Control What You Can: Tips for Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety


woman with coffee

Everyone has some anxiety from time to time whether you've been diagnosed or not. In these uncertain times it's easy to get anxious or depressed because our day to day lives have been interrupted and we're establishing a new normalcy that we don't necessarily like or want. At Student Development we want to help students during this difficult time with resources and support.

Here are some things that you can do right now to help your mental health hygiene whether caused by COVID-19 or made worse by it. 

1. Self-Care & Mindfulness - we discussed mindfulness last week and I plan to share more about self-care next week. Why? Because they work. They may not work instantly but if you begin a practice in either (or both) they will be helpful to you. 

2. Establish a routine - you'd be surprised how helpful it is to stick as close as possible to your daily routine even if you are homebound. The first few days that I was working from home I was working in gym shorts and a t-shirt. I have since changed this and it has made a major impact on how I feel during the day. I get up, shower, shave, brush my teeth, and wear work appropriate clothes during my work day. Structure and routine are a major part of our daily lives and keeping ourselves in a routine is helpful to our mood and mental health. 

3. Create Mental Zones - something else that can be helpful when establishing a routine is setting up space in your home for certain task. I do not have a home office but when I started working from home I made a makeshift one. I spend my "work time" everyday here. Why? Because giving myself structure like this helps my mind. My mind now associates this table, room, and laptop with "work" and not liesure time. We always encourage college students to have locations that they study so their brain recognizes this mental zone. 

4. Start a Ritual - you already have rituals but you may not have meant to start them. Maybe when you get out of your 8:00 a.m. class you go to the Student Union and grab some coffee or hangout with friends before your next class? Although you may not be on campus you can still set up daily and weekly rituals that you do consistently. My wife and I take our lunch breaks together and that has been a really nice because we never get to due to our work locations.

5. Take a Break from the News & Social Media - knowing that the amount of cases in Arkansas or what COVID-19 does to your lungs isn't really helpful to you. Scientifically we know that your brain is constantly searching for new information to keep yourself safe and that when you do this it releases dopamine to reward you. However, in a time of constant news & sensationalized stories it's easy for this survival tool becomes maladaptive. Stop scrolling through COVID-19 content. 

6.Go Outside - whether sitting in the sunshine or taking a walk, it doesn't really matter. Going outside can be helpful and beneficial to your mental health hygiene

7. Use Telehealth - Student Development is working hard to get telehealth services off the ground. If you are an enrolled student and need support during this time reach out to us via email and we will do our best to connect with you and help.

C. Davis, LPC, Director of Student Development

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