TSTC counselor helps students during social distancing

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Licensed professional counselor Angela Dunn makes it her mission to help Texas State Technical College students whenever and wherever the need arises.

Serving both the Fort Bend County and Harlingen campuses, Dunn aims to provide mental health counseling, programming, and awareness to students. In helping to deal with our new normal, she discussed a few beneficial strategies that people can use to cope with social distancing.

“I have a heart for helping, and I love seeing that spark that happens when a student finds their passion and life falls into place,” she said. “I enjoy the process of self-discovery and watching someone learn to love and accept themselves.”

Currently, we are all adjusting to a new normal.

“Things are so uncertain right now, but one of the easiest things we can control is our schedule,” she said. “Having a sense of control can lower your anxiety levels, and knowing what to expect from day to day can lower your stress. Set a schedule where you wake up at the same time every day and go to sleep at the same time every evening.”

This advice also is great for parents to help children whose school schedules have been disrupted.

“Children crave predictability, and having a set schedule will make them feel more comfortable during this time.”

While an essential part of social distancing is making sure we stay inside and away from others, it is important that we step outside safely for a few moments when we can.

“Sunlight helps us in two ways,” she said. “We absorb vitamin D from the sun, which boosts our mood levels. Sunlight also helps regulate our melatonin production, which is a naturally occurring hormone in the body that plays a role in sleep. Take a walk outside, open a window, sit on your back porch, or take your pet for a walk.”

Above all else, social distancing practices have made utilizing new technology optimal during this time.

“Use (social media) to connect with friends and family,” she said. “Try to check on someone every day. It is OK to feel lonely during this time. Many people feel the same way that you do. Reaching out and talking about your feelings or asking how others are feeling will make you feel better.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.