March 2, 2021
To: All Students
From: Meeta Kumar, Director of Student Counseling; Julie Edwards, Director of Health Promotion; and Jimmy Brown, Director of the Center for Leadership and Involvement
Subject: Staying Well and Reducing Stress in Winter Quarter
Date: March 2, 2021
Winter can be challenging any year, but it is especially difficult this year as we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing. It remains as important as ever to tend to your mental, emotional, and social wellbeing this winter. If you’re experiencing additional stress, anxiety, or isolation, there are resources available across campus to support you, including programs designed to foster connection with others, workshops to help with stress reduction, and mental health services for those who need additional support. We encourage you to take time to assess whether any of these resources and programs would benefit you.
Accessing Mental Health Resources
UChicago Student Wellness offers virtual therapy sessions, where you can discuss your personal concerns with a therapist. For a more informal option, students can take advantage of the virtual Let’s Talk program, which offers drop-in, confidential consultations with a counselor. Wellness programming also includes virtual workshops and support spaces to help you manage stress and anxiety, develop coping techniques, and connect with your peers; 30-minute mindfulness meditation sessions; and individual Wellness Coaching sessions to help you create a wellness vision and set goals to achieve that vision. And, as always, students with urgent concerns have 24/7 access to a therapist-on-call, who can be reached at 773.702.3625. For more information on UChicago Student Wellness services and programs, visit wellness.uchicago.edu. While some wellness programs may be full for Winter Quarter, registrations will open again during Spring Quarter. Additional resources are available in this Mental Health Resource Guide.
Spiritual Life also has a variety of self-care programs, including yoga, meditation, and chai/coffee chats. Sundays at Rockefeller is streamed every Sunday and available on demand throughout the week. This worship service features meditations and music from the vocal artists-in-residence, organ, and carillon, and is hosted by Dean Maurice Charles.
Connect with Others
A common theme during the pandemic continues to be feelings of isolation and lack of social connectedness. There are a variety of programs to help support you in connecting with others. Winterfest is building on our most creative campus traditions to foster community and excitement during the Winter and Spring Quarters. It features a set of arts and design-focused signature events that invite your participation, both individually and through creative teams.
The Center for Leadership and Involvement (CLI) can also assist students in maintaining social networks. CLI oversees nearly 400 Recognized Student Organizations that cover a range of interests and can be valuable outlets for relieving stress. CLI’s website also has a list of ways to stay connected, including virtual games and activities and ways to volunteer or engage with the community.
The Better Together and Buddy Up programs—available through UChicago Student Wellness—may also be of particular interest to those feeling isolated. Both programs aim to help graduate and professional students make new connections and strengthen those relationships.
Finally, Global Hangouts—offered by UChicagoGRAD, the Office of International Affairs, and International House—are monthly sessions that provide international graduate students with a space to chat, share ideas, and connect with individuals from different countries.
For those of you in Chicago, spending long winter days (and nights) indoors and in front of screens can also take a toll. Take advantage of warmer days and get outside to walk, jog, or bike, especially as the city’s parks and lakefront open up. We also encourage you to explore the University’s cardio and weight training facilities (reservations are required), FitChicago classes (many of which can be accessed virtually), and personal training (available virtually).
In the months ahead, we encourage you to regularly assess your needs and reach out for support if you need it. No problem is too big or too small to ask for help. If you have any questions, please contact UChicago Student Wellness at 773.834.WELL.