Managing Concerns and Emotions about COVID-19

 

News reports about the coronavirus, together with concerns that the virus could become more widespread, is raising a number of concerns and making some people worry. Learn more about taking care of your mental health in the face of uncertainty here.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Watch this video presentation on how we approach change, the role anxiety plays in times of upheaval, and strategies for managing that anxiety.


Resources for College Students Quarantining in Unsupportive Environments During COVID-19

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, college students all over the nation have experienced sudden changes and disruptions to their living environments. Campuses have closed and many students have returned home. However, families and homes are not always safe havens of love, warmth, and acceptance.

The Department of Psychology at the University of Florida has provided some resources for particular groups of students who may be more vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19 and quarantine.  Click here to learn more.

 


Thoughts About Covid:   Approaching and Addressing Change During the Pandemic….

Experiencing sudden change and living with uncertainty tends to produce at least some anxiety in all of us. Engaging in the following has several benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety, strengthening your immune system, and improving mood, energy, and sleep.

G.R.A.B.S.:

Gratitude – taking just a little time each day to notice what or who you are grateful for in your life. This does not mean you ignore when you are hurting, scared, etc. It just means you notice what has made you smile today and celebrate it.

Routine – having at least some structure to your day/week helps increase a sense of control and reduces the chance of feeling overwhelmed. Decide how much works for you and be flexible when necessary.

Attitude – You can’t always control your circumstances, but you can control how you view them. Accept that life is uncertain and scary at times, but challenge absolute thinking, such as “This will never get better.” And remember to laugh – humor is a natural stress reliever.

Breathing – a slow deep breath or two is one of the simplest and most accessible ways to reduce anxiety. It triggers the “calm switch” in your brain. Breathe while relaxing, and while engaging in physical activity – these are also natural stress relievers.

Social Support – emotional connection is particularly important when it is hard to physically connect with many people. Make use of technology to connect with family and friends, talk to a volunteer helpline, or be a volunteer yourself.

For further information and more tips, go to https://thewellnesssociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Coronavirus-Anxiety-Workbook.pdf


Here are some additional tips to help you put information and concerns in perspective, manage your worry, and maintain a positive outlook.

TIPS

Seek accurate information and limit exposure to social media and news reports that provide no new information or inaccurate information. Here are some reliable sources of information:

  • Keep things in perspective. Take a deep breath and stay focused on what the situation actually is, rather than the worst-case-scenario. It can be helpful to shift your focus to things within your control rather than things outside your control.
  • Acknowledge reactions. Allow yourself time to reflect on what you are feeling and how you may be reacting to any fears and uncertainties.
  • Maintain your normal day-to-day activities and keep connected. Resist withdrawing and isolating yourself.  Maintaining social networks can foster a sense of normality and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress. Feel free to share useful information you find on governmental websites with your friends and family. It will help them deal with their own worry. If your day to day activities are disrupted by college closings, attempt to create structure in your day by: scheduling a normal bedtime and wake up time; structuring your time with hobbies, homework, reading, etc.; scheduling regular phone/video contact with friends and family
  • Follow the prevention and protection tips given by medical professionals such as the UCA Student Health Services, national medical authorities, and your own medical doctor.
  • Practice calming rituals. Stay grounded in the present moment, which can help you maintain an internal sense of stability and balance when outside events feel threatening.
  • Seek supports & use campus resources. Reach out to friends and family and learn about on-campus and off-campus resources that are available. If you or someone you know has high distress that does not seem to be lessening, talk about it with others, or contact the Counseling Center or the Dean of Students Office. Your campus community is here to help!
  • Avoid stigmatizing or generalizing. Remember to keep in mind the kindness and empathy with which we strive to treat one another at all times as we address this challenge together. Be aware of your behavior or attitudes change towards others from another country, and avoid stigmatizing anyone who is sick as potentially having the Coronavirus.  Often when there is uncertainty, our thoughts can become less compassionate and more fear-based.

RECOGNIZING DISTRESS – A SELF-CHECK LIST

  • Increased worry, fear, and feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Depressive symptoms that persist and/or intensify
  • Inability to focus or concentrate accompanied by decreased academic or work performance or performance of other daily activities
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Excessive crying
  • Isolating or withdrawing from others, fear of going into public situations
  • Unhealthy coping (e.g., increased alcohol or drug use, engaging in risky/impulsive behaviors)
  • A feeling of hopelessness and/or a paralyzing fear about the future
  • Sudden anger or irritability, or noticeable changes in personality

SEEKING SUPPORT

It’s not unusual to experience some — or even several — of the types of distress listed above during times of uncertainly and stress. If you notice these signs in yourself, reach out to family and friends for support, and engage in your usual healthy coping strategies (e.g. moderate exercise; eating well; getting adequate sleep; practicing yoga, meditation, or some other mindfulness activity; take time for yourself; engage in a hobby or other fun activity, etc.).

If your distress continues or gets to the point that you are having difficulty managing your day-to-day activities, then seek professional help.  The Counseling Center is offering consultation and crisis services to students who may need them. To contact us, please call (501) 450-3138.

 UCA RESOURCES

Resources for Students

Dean of Students Office
210 Student Health Building// 501-450-3416

Student Health Services
Student Health Building, 1st floor // 501-450-3136

Counseling Center
Student Health Building, Suite 327 // 501-450-3138

Resources for Faculty/Staff

Employee Assistance Program: https://uca.edu/bewell/employee-assistance-program/

Adapted from:  Amherst College Counseling Center:  https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/health-safety-wellness/counseling/covid-19-news-and-service-changes

As isolation sits in you may find students reaching out to you more for reassurance.  It is not necessary to have all the answers.  Listening and remaining calm will go a long way.  Please refer students to  conwaycollegeneeds.com  for assistance.  This is a group of faith-based organizations that are working to help struggling college students.

Please do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions or would like some guidance.

 

To maintain your mental health limit the amount of news you watch, journal/communicate your feelings, let go of what you do not have control of, and develop and maintain a routine.