Counselling Services

Resources for students

Counselling Services offers an array of resources for students. View the links below that will help guide you to resources for coping with COVID, anxiety, study skills, mindfulness and more.

Female student sitting at a computer in the library

OC’s Counselling Services team has compiled these tips to help you prepare for the transitions that lie ahead.  

  1. Don’t compare yourself. Not with other people and not with where you think you ‘should be’ at this point. We just lived through a global pandemic! If you had times of feeling not so productive or you’re feeling tired now, you’re not alone and that’s completely valid.  

  1. Acknowledge that this period of transition may be tiring and stressful for you. Some of us might have less ’social stamina’ than we used to. “The more that we can normalize the real costs of coming out from [more than a year of covid restrictions], the better. Make these conversations a normal part of your planning with those you will reconnect with,” says Dr. Doreen Dodgen Magee in her article: In person life is exhausting: post-pandemic socializing. 

  1. However you feel, it’s okay. The pandemic has been a really challenging time filled with anxiety and loss. So, whether you feel celebratory, exhausted, anxious, or a little bit numb, it is important to acknowledge what is true for you, and to allow for how you feel to change from day to day. Self-compassion and mindfulness exercises can be very helpful in making space for what we’re feeling.    

  1. Anticipate some discomfort. Change is hard, even if the changes are positive. Be realistic about how it might feel a bit bumpy as you get used to the new normal. Our nervous systems have been ‘retuned’ by the pandemic, and it might take you a while to feel safe and comfortable around other people again. That doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong, just that it takes time to get used to new situations.  

  1. Have compassion for those around you.  We all will have our own experience of the transition. If we can be understanding and gentle with each other, that will contribute to a shared experience and help us to rebuild safe connection with others. (Note that this doesn’t mean we have to drop our boundaries to satisfy someone else, e.g., the COVID huggers, but we can still respond with kindness and suspend judgment.) 

  1. Only you can know what feels comfortable for you. Listen to how you feel when you are around other people. Know that you have a right to ask for more space or to say no to an invitation. Likewise, consider asking others for consent before entering their physical bubble or initiating physical contact such as a hug, handshake or high five.  

  1. Reflect on how you can best support yourself in these times. You might want to envision the shift to post-pandemic life as a trip to an unfamiliar place and consider what you want to bring with you on the journey. These might be actual things you bring with you, or they might be more metaphorical. Here are some examples: 

    • A playlist of songs to boost your energy or soothe your stress 

    • A photo (maybe on your phone) of your pet(s) or other source of comfort 

    • A quality you want to bring with you this semester. Maybe courage, compassion or...? 

    • Your favourite snacks or tea 

    • A mantra or other comforting message  

    • Essential oils or something to help soothe you if needed 

    • A good luck token or comfort object such as a small teddy bear 

    • Your ‘why’, or the reasons that motivate you to reconnect with others 

  2. Visualize the spaces you will be in and consider how you might navigate your interactions on campus. When we are doing something new – or new again – it can be helpful to mentally prepare. If possible, visit your campus before orientation day to help you start picturing what it will be like to be learning in-person again.  

  3. You might feel like a first-year, even if you have taken courses at OC during the pandemic or were on campus before COVID-19 began. Allow yourself to ‘be a beginner’ again and see things with fresh eyes.  

  1. Rehearse any situations that you might feel awkward about as we re-enter in-person learning. Maybe it’s meeting your classmates on the first day. If so, figure out one or two lines you’d like to say (It could be: “Hey, my name is ___. Have you taken an in-person class at OC before?”). Or maybe, for you, it will be navigating being close to other people again and you might want to be prepared to draw a boundary. In that case, something like “I’m still keeping a bit of distance from people. I’d rather not _______.” 

  1. Talk or write about what you’re going through. It can be really helpful to put what we’re feeling into words, whether with a trusted friend, a counsellor, or even in a notebook or journal. 

  1. Keep taking care of yourself! At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a lot of talk about the importance of self-care, and we think this continues to be essential. As you make the transition back to campus, it’s a good idea to have a plan for how you will continue to take care of yourself. You could note down 3-5 activities that help you to feel well and commit to doing them on a daily or weekly basis. These are your wellness non-negotiables.

Taking care of your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

There have been many rapid changes to protect all of us from the spread of COVID-19. If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or even depressed as a result, know that you are not alone and that help is available. In times of transition and uncertainty, taking good care of ourselves is more important than ever and OC Counselling Services has some tips and resources to share. 

