Lopes Living Well

Grand Canyon University (GCU) is proud to provide a supportive, faith-based learning community. We create amazing college experiences for our students, but we understand how challenges can affect happiness, health and wellbeing. We want our Lopes to live well and know you are not alone in your struggles. It is okay to ask for help! Campus resources and professional support are available to impart you with guidance and tools for living happy and healthy.

You and your story matter.

College students commonly experience:

  • Anxiety  
  • Depression 
  • Relationship problems

You are not abnormal. And you do not have to suffer alone in anxiety, depression or relationship problems. Lopes Living Well resources can help you or someone you know with eating disorders, substance abuse, stress, homesickness, roommate conflict and more.

Students expect college to be the best years of their lives; however, when faced with academic pressures, life changes and other circumstances, college can get tough. We understand. Our on-campus licensed mental health workers and other professionals are here for you - to listen and provide therapy, counseling and a treatment plan - helping you live well now at GCU and for the rest of your life.

Lean on us for comfort. Be open to help. Find hope.

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Live Well, Lopes

Living a happy and healthy lifestyle is one of the upmost important responsibilities as a student and GCU is here to help support you. Along your journey through college life, maintaining your mental and physical health are key contributors to a healthy lifestyle.

Here are some important tips for living happy and healthy at GCU:

  • Establish a daily routine: You will function better by following a structured routine, creating expectations for what is ahead and making plans to accommodate those expectations. For example, organize your coursework materials, stay on top of your schedule and allot enough time in advance to complete your assignments.
  • Gain proper fuel: Think of your mind and body as a fine-tuned engine. Do you want to be more energized and productive? Eat well (including breakfast and avoiding fast food), drink water frequently and get adequate sleep. Pulling all-nighters and nibbling on unhealthy food can ultimately lead to faulty engine trouble.
  • Learn to manage time and stress: Planning and balance will help you manage academic rigors, relationship building and daily stressors. You are in control of preventing stress from interfering with your college experience. With time management, you can better avoid a snowball effect of overwhelming feelings, fatigue and health issues.
  • Be aware of mental and physical health: Your mental and physical health affect the wellbeing of the other. Surround yourself with supportive relationships, keep in touch with family and friends from home and expect change. It takes time to find your place in college. Be open and get involved on campus. 

Symptoms include constantly thinking about home, experiencing grief and feeling a sense of loss. You may become overwhelmed with nostalgia, extreme loneliness and social disconnectedness. Homesickness may also relate to decreased motivation, sadness and a perpetual negative outlook with a desire to escape and go back home.

Action Plan:
Homesickness is natural and to be expected. Anticipating, planning and even accepting homesickness will help you persevere when times feel tough. Allow yourself the time to get used to college and your new environment. Express your feelings to loved ones, your RA or a counselor. Plan trips to visit home, get involved in campus activities to meet new people and don't ignore your feelings. Relaxation techniques and self-care can help you cope better too.

Symptoms include increased arguing and emotional distress. Are you glad when your roommate's not around? Have you and your roommate stopped making an effort to get along? Do you feel like you're overcompensating for your roommate? You may lack respect and try to avoid your roommate. This can create a hostile living environment, which affects your emotional wellbeing, schoolwork, mood and mental health.

Action Plan:
Roommate conflict can overwhelm your daily life, from feeling bitterness and anxiety to negativity and concern. Reach out to your RA who helps provide a resolution plan for positive co-habitation. Your RA can also help if your living situation worsens and becomes intolerable. Our campus leaders are here for you to ensure you live in a peaceful and calm space, free of arguments and anguish produced by a strained relationship.

Symptoms include physical signs like changes in appetite or sleep patterns, as well as sudden weight loss or gain. Behavioral signs include poor performance in school, financial problems, secretive or troubling behaviors, and changes in your social life. Also pay attention to psychological signs such as mood swings leaning toward irritability or anger, periods of hyperactivity, lack of motivation, anxiety or personality changes. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact the Health and Wellness Center right away to schedule an appointment.

