Natalia Velásquez, M.S., Outreach Coordinator || Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)
Whether this is the first semester of your freshman year or your last “first” semester here at Florida Tech, the start of any new experience can be an exciting, and sometimes stressful, adjustment for anyone. Currently, you might be adjusting to moving away from home, learning how to use Zoom for an online class, wearing a mask in the hallway, making new friends “at a distance” or virtually, and many other adjustments.
Regardless of the new experience, it is important to not judge yourself and practice self-care during periods of adjustment. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to adjust to any new experience, as each adjustment period varies in severity and duration. Coping effectively with adjustment may take trial and error. Adjustment may look different from person to person, and that is completely normal.
A beneficial way to begin effectively coping with any kind of adjustment is to take some time to bring awareness to what you might be adjusting to and how this may be affecting you in the present moment, specifically noticing any thoughts, feelings, or bodily sensations that may arise. You might experience thoughts such as “I cannot learn over the computer,” feelings such as worry and nervousness, and sensations such as shortness of breath.
During these times, it can be helpful to take a few deep breaths and bring your full attention to your breathing. Taking some time to slow down, label your experiences, and relax can help to push the “restart” button in order to help you focus on what is likely to be supportive in your adjustment process.
One essential coping strategy for any kind of adjustment is creating structure in your daily routine that includes self-care as a priority. Not only am I giving you permission to add self-care time into your agenda, but I am also encouraging you to give yourself permission to prioritize self-care in order to facilitate effective coping and to improve your psychological health.
Self-care can be identified as maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself by taking care of your mind, body, and soul through the engagement of activities that reduce stress and promote well-being. Examples of self-care activities that are beneficial for specifically coping with adjustment include connecting with friends and family (even if it’s “just via Zoom”), enjoying nature and the outdoors, exercising, cooking a healthy meal, meditating, listening to music, taking a bath, and gratitude journaling. Setting time to prioritize self-care during periods of adjustment can significantly reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as enhance overall psychological well-being.
If you find yourself having adjustment difficulties that cannot be resolved with setting routines and engaging in self-care, please reach out to someone for support. While some adjustments may be personal to you, others are likely to be shared by many. Reaching out and sharing in this common humanity can help you gain valuable support from those around you, as well as learn additional coping mechanisms that could be helpful in your adjustment. You can also reach out for professional support.
CAPS is your student counseling center that provides a variety of mental health and wellness services to assist you and other students in successfully reaching personal, academic, and career goals. Please take a moment to visit the website, Counseling And Psychological Services. Many students utilize our services, and we encourage you to do so you can be the healthiest Florida Tech Panther you can be!