With all of the distressing information about COVID-19 and the upheaval we have experienced in our normal routines, it is natural to expect a wide range of thoughts, feelings, and reactions. Below are some tips to help take care of yourself during this trying time and to manage the stress and anxiety you may be feeling.
Local & Campus Supports
- Emergency Dispatch: 911
- Contact Campus Safety
- Contact Student Nurse Jennifer Newago
- Contact Counselor Scott Johnson
- Find Additional Resources
Yes, this is normal. Many have experienced an increase in stress and distress in recent weeks as news about Coronavirus has filled all of our spaces. Some common reactions include:
- Feeling anxious, worried, panicked, or scared
- Feeling helpless
- Social withdrawal
- Difficulty concentrating or sleeping
- Sleeping too much
- Depressed moods
- Procrastination and difficulties with motivation
- Fear about interacting with those you perceive to be infected
- Fear for my loved ones
If you have access to habits and techniques that have been successful for managing your stress in the past, return to these and trust what you already know about yourself. Past that, here are some important considerations for managing your stress:
- Stay Connected.
We can’t expect our social lives to operate how they were, but we still have a need to feel connected with others. Utilize video tools such as Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts, Facebook, etc. to connect visually. Find someone to talk to, whether it is a friend, family, or a professional. Most likely you are not nearly as alone as it may feel.
- Be Activity.
Our routines and activity level have been altered significantly, but staying busy is vital during times of crisis, whether via exercise, relaxation, mindfulness, or other activities. Physical activity can be especially helpful for managing and preventing problematic levels of stress and emotional distress. If you can, consider a daily routine for both some type of physical exercise and time for relaxation. These can be as simple as a fifteen-minute exercise video through YouTube, quiet time with deep breathing, or winding down with a book. Learn and practice ways to calm and center yourself. Go for a walk. Get out of the house. Take a bath. Try things until you find what works.
- Have a Routine.
If you are feeling out of control, you might benefit from finding something you can actually control. This might mean that your first hour of the day includes the same set pattern, or your last hour of the day. This might mean that you take your dog for a walk at the same exact times every day. You might benefit from a routine that is close to what you have been accustomed to for the past few months, including how you dress, when your breaks are, and when you eat meals. If your class is no longer holding live meetings, maybe you study for that class during the original class period.
- Don’t Look Too Far Ahead.
You may feel overwhelmed with all of the obligations you seem to have right now, but getting ahead of yourself is an easy way to burn out and become even more overcome with stress. Take stock of the week at hand, and consider what should be prioritized. You may not be able to do everything, and if this is reality for you, wishing it away or blaming yourself (or anyone else) will not get more accomplished for you. Try to focus on what you can do rather than what you feel you should do, and remember that we can only ever do things one step at a time.
- Write Through Uncertainty.
We are dealing with a lot of uncertainty, and it is scary and intimidating. As you find yourself worrying about the unknown, write down the questions that arise in your mind. Some will not have answers (When will this all be over? How bad will it be?) or the answers will come in time. For others you can’t answer, see if you can find the answer, and you might feel better (If I email and ask, will my professor let me turn this assignment in late? Can I even make an appointment to see my doctor right now?).
- Get Space From the News.
You might benefit from setting some boundaries for yourself with media coverage and social media. It is important to stay informed, but you may be able to get all of the news you need by checking once or twice a day. Instead, focus on the things that are positive in your life, and try to find lightness and humor where you can.
- Keep Perspective.
This is an unprecedented situation. Remember that it is okay to have anxiety, and you can forgive yourself for not being perfect. It is also okay to backslide, as some days will inevitably be worse than others. Lower your expectations, give people the benefit of the doubt, and remind yourself that this is temporary.
- Remember to Breathe.
Whenever you are feeling out of control. Whenever you think of it. Right now, actually.
- Talk with Scott.
Our campus counselor, Scott Johnson, is working from home but still available for students to talk with. To check in with Scott, you can now request an appointment online. There is plenty of availability to make an appointment. Depending on what works for you, video chat or phone calls are available. Scott will let you know of any limitations or complications based on your location. If you do not feel you need to have a one-on-one conversation but have questions related to emotional health, please pass these along to Scott.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a virus transferred from person to person. This virus is found in droplets and spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may also be spread by touching a surface or an object that has the virus on it and then touching your face, mouth, nose, or eyes. Symptoms may be similar to other more common viruses like Influenza A and B, or may be as mild as cold-like symptoms.
Most people exposed to COVID-19 will recover with minimal to no overall effect on their health. However, those with chronic health conditions (asthma, diabetes, heart conditions, etc.) are at an increased risk for severe complications. To help minimize the risk to yourself and others, physically distance yourself from others. If you are experiencing any illness, please stay home or in your room. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze with a tissue, then wash hands thoroughly. If you don’t have one, use your sleeve and not your hands!
The health office continues to be available for Northland College students in need of treatment and assessment of minor illness, injuries, and emergencies. Please schedule a video chat, phone call, or in person appointment with our Student Nurse Jennifer Newago.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
- People with deafness or hearing loss can use their preferred relay service to call 1-800-985-5990.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline Call 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.
- Updates specific to Wisconsin’s response to Coronavirus.
- A non-comprehensive list of mobile apps that might be useful for managing stress, anxiety, and mental health.
- A wealth of information on managing your stress and coping and mental health while social distancing can be found on the Center for Disease Control’s website.
- Helpful information for college students can also be found on the websites for Active Minds and for the Jed Foundation.
If you or anyone you know is considering suicide or self-harm, or is anxious, depressed, upset, or needs to talk, there are people who want to help and available any time of day or night:
In the US
- Crisis Text Line Text CRISIS to 741741 for free, confidential crisis counseling
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
- The Trevor Project 1-866-488-7386
Outside the US