Action Plan:
Substance abuse and dependence requires recognizing your problem as the first step toward recovery. Your health suffers if you continue to minimize, normalize or dismiss this behavior. Counseling, rehab, self-help programs, treatment and especially support can further aid in recovering. You don't have to recover from a drug or alcohol addiction alone. Leaning on loved ones and professionals for encouragement, comfort and guidance is crucial for change. 

Symptoms include cognitive signs like memory problems, trouble concentrating, negative thoughts, anxiety and constant worrying. You may also experience emotional symptoms such as moodiness, a short temper, feeling overwhelmed and sense of loneliness. Behavioral signs to be aware of include eating more or less than normal, sleeping too much or too little, isolation, procrastination or nervous habits.

Action Plan:
Stress management helps you gain control when life seems out of control. Focus on one of the following to manage or diffuse your stress: healthy food and adequate hydration, movement, time balance, a support system and spirituality. Keeping a positive attitude and reacting to your emotions with control, as well as the ability to adapt and laugh can improve your stress levels. If your schedule overwhelms you, practice time balance for staying on top of responsibilities. 

Symptoms include erratic eating habits. You may skip meals, make excuses for not eating and follow an overly rigid diet. Excessive worry about food, eating and exercise may cause withdrawal from social activities and persistent worry about weight. We recommend seeking help if you binge eat, vomit or eat in secret. Campus services can also address feelings of self-disgust, shame or guilt about eating habits. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact the Health and Wellness Center right away to schedule an appointment.

Action Plan:
Eating disorders can lead to serious, even life-threatening complications. These include significant medical problems, depression/anxiety, suicidal thoughts, social and relationship problems, and work and school issues-even death. Listen to concerns from others or your own internal concerns. Treatment by a licensed mental health counselor is essential and can be life-saving.

Symptoms include feelings of nervousness, restlessness and tension. You may have a sense of impending panic and doom with trouble concentrating and excessive patterns of worry. Acute anxiety causes an increased heart rate, sweaty palms and shallow, rapid breathing difficulties. We also recommend paying attention to signs like difficulty sleeping, neck tension, inability to rest, nausea and pulsating in ears.

Action Plan:
Anxiety is normal, yet can become pervasive, overwhelming and excessive. Worry, angst and certain activities may exacerbate anxious feelings. Exercise and restful sleep release endorphins and can help with managing anxiety. Practice letting go and reframing anxious thoughts that are inaccurate or feel catastrophic-ask, "what are the true facts?" Also, restful and restorative sleep is essential for preventing and managing anxious thoughts throughout the day.

Symptoms include persistent sadness or an anxious mood. You may feel empty, hopeless, pessimistic or apathetic. Feelings of guilt and worthlessness can also lead to depression. You may want to ask yourself, "Have I lost interest in hobbies and activities?" "Am I having trouble concentrating?" "Am I restless and irritable?" We also recommend seeking help if you suffer from fatigue, poor sleep habits, weight loss or gain, or thoughts of suicide. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact the Health and Wellness Center right away to schedule an appointment.

Action Plan:
Major depressive disorder is not circumstantial and extends beyond "a blue mood." A blue mood is temporary and fluctuates based on circumstances. If your feelings become pervasive, you may need professional attention, including therapy, medication (or both) to restore life balance. Remember, you are not weak, lacking faith, negative or lazy. Investing in effective solutions and counseling support can lead you toward happy health. 

Lopes Support Network

The Lope Support Network provides an outlet for students to speak with their peers about mental health struggles. The goal of the program creates a community of acceptance (not rejection) where students can open up the conversation about mental health, listen to others and be heard in a small-ground setting. The Lopes Support Network believes mental health shouldn't be a stigma on campus and wants students to know they're not alone in their struggles.

For Parents

The experience of your child moving away to college can generate feelings of excitement and exuberance - along with sadness, grief and wariness. Yes, it is going to hurt, but try to loosen the reins to foster independence. Trust and reassure your child. Communicate expectations and resist the urge to share negative feelings with your student. Focus on the growth and accomplishments your child will achieve. You will make it through this change!

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