Dear Ivy

A message from Ivy about dealing with pandemic unease


Hey Patriots,

Stress can manifest in many ways, big or small. The expected stress of college is only intensified when coupled with the anxiety that comes with living through a global pandemic. Here are some tips to help alleviate these feelings. 

Many students are stressed due to the transition to online classes, and having to adapt to a new learning style. It can be difficult to have to suddenly take Zoom classes, or to keep up with asynchronous classes. Whenever you ever feel overwhelmed, remind yourself that it is healthy to take breaks. You can unwind with some music, some reading or maybe a short walk. 

One technique that is helpful for me is the Pomodoro method. With this method, for every 25 minutes of work, take a five minute break. This gives you some time to de-stress during a busy work session. The longer you work, the likelier it is you will fall into that haze of doing nothing and reading the same line over and over. By taking a break, you’re giving your brain a much-needed recess to get right back to work. 

Fourth Estate/Billy Ferguson

Going along with that method of self-care, this is also a time to keep your connections to others strong. Remind yourself to message your friends, maybe plan a Netflix watch party or just find a few minutes to tell them about your day. Keeping those meaningful connections with your loved ones is incredibly important — arguably more important that any grade — during this time of distance. 

Another major fear that students are dealing with are all the uncertainties. There are several questions as to what Mason is going to look like next year. Questions about tuition, on-campus living, classes and more are in the air.The health and safety of all students and workers is on everyone’s minds. 

And while we do not know many of the answers to questions like these, something we can do is take action. This could mean sending a contact form to the Office of the President, attending student government meetings or speaking to your advisors about what next semester could possibly look like.

Finally, the stress that comes with receiving the dreaded positive diagnosis of COVID-19 can also be unhealthy. 

Not only are Mason’s own students at risk when it comes to the virus, but our loved ones are as well. We now live in a world where even going out to get groceries can be a dangerous trip, especially with people who refuse to wear a mask. It’s like tip-toeing through a minefield while others are purposefully trying to push you over along the way. 

What has helped me avoid stress about this situation is understanding that all we can do is react properly. As long as you are doing what you can to social distance, limit who you come in contact with and respond to a positive diagnosis accordingly, you can keep the peace of mind that you are doing the best you can. 

Stay safe out there!


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