Grad15: ASU wellness expert provides tips for managing disruption

In our April 7 edition of the Grad15 webinar, Nika Gueci with the ASU Center for Mindfulness, Resilience and Compassion shared resources and tips on mindfully navigating times of disruption. More conversation than presentation, the session gave graduate students the chance to ask questions, share their challenges, and exchange strategies for maintaining mental health during our COVID isolation.

A key refrain of the session is that it is important to pay attention to what our brains and bodies are telling us. Tuning in to how we are feeling (and what is contributing to those feelings) is critical to our mental health.

With the world shifting daily as we collectively respond to the coronavirus pandemic, many of us feel compelled to tune into our newsfeeds constantly. And while it’s important to be informed, there is a point at which the barrage of information is detrimental to our health. We all have a point of diminishing returns. Our need to be informed leads us into an ‘information echo chamber’ where instead of alleviating our concerns, new information magnifies them. 

If we find ourselves becoming anxious, Nika suggests, we should consider ‘re-tuning’ instead: tune out the news, social media, and other peoples’ anxieties, and tune into our relationships with others. As inherently social creatures, isolation is hard, and finding even fifteen minutes to virtually connect with someone we don’t live with can help us retain and even re-build social bonds. Those bonds are important, especially now.

And lastly, it’s important to remember that we are resilient. We have, as individuals and a society, faced difficulties before, and we will undoubtedly again. Resilience – our ability to overcome challenges – is based upon the lessons we have learned from previous stressors. As we endure our current situation, we must dust off the tools and skills we developed during previous times of adversity in order to mindfully, intentionally, and calmly approach the current one.

For more information on maintaining mindfulness amidst disruption, join Nika and her team for Midday Mindfulness, a series of virtual meditation sessions every weekday from 12 – 1 p.m. at

You can download the full slide deck and access additional resources discussed in this and other Grad15 sessions on the GradConnect graduate student resource and discussion board

Finally, don’t forget to join us on Tuesday, April 14 at 11 a.m. for our next mini-webinar, "Don't Miss Out: How to Benefit from a Virtual Conference." Learn how to take advantage of the format of professional meetings and conferences as they shift online.