Your Student Life: Being Well This Time of Year

November 30, 2022

This can be a stressful time of year.  The days are shorter and the workload greater, not to mention dealing with expectations of family and loved ones.

Ohio State has many resources to help you. Remember, it’s okay to not be okay and to ask for help. It’s also okay to offer support to others who you may see struggling. The Ohio State community is a caring community, so let’s all do our part and REACH out for ourselves and for others.

Here are some challenges you might be facing and where to go for help.

Seasonal Affective Disorder 

Many people get the “winter blues” or feel “down” when the days get shorter and then begin to feel better in the spring, with more hours of daylight. This is common and especially true if you grew up in a climate with higher average temperatures and more sun. In some cases, changes in mood are more serious and can affect how a person feels, thinks, and manages daily activities. Treatment is available for people who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder. This can be medication, vitamin D, counseling and Light Therapy. If you are concerned, talk to your doctor or with a Counselor at Student Life Counseling and Consultation Service. Consultations are available at go.osu.edu/LetsTalk

More info is here:

Seasonal Affective Disorder (nih.gov) 

Seasonal Affective disorder | Emotional Fitness (osu.edu) 

 

Coping with feelings of isolation 

This time of year can produce feelings of loneliness, especially among young people. Feeling lonely can increase symptoms of depression and over time, worsen cognitive function.  

Coping with Loneliness and Isolation | Emotional Fitness (osu.edu) 

Loneliness “In a Nutshell” You Tube Video

 

Response to Current Events    

Acknowledging recent tragedies, including those on college campuses, we want to acknowledge the general sense of anger/frustration, sadness and grief. We also want to let our students know that support is available for processing and coping with distress.  

More information is online: https://ccs.osu.edu/time-and-change/coping-in-a-crisis 

 

Home for the Holidays?

Student Life’s Counseling and Consultation Service also offers virtual drop-in consultations via “Let’s Talk.”. Sessions are hosted by a diverse staff including LGBTQ and BIPOC identified clinicians. We are absolutely here for you. Go.osu.edu/letstalk   

 

 Surviving the Holidays

As we gear up for winter break, you may be excited to take time off from classes, celebrate holidays and visit family and friends. We know that for some students, this time of year can also bring up anxiety about navigating family relationships. Here are some suggestions for managing challenging family interactions over the holidays:  

  • If being around family brings up tough emotions, identify social supports that you do feel emotionally safe around and that can help regulate your emotions—this may even include pets at home! 
  • Think about your values and which boundaries are non-negotiable as well as where there may be room for compromise.
  • When in conflict, it is often helpful to express empathy for others’ emotions and perspective. Show that even if you disagree, you are listening to what they have to say, and that you expect the same respect in return.
  • Use “I” statements rather than “you” statements to express your emotions about the specific situation, e.g. “I feel frustrated when you make negative comments about my partner” rather than “You always say things like that!” 
  • Find commonalities in what both parties are hoping for, such as “We would both like to have a relaxing family dinner tonight.”
  • Be willing to step away if you start feeling over stressed. It can be helpful for both parties to take a break if emotions are running high, or if the conversation is not remaining respectful. 
  • Think about ways you can practice self-care before and/or after a challenging conversation; give yourself credit for managing something that can be both mentally and physically exhausting. 

 

Reading Day 

Be sure to take advantage of Reading Day on December 8 to get yourself in the right frame of mind for finals and the end of the semester. Student Life’s Counseling and Consultation Service is partnering with Buckeye Paws on Reading Day for a fun event. Stop by the Buckeye Bar in Thompson Library on December 8 between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to take a study break with dogs and chat with CCS staff about strategies to take good care while navigating Finals Week. Take a break, pet and relax! 

You can find more Reading Day activities online at go.osu.edu/readingday.

 

Micky M. Sharma, Psy.D.

Director, Counseling and Consultation Service
Office of Student Life