Take Care of Yourself During Challenging Times

The unfolding news of Russia’s invasion into Ukraine has been horrific. Our thoughts are with students from the region or have loved ones in the region who are impacted. Please do not hesitate to be in touch with the Student Support Services or GradSupport dean who has been in contact with you. Or, contact ukrainehelp@mit.edu and a support staff member will respond to your email. MIT is here for you.

Even if you are not from the region or have family in the impacted area, these times can still feel unsettling. During times like this, it is important to take care of yourself in ways that work for you. Finding healthy practices to manage your stress, process your feelings, or connect with others can be a great way to focus on your wellbeing. Below are some tips if you need help getting started.

  • Take some deep breaths – By slowing down your breathing it signals your nervous system to calm down allowing you to relax. Try this breathing bubble exercise to start.
  • Move around – Physical movement increases blood flow and helps alleviate stress. Go for a walk outside in the fresh air or try a fitness class from Community Wellness at MIT Medical.
  • Nourish yourself – Try eating well balanced meals and avoid harmful coping strategies like binge eating, drinking, or smoking. But it’s perfectly okay to treat yourself to your favorite snack to help reduce anxiety. 
  • Connect with someone – Reaching out to a loved one or friend, just to talk, can be a great source of relief during difficult times and can assure you that you’re cared for, understood, and supported. Text a friend or loved one using this link.
  • Take a break from the news – Constantly watching evolving reports of a triggering event can increase your anxiety. Though it’s important to stay informed on matters that you’re concerned about, maintaining your mental wellbeing is also vital. Take a break from the news and social media and get some fresh air by opening a window or going for a walk. 
  • Channel your emotions into purpose – It’s common to feel the desire to take action as you’re processing your feelings. There are ways to channel those feelings into positive contributions like the Crafts for Ukraine campaign. If you want to find more ways to contribute to the humanitarian efforts, please see the resources compiled by the MIT PKG Center.
  • Get support – A key part of prioritizing your wellbeing means getting support whenever you feel like you could use some. There are many resources and services at MIT that are here to support you. Visit the DoingWell Get Support page to find the help you need. If you have a question and aren’t sure where to start, just ask.

Visit DoingWell at MIT for more tools and exercises to take care of your mind and body, foster healthy relationships, and clarify your purpose.

Resources for Faculty and Staff

Faculty, staff and instructors play a critical role in supporting the wellbeing of our students. Here are tools and resources you can use to help students cope with challenging times

It’s also important to be mindful of your own wellbeing during this uncertain and stressful time. MIT offers you support options through the WorkLife Center, particularly MyLife Services, which includes resources outlined for support through the Ukraine crisis. These services are available to staff, faculty, postdocs, and their families in times of need.

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For other tips to prioritize your wellbeing visit doingwell.mit.edu.

You shouldn’t have to think about where to turn to ask for help. Just ask.

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