Everyone is going through some type of stress right now, but you don't have to go through it alone! Please read to find resources nearest to you.

“Accept – then act.  Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.  Always work with it, not against it.  Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy.  This will miraculously transform your whole life.”  Eckhart Tolle

Today’s blog is about mental health because it is such an important topic and is on everyone’s mind. 

Many people are feeling anxious by the uncertainty of life right now.  The pandemic keeps taking things away from us:  people, intimacy, normalcy, and freedom from worry.  The election, no matter which side you are on, can make you feel separated from family and friends and wondering if relationships will ever be the same again.  The stress of remote living and learning.  The change of season that brings less sunlight and warmth.  Not to mention, the normal stress that college would place upon you, even if it wasn’t 2020

There is a lot of stress on your plate right now and it can cause anxiety or depression.  A lot of students don’t know what that can look like or feel like, or what they can do about it.  I’m going to try to be as open as possible in the hopes that this awareness might help you cope with it better or seek help. 

Please note that I am not a doctor or a counselor.  The opinions expressed here are solely my own and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of Purdue University.  I am also not diagnosing anxiety or depression.  I am using this blog as a form of communication and relaying information that might be helpful to you.

What it can feel like (any combination)

Tightness in shoulders, headache, shallow breathing, upset stomach, shaky nerves, building pressure, listlessness, no energy, sleeping too much or not enough, loss of appetite or bingeing, feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness. 

What it can sound like (in your head)

Everyone else always has it together.  I’m the only one that keeps making mistakes.  I have no confidence and am always doubting myself.  I don’t know how to do this (work, research, project, etc.).  It comes easier to everyone else.  I’m not as smart as they are.  I can’t communicate like they can.  I’m useless, worthless, lazy.  OR, I’m afraid that if I were to shine as bright as I know I’m capable of, it would drive everyone away.  (Check out this animated short about how words can hold us down).

What it can look like

For me, it can be a total stop of everything.  My mind can seem to revolt and decide it’s not doing anything.  When that happens, it feels like it’s never going to end.  I know that emotions come in waves and that the feelings will pass, but it can still be a long, daunting, and isolating process.  I try not to fight it anymore.  Like the quote above says, I don’t work against it.  My body and mind know more about what they need, and if I’m feeling drained, I try to get the absolute bare-minimum done, and then allow whatever my body says it needs:  lots of sleep, food, books, sad movies…

Other ways to relieve the pressure

  • Exercise
  • Journaling
  • Talking to someone
  • Going offline
  • Reserving the lightbox at the co-rec
  • Meditation
  • Repetitive activities like a coloring app, or knitting.  (The late Dr. John T. Warren (36), a Professor in the Speech and Communications Department at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, taught his students, both male and female, how to knit scarves to relieve their stress.  Every student that stood to speak at his funeral talked about those memories and how they still use knitting to calm their nerves.  I am honored to have known him.)
  • Listen to someone you find helpful.  I am currently listening to Nathaniel Drew;  I like his voice and his message.  Love the School of Life and Better Ideas.  For laughs, Julie Nolke and Anna Akana.  For music, Ben Platt.

Seek Help!  There is NOTHING shameful about seeking help. 

You might experience stress differently than I do.  Everybody is unique in how they feel it.  The point is, you are not alone.  You don’t have to hide your pain or struggles.  Be aware of what is going on inside you and be proactive in finding ways to relieve your own pressure or in seeking help.  You can reach me, Rhonda Haan, at

We can get through this!


Written by Rhonda Haan

Photo Credit: Austin Kehmeier, Unsplash