Virtual Mentor Tips: Mental Health in Times of Stress

By Ruth Wilson, Global Campus Virtual Mentor

With all that’s going on in the world right now adding to your daily stresses, it’s important to take some time to focus on your own wellbeing, especially as a busy online student. The following are some tips that you might want to try to help you maintain good mental health as we transition to a “new normal.” 

Develop a new habit.

Make a list of the things that you want to repeat in a specific order every day, which will turn into a routine, which will become a new habit. Abraham Maslow, the psychologist, said that repetition is important.

See the humorous side.

Try to see the positives, and even humor, in stressful situations. What’s something that has happened to you that you can turn into a positive, and even joke about? 

Plan, plan, plan!

Science suggests that writing is a great way to help us focus. When we write things down, it helps us to concentrate and draw from the parts of our brain that catalog literally everything in our experience.  Developing detailed timelines for smaller and larger goals is important as well. 

Visualize and imagine!

Imagine what things will look like and how you will feel when your goal is accomplished. What are the sights and sounds of that special pub in Dublin? How will you feel when you graduate? The sky’s the limit! 

Commitment is key.
Be committed to accomplishing at least one step towards your goal every day, no matter how small. When we are committed, we do things whether we feel we want to do them or not. 

Don’t let setbacks slow you down!

For example, maybe you didn’t do well on an assignment. Can you use this as a prompt to reach out to your instructor or classmates to help clarify a concept or even as a motivator to do better. Maybe you will find out that the material is more interesting than you realized!  

Make a Not-to-do list.

Make a list of things that don’t serve you well that you no longer want to do. For example, are you on your cell phone too much? This has been a huge problem for me (and I must say, it’s quite the ongoing battle!). What’s on your not-to-do list? 

Think of things to be grateful for.

It can be as simple as the new moisturizer that you tried that actually works and feels good on your face. Have you noticed the beauty in nature? You may find that there are far more positives than negatives in your life. 

Read inspiring books, but proceed with caution!
Reading motivational books can be a good way to spend time and get inspiration. A word of caution: reading by itself will not get us to our goals. Action is mandatory.


Go for a brisk walk and feel the wind in your hair. It will brighten your mood and make you feel energized.

Teddy Roosevelt mantra:

“I will do what I can, where I am, with what I have!”

Wishing you good mental health and the joy of learning as you begin a new semester, a new adventure, or a new life…