Today's Update: Wednesday, March 10

March 10, 2021

Dear Student Life Team, Most of us put a mask on just about every day. We know it can help protect ourselves and others from COVID, but it can also be good for your mental outlook.  

COVID has certainly ramped up anxiety levels for many of us at home and at work. I find it helpful to find ways, even small ones, to counter that stress.    

Student Life and the Chief Wellness Officer/College of Nursing have teamed up for a Mask On/Mood Up campaign. It involves taking simple steps that can help you reduce stress and improve your mood every time you put on a mask. 

The Mask On/Mood Up movement asks people to perform three brief, evidence-based tactics that research shows can bring calm to someone who is experiencing stress: 

  • Deep abdominal breaths using the 5-7-8 method (inhale for a count of 5, hold for a count of 7, exhale for a count of 8) 

  • Being kind to yourself through self-affirmation (say a self-affirmation out loud 10 times such as “I am calm,” “I’ve got this,” “I’m too blessed to be stressed.”) 

  • Being kind to others through gratitude (name someone you are grateful for and why, then send a message to that person expressing your gratitude) 

We are all under more stress because of the pandemic and societal issues, and Mask On/Mood Up emphasizes kindness and gratitude as one way to respond in a stressful situation. Research shows these tactics work to improve our physical and mental health by slowing heart rate and decreasing blood pressure, as well as releasing chemicals in the brain such as serotonin that help us to feel better emotionally.  

This obviously isn’t the only way to raise your mood. The university has many resources available to help cope. The Employee Assistance Program has webinars as well as audio exercises with tips on how to manage the stress and changes that are related to COVID-19. Student Life Counseling and Consultation Service also has a series of videos that are intended for students but include ideas that are useful for everyone.  

There is more about the Mask On Mood Up campaign online: There is a survey at that link, and the first 300 people to fill it out will receive a free mask provided by Student Life and Kind Columbus. It says “Be Kind” and includes a picture of Brutus. They still have supplies available, so please consider completing the survey soon.  

Wear your mask. And when you pull it on, pull your mood up. It’s a Scarlet and Great approach to stress relief.