Planning and organizing is key to maintaining some semblance of normalcy as frequent changes arise due to the coronavirus crisis. Using check-lists, calendars, and mobile apps may help you create structure in your life, even if you are working from home. Recruit a friend to serve as your accountability buddy to help you stay on top of things.
To combat social isolation and loneliness, rely on your social networks as digitally as you can. Yes, look at meme pages on social media. Join groups and communities online of students that are going through similar frustrations and concerns. Create a group message or email thread with your classmates for all of your classes.
To reduce your academic pressure, we’ve made adjustments to our grading policy, expanded the number of available loaner laptops, and have asked faculty to be more flexible during this crisis. Remember that this distance learning period is less about aiming for straight As, and more about getting through the semester safely and with good health.
Exercise if you can (jumping jacks count), eat healthy foods, and sleep an adequate amount at night. Instead of aiming for perfection or expecting to work optimally, go out of your way to take breaks to recharge. And please avoid staying up late to monitor the news!
Choose reliable sources and establish boundaries on checking for updates. Getting regular, factual information is important, instead of continuously scrolling through social media or constantly refreshing the news, which often leads to increased anxiety. Pick a few trusted news outlets and commit to checking once or twice a day for updates.
Find meaningful tasks and roles within your support network to channel your anxiety, such as coordinating deliveries of groceries to those unable to leave home, curating kids’ activity ideas for parents working from home, or calling those who might feel a little alone. Supporting others is beneficial to you as well!
Practice good hygiene if possible to reduce potential coronavirus panic (e.g. sneezing and coughing into your elbow, sneezing into a tissue and immediately throwing the tissue away, washing hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, etc.). Even if you’re stuck at home, try to establish a routine to do your best to maintain a sense of control.
Find or create spaces that are not focused on coronavirus, such as your favorite TV show. Savor small positive moments and stories to stay optimistic. Try to cultivate a mental wellness practice, such as writing in a gratitude journal, or recapping the day’s highlights with your friends (and the newest memes).
Knowing the difference between typical and atypical stress can let you know if you need to seek additional help. A typical stress reaction may include: temporary difficulty concentrating; irritability and anger; fatigue; stomachache; and, difficulty sleeping. An atypical stress reaction may include a persistent and/or excessive worry that keeps you from carrying out your daily tasks.