March 9, 2021

By Tayler Shaw, Staff Writer

Merritt College held a workshop on March 5 about managing anxiety, which provided everybody who chose to attend with helpful tips and ways to go about dealing with anxiety or any possible difficulties associated with mental health. 

It was very pleasant for me because it gave me other ways I can relax and keep sane during this dreadful pandemic. I don’t personally struggle with anxiety, but for those who deal with anxiety on a daily basis, this may be a helpful rundown. 

The two presenters of this workshop were Stefani de Vito, a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and academic counselor at Merritt, and Andrea Henderson, an English professor at Merritt. The Learning Center at Merritt, which is directed by Isela Santana, was the host behind this workshop. Working and starting off the workshop was Ronnique Currie who is a student at Merritt.

The workshop officially began with a guided meditation session from the first presenter, Andrea Henderson, in which she shared links to free meditation sessions: UCLA Guided Meditations and Spirit Rock Meditation Center.

Meditation itself can be an activity for people feeling heavily stressed or needing to clear out any negative thoughts. Another suggestion is yoga. Yoga is the conscious union of the mind and the body, intended to bring awareness of what’s going on inside the body. Having a regular yoga practice might benefit you in many ways. It brings attention to the body, dealing with anxiety and stress, and can work as another form of meditation. 

Two yoga and group fitness sessions were suggested Black To Yoga and Outdoor Afro. Another suggestion was taking a five-minute dance break, as dancing can be a fun and joyous stress reliever. 

Henderson also spoke about changing up your diet in order to feel a lot healthier. Try out different vitamins, minerals and fruits. Developing a healthy and balanced diet might provide you with a more energetic and happy feeling.

The next speaker, Stefani de Vito, suggested trying to reflect on positive things while trying to fall asleep at night. Anything that you can do in a positive manner to relieve your stress load will help you in the time where your anxiety wants to strike. Chronic stress was also brought up at the workshop. Take in mind that dance break, focus on your breathing and practice mindfulness. 

Counseling services at Merritt can be found through their website here. Berkeley City College, College of Alameda and Laney College also have mental health services available to students,  

You may schedule an appointment to reach out. 

When reaching out through Merritt, email Jennifer Golden, PsyD: for appointments on Mondays, Thursdays or Fridays. Or you can email Stefani de Vito, LCSW: for appointments on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

It is a community of people out there who are willing to help you feel protected and make you feel as loved as possible.

Students can also access free academic tutoring at the Merritt Learning Center. Make an appointment here. Tutoring is online 24 hours a day.