Stressed woman behind stack of books.

How to Manage Stress, Anxiety Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for many of you, our students, faculty, staff, and broader community. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming, not to mention the added stress of changing your routine to working and learning remotely from home. Some are working jobs to support families, teaching your children, living with double the amount of people you are accustomed to while sharing technology, internet, and limited space. It’s A LOT. We see you all.

It’s important to know that everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Below are some things you can do to support yourself:

Know that stress isn’t a bad thing
Stress motivates us to work toward solving our problems. Reframing thoughts to view stress as an acceptable emotion, or as a tool, has been found to reduce many of the negative symptoms associated with it. The goal is to manage stress, not to eliminate it.

Talk about your problems
Talking about stressors—even if you don’t solve them—releases hormones in your body that reduce the negative feelings associated with stress. Time spent talking with friends and loved ones is valuable, even when you have a lot on your plate.

Take breaks
Turn off the TV and step away from the computer. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

Take care of your body
Stress can start a harmful cycle where basic needs are neglected, which leads to more stress. Make a point to focus on your basic needs, such as eating well, keeping a healthy sleep schedule, exercising, and other forms of self-care. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.

Make time and space for yourself
Personal time usually gets moved to the bottom of the list when things get hectic. However, when personal time is neglected, everything else tends to suffer. Set aside time to relax and have fun everyday without interruptions.

Connect with others
Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. Plan times to video chat or talk on the phone with friends and family.

Know you’re not alone
The Plymouth State community is more vibrant and supportive now than it has ever been. Counseling Services are working diligently to be able to hold remote counseling appointments.

If you are in emotional crisis you may go to your local emergency room, call your local community mental health center, or call the following. National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-TALK/8255) and/or via text (texting HOME to 741741)