Chronic Pain/Illness

Adjusting to college and managing the stress of academics and social situations can be difficult without also having to manage an ongoing medical issue that is unpredictable.

The college experience can be very chaotic. The late nights, ever-changing routine, responsibility of diet regulation, social expectations, academic pressures, and the list goes on can make it very difficult to take care of your body in a way that you feel holistically well. It is sometimes necessary to work to adjust your day to day in a way that will work for your health. It can be very important to approach your feelings about your body and academics from a strengths based perspective.

Get Support

It is important to utilize academic supports, such as the Learning Center and Disability Support Services in conjunction with the Longbrake Wellness Center to find a pace that will work for you within the college setting.

There are a few things that you can do to continue to build that resiliency and focus on mindfully building your strengths*:

  1. Make connections. Good relationships with close family members, friends or others are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience. Some people find that being active in civic groups, faith-based organizations, or other local groups provides social support and can help with reclaiming hope.
  2. Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. You can’t change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. Try looking beyond the present to how future circumstances may be a little better. Note any subtle ways in which you might already feel somewhat better as you deal with difficult situations.
  3. Accept that change is part of living. Certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter.
  4. Move towards your goals. Develop some realistic goals. Do something regularly- even if it seems like a small accomplishment- that enables you to move towards your goals. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself, “What’s one thing that I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?”
  5. Take decisive actions. Act on adverse situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away.
  6. Look for opportunities for self-discovery. People often learn something about themselves and may find that they have grown in some respect as a result of their struggle with loss. Many people who have experienced tragedies and hardship have reported better relationships, greater sense of strength even while feeling vulnerable, increased sense of self-worth, a more developed spirituality and heightened appreciation for life.
  7. Nurture a positive view of yourself. Develop confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience.
  8. Keep things in perspective. Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing the event out of proportion.
  9. Maintain a hopeful outlook. An optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.
  10. Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience.
  11. Additional ways of strengthening resilience may be helpful. For example, some people write about their deepest thoughts and feelings related to trauma or other stressful events in their life. Meditation and spiritual practices help some people build connections and restore hope.

*Taken from the American Psychological Association online

Utilize this time to define the “new” you, your normal.