Lafayette’s Counseling Center recognizes that changes and uncertainty related to the COVID-19 virus may lead to a range of emotions as well as personal and family stressors. It is important to engage in intentional practices to care for your mental health during this time. Please consider these tips and resources to help you cope.
- Acknowledge your emotions and reactions: It is normal to experience stress, anxiety, irritability, a sense of loss, and/or fatigue in response to such uncertainty. Allow yourself time to reflect on what you are feeling (“name it to tame it”) and how you may be reacting to or coping with these feelings. Recognize what is in your control and what is not. You can always choose how to respond to the challenge you are facing.
- Think about what has worked for you in the past: Each person copes differently and it is important not to compare yourself to others. Try to remember what you did in the past that turned out to be helpful in managing your distress. For instance, mindfulness, journal writing, praying, listening to music, watching animal videos, or virtually visiting museums and operas. Doing things that you enjoy can help you feel calmer.
- Maintain routines: It is important to have a set schedule for each day and make tweaks to your routine as needed. Whether you remain on campus or at home, maintain regular communication with professors and peers, participate in online classes/work at scheduled times, and eat and sleep at regular times. It may help to dress as if you are going to class and create a space that mimics your usual work environment. Make sure to take breaks and relax too.
- Seek accurate information from credible sources and take media breaks: It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the abundance of news and media coverage. It is important to seek accurate and up-to-date information from credible sources such as the CDC or WHO websites. It is equally important to take breaks from the media coverage, and find opportunities to appropriately and periodically disconnect.
- Stay connected while you are avoiding crowds: While engaging in social distancing, maintain connection with others through virtual platforms (audio/video calls, emails, text messages). Remember, you are not alone in navigating this novel experience. It is important to receive and provide support to get through the difficult times. When possible, think about connecting with nature by getting outside, taking walks or going for a run. Take time to engage in activities that help you ground yourself.
- Avoid generalizing and help reduce stigma: Fear and anxiety can lead to bias, discrimination, and stereotyping. Enhance community support by responding to others with empathy and compassion. You can help stop stigma by knowing and sharing the facts.