Q: I’m supposed to return to college at the end of August. Florida is a hotspot and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. My parents are nervous about me going back. I’ve heard them arguing about it a couple of times.
I have mixed feelings too. I miss my friends. I’m bored beyond belief here in Gaithersburg, but I also know kids are not making good choices about COVID safety. So I don’t know what to think. I go around and around with these thoughts.
Oh and a bunch of schools keep changing their plans, so I don’t even know if going back anyway! I feel like I’m losing my mind!

A: There’s so much uncertainty right now. It’s understandable to feel stressed out and overwhelmed. Here are some things you can do now to feel better.
1. Change the channel on your thoughts when you’re going in circles. Distraction has its place. If your parent’s worries are becoming your own, ask them to censor themselves around you.
2. Challenge your assumption that you need control. Try not to be overly attached to any particular preferred outcome.
3. Trust and tell yourself that you can handle whatever life throws at you. You can probably roll with things more than you give yourself credit.
4. Allow yourself to grieve the road not taken, in moderation. Feel sad for your losses, for a while. Then change the channel and think of happy things. You’ve got this!

This advice column was originally published in the Lakelands Leader August 2020 addition.