Posted on: April 7, 2020 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By Jessica Alcordo

JRN 111 Student

Not too long ago, Corona was just a beer. The new effects of corona: coughing, fever, tiredness, difficulty breathing, a worldwide pandemic. Try putting that on a beer label. 

Be sure to include the fine print: depression, anxiety, mood swings, hopelessness, irritability, lack of concentration, overthinking, fatigue.

We shut the doors to society, and it begins: overthinking, paralyzing feelings of despair, a constant gray over our heads. You’re not coughing and you have no fever, but you have been affected.

“I’ve been self-quarantined for 13 days now,” says Angeline Cachey, second-year Moraine Valley student. “I’ve lost my job, interaction with friends and family, and a sense of my reality. It’s comforting to know that we’re all alone in this together.”

Whether you’re a student or faculty member of Moraine Valley, you face a challenging disruption in your life, and in the rest of the spring semester.

Nickolas Shizas, psychology professor at Moraine Valley, gave insight on the mental battlefield ahead of us and what we can do to fight it. Moraine Valley counselors Shanya Gray and Teresa Hannon also weighed in to remind us we are not fighting alone.

This is not a losing battle.

Know your resources and utilize them

Moraine Valley has done its part to give students and faculty helpful resources.

Gray and Hannon, coordinators of the Counseling and Career Development Center, spoke about the future of online learning and counseling.

“Online learning requires a lot of discipline, self-control and time,” said Hannon.

The abrupt transition can onset stress and anxiety, especially if this is a new format to you. It’s important not stress yourself out further and to seek help whenever needed. This goes for students and faculty.

Counselors are available 8:30 to 5 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays. To connect with a Counselor, you can send an email to or call (708) 974-5722 to leave a message.

“Counselors are really thinking outside of the box during this time,” Gray said. “We are facilitating two meditation sessions per week online— one for students and one for faculty. We also hope to roll out online group sessions soon.”

These resources can only help if you are aware of them. Enrolling in the Canvas shell called Counseling Student Support is an easy way to stay updated on new resources like meditation sessions. The canvas page is available for both students and faculty. You can enroll here:

“Not only counseling can assist with student needs,” Gray said. She encourages students to take advantage of The Speaking and Writing Center, tutoring, and Disability Services. “Also, utilize your instructor’s office hours and remain in constant communication with them. They are there to help you.”

MV counselors discuss self-care during isolation.

Limit your news intake

Our minds feed off of what we feed them. Listening to constant political banter, rising death tolls, and the number of new cases creates a breeding ground for anxiety.

“The news is 24 hours and it’s obviously causing a lot of stress,” Shizas stated. “If you must check the news, choose the daily news and limit your exposure.”

It’s tempting. News like this is hard to look away from and even harder to escape. It devours every platform. But it’s healthier to shut off triggering notifications or even set aside time to turn off your phone or social media.

“I review important news stories once a day,” Hannon said. “I stay away from consuming any more since it promotes fear and anxiety.”

It’s good to stay informed, but constant connection makes overdoing it easy. If you find yourself overthinking and constantly fearful, turn off the news. It will be there when you get back.

Keep your routine

During this battle, it feels like we have lost all control of our daily lives.

“If I were a college student, I would keep the same routine that I had based off my class schedule,” Shizas said. “A daily routine like this will keep your brain stimulated like it was before. It’s the easiest way to keep up with classwork and due dates.”

Set intentions for each day, get dressed in the morning, keep your alarms on during weekdays, and continue on the path you were trekking.

If you find yourself stuck in bad habits, Shizas suggests utilizing a daily planner and writing down your schedule. This will keep you accountable on a day-to-day and give each day purpose.

“Some people might experience what we call adjustment disorders,” Shizas said. “This is a situation a lot of people have never experienced before. In some people, their pre-existing anxiety and depression can worsen. In others, loneliness and isolation can trigger underlying issues.”

This is where self-discipline can help us gain back what we have lost. Even the smallest amount of structure will curb procrastination and put your mind at ease.

Consume your M&Ms

M&Ms stand for movement and meditation. Your brain craves these like the candy—except these M&Ms have proven health benefits. Setting aside time to work on one or both can improve your ability to focus and boost your mood.

“At least once a day, I make sure to do an at-home workout,” Cachey said. “I also like to take advantage of the extra time by starting my mornings with yoga or meditation. It sets a positive mood for my day.”

You don’t need a celebrity-styled home gym or a yoga studio to get your fix. It can be as simple as jumping jacks, walking your dog, or dancing around in your room: whatever it takes.

Angeline Cachey, second-year Moraine Valley student, does yoga to release stress.

“In between grading papers, I have to step outside,” Shizas said. “Going for a walk – and most people don’t realize it – is so good for you. Your body needs those endorphins and fresh air.”

The more movement you can get, the better.

As for meditation, even ten minutes a day can be beneficial. According to The Huffington Post, meditation can boost the immune system, build focus and concentration, improve depression, reduce loneliness…the list goes on.

For guided meditation, access one of Moraine’s Zoom sessions mentioned above.

Another helpful source is Ten Percent Happier. Ten Percent Happier LIVE was created as “sanity break,” and “a virtual break from social distancing.” The live sessions begin with a guided meditation and feature advice from a new meditation teacher each session. You can join sessions on their website weekdays at 2 p.m.

Stay connected

Staying in doesn’t mean being left out.

Taking advantage of the technology we have is the best way to maintain social connections while in isolation.

“My family is in Greece right now,” Shizas said, “and every day I can still connect with them. That’s what is so amazing. There is no lack of social support.”

It’s important to check in with friends and family and create a support system.

“I try to create boundaries where, after work, I do not focus on work.” Gray said. “I connect with friends and family as well and that helps a lot.”

We can all take the time out of our days to send a reassuring text or FaceTime a friend. Everyone needs an extra reminder that they are not alone.


Rest is just as important as productivity.

Shizas stressed the importance of having a balance between the two. “Set time aside to relax too. Watch a movie or read a book for pleasure.”

If you feel hopeless, try to think back to all the times you wanted to sleep a little longer. At one point or another, we have all wished we could take a break.

“Find ways to reframe how you look at this time,” Gray said. “Look at it as an opportunity to spend time with family, to slow down, or to rest.”

The situation isn’t ideal, but even a slight change in perspective can make this situation a little more bearable.

Often, we ignore the fine print. It tells us what we don’t want to hear: Clorox wipes will not prevent depression.

Treat your mental health as a pending virus. Taking the extra step to breathe deeper or to shut off the news is the mental equivalent to washing your hands. 

Pay attention to the fine print; it’s not all bad.

Warning: This is not a losing battle.

Jessica Alcordo can be contacted at