From Your Campus Mental Health Providers | Things to remember as 2020 draws to a close

With the stresses of finals week and the holidays, University of Iowa staff give a few reminders on how to keep yourself stable.


Hayden Froehlich

The University Counseling Services office is seen in the Old Capital Mall on Monday, February 17, 2020.

As 2020 comes to a close, your University of Iowa campus mental health providers want to thank you for persevering this semester, given the COVID pandemic, racialized violence, and political tensions that have affected how we previously worked, taught, practiced, socialized, and studied.  We wish you continued health, well-being, and safety and offer a few things to practice as we prepare to welcome a new year.

You may wish for a return to “normal.”

  • So much has changed and so it is important to imagine your new and changed world and what you will do to navigate the changes that will be more permanent.

Leaning into the new future takes strength.

  • You have persevered this far, because of your own resilience and grit, and your use of community and family. You can and will make it even further.

Feeling badly doesn’t mean you are doing badly.

  • Just because you feel badly about the many disappointments and losses you may be experiencing, does not mean you have a mental health problem. Struggling with motivation, productivity, and other things can be normal reactions to managing more these days!

Filter out the sea of media information.

  • If you cannot learn the news in 30-minutes or less each day, it is not worth knowing that day. Give yourself a break.

Who is in your “first line of defense?”

  • Professionals are great to seek help from, but you may have a support network already and turning to the people who know you best can be a first line of defense when you need support.

It is okay to not be okay with how things are now.

  • If you are struggling emotionally, remember the world is in true turmoil and you may be simply reacting to that. You can still be okay even when the world is not.  You do not have to like any of this.

Destigmatize your reactions.

  • Consider that you may be feeling stressed, sad, and/or angry about things that are stressful, sad, and angering. There is no need to necessarily label your reactions as a disorder.

This is temporary and will pass.

  • Perspective is hard to keep during unprecedented challenging times, but remember you have come this far and the days will once again get longer, and the weather will once again get warmer. You have done this and you can do this!

Know when to ask for help.

—Maggie Moore (EAP), Kelly Clougher (UCS), Barry Schreier (UCS)