The reality is that every person will sometimes feel down.
The overcast and cold weather of the winter alone is known to change moods for the worse. Among students, perhaps it can come from the academic and social demands that college brings. It is not uncommon that when dealing with mental health issues, problems may resurface for a time. Maybe, they can arise separately from these things, as all people are truly different. Because of this reality, Concordia Wisconsin has its bases covered for your wellbeing, and maintains a priority of keeping a healthy and happy student body. There are many resources and uplifting activities ingrained in our culture to support students’ peace of mind. These outlets are always just one step away.
Here are six things you can do here at CUW when you’re feeling blue.
1) Make an appointment at the Counseling Center
The services of CUW’s counseling center have been best explained for me by one of our four readily available counselors, David Enters, MS, CICSW. He gives the assurance that feeling down is perfectly normal and part of being human. Sometimes time and rest can help. It is when an issue persists, he says, that getting professional help is a wise thing to do. Along with the other counselors, he has a clinical background, but notes that the potential issues that come with being a student are not necessarily always clinical. The categories of common issues counseling can help include adjusting to college life, developmental issues ( i.e. interpersonal skills, managing conflict and relationship struggles), and crisis- bereavement, traumatic events, and other conflicts that arise and can make life difficult. Each of these areas present different challenges and many students find great benefit in receiving counseling.
Enters also explains the role of our psychiatric nurse practitioner, a unique professional to have on hand among all universities. She is able to help students who require psychiatric medication handle this in a timely manner. Many students have trouble consulting with their usual doctor while away for school and sadly let too much time go by to get the assistance they need. Enters credits the diligent support of CUW’s administration for making sure that CUW students have these resources to be healthy, happy, and successful on our campus.
For any questions about the Counseling Center, pick up a brochure at the center in Albrecht Room 111 or visit their webpage.
2) Attend a Bible study
A small group of any sort can be great in difficult times because of the ability to relate to others and share your experiences. I’ve found that Bible studies, for which there are over twelve major groups that meet on campus, combine this trait and a glimpse of a comfort through faith that has a depth beyond our understanding. I spoke to Maria Revels, leader of Revival, a successful Bible study on campus, about the messages shared in gatherings like hers and what she would wish to share with someone going through a difficult time.
“I’d want them to know God is a healer. There is so much peace and hope found in Him. He promises to go through everything with us.” I asked the softball question of who is welcome to come to a Bible study. Her answer was of course everyone: skeptics, unbelievers, those of varying denominations and religions, and Christians alike.
CUW also has endless opportunities to engage in prayer and worship for this same outlet- with our weekly Divine Service in the chapel, Haven on Sunday nights, nightly Compline services, and as many other meetings and spiritually-minded people as you are willing to find.
To see all of our worship and ministry opportunities, visit the Christian Life webpage.
3) Pay a visit to our comfort dogs
CUW’s not one, but two comfort dogs keep spirits high as they walk through the halls with their handlers. Concordians enjoy petting and even just looking at them as they go by. They help ease the absence of our pets at home. Animals can bring us so much joy. Zoey and Sage the comfort dogs can be found in the populated parts of the school where their handlers bring them to brighten everyone’s day.
They are also an incredible help in therapy sessions. The comfort dog service just happens to also be overseen by David Enters. For this reason he is the self-proclaimed “top dog”. He discusses their use in treating trauma. I learned that when treating PTSD, a goal is to put a client in a relaxed state for them to be able to discuss traumatic events. Zoey has been at the school since 2014 and has been dramatically useful in helping students become calm during sessions. Zoey and Sage the comfort dogs are therapists in their own right, as students sometimes choose to schedule appointments to spend quality time with just them. Whether through appointment or just in passing, be sure to say hello.
4) Go to an event or activity
Everyone copes with changes in mood differently. Sometimes it is easy to withdraw or isolate ourselves, but simply getting out and applying yourself to an activity and putting your focus on something you enjoy can turn things around. You may just surprise yourself when you remember after some time what it is like to put your focus outward.
There is no shortage of choices of things to do here, as CUW offers 45 clubs, alongside a plethora of events and activities daily for students to engage in. There is something for everyone- to enjoy a favorite activity, to spend time with others, to make something, or to get the body moving. All of these can give you a broader perspective of what you can do to cope with negative feelings and which things you enjoy or find meaning in.
5) Reach out to a friend
Nobody, and I do mean nobody, should have to go through negative feelings alone. I guarantee that there are countless fellows here to befriend and talk to. CUW has a culture of kind students that wish to see each other do their best. For advice or just someone to listen, talking to a friend can do wonders for resolving whatever troubles you. This is not exclusive to just your fellow students either, as our staff and faculty carry the same attitude. There’s rarely a walk through the halls without being greeted by a few friends. You continue to meet new people- during your classes, your meals, you name it, and you will cherish being able to get to know at least some of them.
6) Get active
It is very evident that exercise can have fantastic benefits for your mood and feelings of well being. These include both short-term and long-term factors to put your mind and body in a good place. You don’t have to be a student athlete to fit in some quality exercise on campus. The weight room is open to all students and features cardio and weight equipment to help you complete the best workout for you. They say that the best exercise is the one that you’ll do, and I believe there’s truth to that. Maybe getting in the occasional walk or jog around campus is more your style. Actually, this idea may be especially good as getting outside can get you the sunlight and Vitamin D we all need. Consider running our beautiful bluff to take in the scenery as well, and your exercise experience can be incredibly uplifting. Or, join an intramural sports team if competition and working as a team is what gets you going.
Check out the Involvement and Activities webpage for details about the fitness center and more.
As with all things to help you cheer up on campus, the opportunities are limitless- it is simply a matter of finding what works best for you.
— Kai Goldenstein is a student writer and senior year Social Work major, minoring in German
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