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Mason Resources: Maintain Your Well-Being during a Time of Uncertainty

April 29, 2020

By Sydney Glass

With so much uncertainty in our day-to-day and the end of the semester steadily approaching, it is easy to become overwhelmed. The Mason community recognizes that this is a difficult and challenging time and has worked together to transform many of the student support services to a virtual format. In addition, online resources, events, and programs related to well-being have been created to provide support during the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. We want you all to know that you are not alone, and we will overcome this together. To learn more about the available opportunities and ways to maintain your well-being at Mason, read below.

Mental Well-Being: Those of us in grad school are no stranger to stress and anxiety as it is a normal part of experiencing the increasing demands of a graduate program and/or degree. However, with the many changes in our academic and personal lives associated with COVID-19, these feelings have been heightened for many of us. If you know me or are a regular to the Mason Grad Insider, you know that I enjoy and encourage meditation and mindfulness practices as a form of self-care. In times of crisis, it is important not to forget about your well-being as you cannot function and respond at your best if you are not feeling like your best self. Research shows that practicing mindfulness has a number of benefits including but not limited to reduced stress, improved ability to focus, improved working memory, and even better emotional control and response.[i] I have listed a couple of Mason resources that will help increase your overall mental health and well-being while providing a sense of community.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is offering all counseling and crisis services virtually at this time; you can call the CAPS office at 703-993-2380 to connect with a counselor. CAPS also offers virtual mental health workshops every day of the week if you want to work on mindfulness practices and/or ways to manage your stress during this time.

  • Mindfulness Workshops: Mondays at 1:30pm and Thursdays at 3:00pm
  • Managing Stress Workshops: Tuesdays at 3:00pm, Wednesdays at 1:30pm, and Fridays at 1:30pm

You can also check out Therapy Assistance Online (TAO), which provides self-help and well-being support to the Mason community. It is a confidential, 24/7 web-based service, which is great for anyone looking for more individualized resources.

Physical Well-Being: Taking care of your mental health is only one part of maintaining your well-being. If you truly want to be at your absolute best, you have to consider your physical well-being as well. I am sure the majority of us have heard of or had someone tell us about the importance of staying physically active. This could not be truer given that we now spend most of our day inside sitting in front of a computer. Some of the beneficial aspects of being active is that it can boost your mood (I’m sure we could all use this!), increase your energy levels, improve your cognitive function, and help you sleep better at night.[ii] To help you get started, I have provided Mason resources where you can be more physically active and engage with the Mason community all while social distancing (I know—it’s perfect!).

BurnAlong is a platform part of the university’s Well-Being Initiative that allows you to take part in hundreds of online classes covering various topics on well-being. If you have not already done so, consider signing up—for free!— with your Mason email. I promise you will not regret it!

Yoga with Pranjal: University Life SciTech is offering online yoga classes taught by their Programming Assistant Pranjal every Monday and Thursday from 2:00-3:00pm until May 14. Whether this is your first time or you are a yoga regular, this is an awesome opportunity to spend time with your fellow Mason peers, faculty, and staff in a relaxing and peaceful setting.

Mason Recreation is offering free live-streaming workouts by their own fitness instructors on Facebook Live (@GeorgeMasonRecreation) and Instagram TV (@GeorgeMasonRec); you can view the schedule for their Virtual Green Access classes. They have also curated a list of free fitness apps, online videos, and websites.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you are looking for more well-being resources at Mason, I suggest checking out the Coronavirus/COVID-19 page for the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. It features a number of great content and tips, including both its Thriving Together Well-Being Weekly and Resilience Resources Weekly posts.

Hopefully, you now know where to go for Mason’s well-being resources and will take advantage of the many opportunities out there. Remember to take it one day at a time and keep check on each other. Stay safe, grads!

Best,

Sydney


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[i] Daphne M. Davis and Jeffrey A. Hayes, “What are the benefits of mindfulness,” American Psychological Association: Monitor on Psychology 43, no. 7 (2012): 64, https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/ce-corner

[ii] “Benefits of exercise,” MedlinePlus, last modified April 20, 2020, https://medlineplus.gov/benefitsofexercise.html