A Mental Health Message from Professor Naomi Klapper
LCW Professor and Mental Health Counselor Offers Tips and Advice for Students Adjusting to the Coronavirus Shutdown
Lander College for Women chair of the psychology department, Naomi Klapper, offered the following advice to Touro students and family members on how to deal with the changes the coronavirus has made to their daily lives.
1. Congratulate Yourself on Adapting
As all of Touro classes have moved to remote learning, Prof. Klapper said students should be pleased with themselves for adapting. "It's a new skill for many of our students and you should be proud that you're using it," said Klapper. "Congratulate yourself on this new skill. Once you've learned to learn remotely, you can use this skill throughout your career."
2. Set Up a Daily Schedule
Klapper advises students and family members to set up a schedule for the days they need to spend at home. "Don't just set up a schedule for going to sleep or eating your meals," advised Klapper. "Set up times when you will be learning remotely and taking breaks. This will help you make your learning and your breaks more productive as well as give you a sense of balance."
"It's very important for people to exercise during this time," said Klapper. "Exercise makes us feel better and is a great stress reliever. Take a walk if you're not in quarantine. Nowadays online you can get every type of exercise you've ever wanted to try for free. I encourage you to get out if you can, but if you are in quarantine, I recommend going to your backyard or watching a video on YouTube and make sure to exercise."
4. Get Sunlight
Even if you're not prone to seasonal affective disorder, Klapper recommends getting sunlight. "Sit by a window or exercise by a window," said Klapper. "People are very affected by not getting sunlight. Make sure to schedule 20-30 minutes of sunlight in your day."
5. Don’t Panic
While no one is arguing about the severity of the coronavirus, it is important to not panic. This is perhaps the most important and most challenging piece of advice, Klapper admits. "One of the best ways to do this is to limit your exposure to social media," Klapper advised. "People are putting their anxieties on Facebook and on twitter. They are doing it to help them release some of their anxiety, but it's only raising your anxiety. If you don't have the self-discipline to limit your social media in a significant way, there are a lot of free apps that will help you to do that. Check-in once a day with the news so you feel in touch, and then go about your business and use your time productively."
6. Take Advantage of the Time
"Since we're saving all this time by not having to commute to work or school, we can finally get to those projects that we've been putting off," said Klapper. "Many of us look at the end of the day and feel like we didn't accomplish that much. We need to feel proud of what we accomplish each and every day. You can get a new skill; you can train for something you've always wanted; you can clean out a closet; learn to paint; organize your taxes. Everything is available to you and at the end of the day you'll look back and feel like you have something concrete that you did that day that was productive."
7. Reach Out if You Need Help
Klapper said the Touro counseling staff will be keeping their regular hours and are happy to speak with students in need. "Feel free to email us and we can set up a time to speak either through telephone, email or telemedicine," said Klapper. "We would be so happy to speak with you."