Dear Counselor, February 21

Mary Pellitteri

Dear Counselor’ is a column written by Mary Pellitteri, a member of Quinnipiac University’s Counseling Services, to address mental health and wellness issues that she deems prominent in the community. To submit questions to Dear Counselor, email

[email protected].

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and does not constitute medical or other professional advice.

You are certainly not alone; I think most students can relate to this. Lucky for you, there are some things you can do that might help.

I always like to start with the basics: are you eating properly, getting enough sleep and making time to exercise? Snacking on berries, citrus fruits, dark chocolate, nuts (such as walnuts, almonds) and including eggs, avocados and fish in your diet is important. Generally, 7-9 hours of sleep is recommended, but if you are drowsy during the day, or feeling increased nervousness, you may not be getting enough sleep. Catching up with a friend while going for a walk, hiking the Giant or working out is beneficial physically and emotionally.


Laughter can lighten your mood, soothe tension, improve your immune system and relieve pain. So, watch a comedy, gather with friends and listen to a humorous podcast. Practice laughing!

Make sure you take breaks throughout the day. Some ways to do this include having a snack, calling a friend, going for a walk and practicing yoga. Pick up a new hobby or reconnect to an old one. Paint, knit, color, cook and listen to music. Power naps (20-30 minutes) can work for some people. It’s important to set an alarm and nap earlier in the day so you don’t interfere with a good night’s sleep, and pick a spot that is quiet, dark and comfortable.

Expressing gratitude can do wonders for you. You can start by taking 1-2 minutes each day to reflect on what you are grateful for that day.

Breathing exercises can be helpful and you can do them anywhere. Start by exhaling to push all the air out of your lungs. Next, inhale for four seconds, exhale for six seconds. Doing this for a minute can help you to relax. If you have more time, notice how you feel when you are inhaling and exhaling. Next, try a body scan; start at your feet and slowly work your way up to your head, noticing how different parts of your body feels. If you notice tension, visualize it leaving your body.

If you haven’t done so already, download the IMLeagues app to sign up and take advantage of all The Wellness Center has to offer.