term confidential time-limited counseling and crisis services for all BCTC students. Something as simple as talking to someone can help you feel better, improve your grades and manage stress. We will talk with you, help you identify solutions for support, and connect you with those services at BCTC or in the community.
Personal counseling services are free and confidential for all registered BCTC students. We are available to assist students with handling a variety of issues that may or may not be classroom related.
Anita Nelums, M.Ed., LPCA
Director of Counseling Services
Roger Pearson, MSW, LCSW