7 essential tips for wellness

  1. Look after your basic needs: eat well, drink lots of water, get enough sleep, get some exercise. 
  2. Follow or create a routine: wake up and go to sleep around the same time every day, make your bed, get dressed, set a goal for the day.
  3. Stay connected: using phone, text, video chats or social media, stay in regular communication with friends and family. 
  4. Get some fresh air and sunshine when you can: schedule it into your day. 
  5. Practice mindfulness using activities such as meditation, yoga, art-making or journaling. You can find many free apps/websites for learning to meditate or doing yoga at home. 
  6. Limit the amount of time you watch or listen to media coverage. Find a credible source you can trust to get some facts. Social media is generally not a trustworthy source of information. 
  7. Remind yourself that this is time limited. Life will return to normal.

Additional resources

 

  • Anxiety Canada
    • Online resource providing self-help information, community programs and workshops in British Columbia + resources for parents, caregivers treating anxiety. 
  • Self-Help Resources - Centre for Clinical Interventions
    • If you looking for specific information about different types of mental health challenges then the ‘workbooks' or sets of modules on this website may be helpful for you. 
  • Here to Help
    • Access to quality information on mental health, mental illness and substance use problems.

​​​​​​​Exam anxiety:  A prezi recorded presentation for OC students (38 mins total) on exam anxiety.

Here are some handouts to help you develop healthier sleep habits: 

  • Mindshift is a free app that you can use to learn about  anxiety, assess your anxiety, plan strategies for dealing with it, and help yourself relax.
  • Calm is an app (free & paid subscription) for meditation and mindfulness. Enjoy 100+ guided meditations to help you manage anxiety, lower stress and sleep better.
  • Insight Timer is a free app that is home to over 5,500,000 meditators.
  • Buddhify is an app (for purchase) where you'll find guided meditations for walking, stress & difficult emotion, work break, going to sleep, waking up and many other different categories
  • SFU Health and Counselling (website) guided exercises - has links to audio and video recordings to guide you through mindfulness and relaxation exercises. 
  • Self-compassion - has guided meditations, handouts and other information. This is an all-in-one resource for self-compassion.

Choosing a career may be one of the most important decisions you make as it will likely have a major influence on your lifestyle.  Accordingly, we don't recommend the  "pin the tail" approach for career decision making. 

View our OC career exploration guide

Developed at Ryerson University, Thriving in Action Online is an innovative resource to help you live with intention, learn with confidence, transform your relationship to school, and experience sustainable success, however you define it. Learn to love being a student.

Mental health resources for OC students residing outside of B.C.

OC counsellors are not able to provide 1-1 personal counselling for students residing outside of British Columbia due to licensing restrictions. The following resources are available if you are needing emotional support while you are living outside of the province.

Mental Health Emergencies

Get help if you or someone else is in immediate danger, or at risk of harming yourself or others. Call emergency services in your area (9-1-1 in Canada) or visit your nearest hospital emergency room.

Connect with a mental health professional:

If you are an enrolled OC Student, we encourage you to participate in OC Counselling Services’ free workshop series. 

  • GROW@OC is an online drop-in group for students to connect, learn, and strategize to be an effective student and a healthier human.   
  • Flourish Wellness Wednesdays workshops are offered once a month, with a special focus on strategies to help you cope during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Here2Talk is available to B.C students located anywhere in the world.

If you are located within Canada, and are looking for local support, please visit the Crisis Services Canada webpage for resources in your community:

Wellness Together Canada: Receive a free mental health online assessment and connection to e-mental health resources or counselling by phone, text or video.  Available 24/7 for Canadians anywhere in the world.

If you are located in the United States, please visit Mental Health America’s website for national crisis and distress resources.

If you have further questions about available counselling supports, please email counselling@okanagan.bc.ca

For questions regarding International Student supports, please visit International Education.

Here2Talk

The Government of British Columbia has launched Here2Talk, a new mental health counselling and referral service for post-secondary students.

Here2Talk connects students with mental health support when they need it. Through this program, all students currently registered in a B.C. post-secondary institution have access to free, confidential counselling and community referral services, conveniently available 24/7 via app, phone and web.

Here2Talk.ca is available to B.C. students located anywhere in the world. 

  • Canada-wide toll free, dial: 1-877-857-3397
  • If you are accessing from outside Canada, dial: +1-604-642-5212. International calling charges may apply.

Visit Here2Talk

Here too talk mental health support

Community wellness resources

Crisis/ Suicide Line

1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433): for individuals who are or know someone who is having thoughts of suicide. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and in up to 140 languages. 

Youth Space

A place for any youth, under 30, that is experiencing any sort of crisis to come and talk. Open between 6pm - Midnight (PST). Online chat (youthspace.ca), or SMS text chat (778-783-0177).

Foundry (Kelowna and Penticton)

Foundry offers young people 12-24 access to mental health and substance use support, primary care, peer support and social services.

Virtual Counselling Resources - Interior Health Region

Foundry Virtual Counselling for 12-24yr olds

YMind Fall 2021 (18-30yrs)

Counselling resources videos

Missed a Flourish session or looking for some tips to help with anxiety? Check out our YouTube channel to watch videos with helpful tips and techniques.