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Cougar Health Services Educational Info

Mental Well Being – Time Management

illustration of student alone in room working at a desktop computer with icons of a clock and calendar indicating a busy life

As school and work transitions to a virtual environment, it can take time to adjust to a new schedule. As you make this transition to studying and working for home, there are different things you can do to be intentional with your time.

What You Can Do

  • Plan ahead by creating a daily and/or weekly schedule
    • Fill a calendar or planner with due dates for the rest of the semester
    • Schedule in time for reading, study, and completing assignments
    • Also schedule in time for non-school related things such as time with your pet
  • Focus on one task at a time and set time limits for each task
  • Prepare your workspace
    • Find a comfortable, well-lit place to complete your work and studies
    • Make sure you have the office supplies and technology you need to work from home
  • Block distractions
    • Turn off social media
    • Try using a timer app such as the Focus Keeper or Flora
  • Take breaks and reward yourself (ex: watch your favorite show, engage in some leisurely fun, get active)
  • Stay hydrated and eat regular meals
    • Use down time to meal prep for the week
  • Be early to online meetings to plan for potential technology problems
  • Leave buffer time in your schedule so your tasks aren’t back to back

General Resources

WSU Resources

Mental Well Being – Staying Connected

illustration of two separate students looking at their phone and computer, connecting with eachother by these devices
While social distancing means we are spending more time alone, we can be intentional with how we use this time. Being alone is a time to reminisce and reflect on the people and connections in your life. Take this time to show your gratitude and appreciation to those who have meant a lot to you.

What You Can Do

  • Create virtual study groups
  • Make it a priority to set up social time with your friends virtually, such as using Netflix Party to watch a movie with friends
  • Interact with your instructors, especially if you are struggling with online learning
  • Explore virtual art museums
  • Limit news consumption to reliable sources
  • Create and follow a daily routine
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • Recognize there is a difference between being alone and being lonely
  • Practice mindfulness or start a gratitude journal to help manage stress and stay positive
  • Get outside and be one with nature (as long as you are implementing CDC guidelines of course!)

General Resources

WSU Resources

  • GIESORC – virtual sessions are offered for students to connect with their center
  • Women*s Center – community Zoom hours on Thursdays from 4:00-6:00 PM

Mental Well Being – Healthy Relationships

Healthy Relationships 

Maintaining healthy relationships is vital to every aspect of our wellness (physical, mental, emotional, etc.). Connecting with friends and family members in a positive and healthy way allows us to grow as human beings, all while helping and supporting the growth of others.

What You Can Do

  • Stay connected through phone calls and video chats
  • If you live with your significant other, give each other some space so as not to get on each other’s nerves
  • Play a low-stress game (low level of competitiveness)
  • Watch a lighthearted movie
  • Do separate activities but in the same room together
  • Consider calling a truce on arguments to make living under one roof bearable
  • Have virtual date nights (dinner, glass of wine, candles, etc.)
  • Take a walk by yourself to lighten up any tension and to give each other some space

General Resources

WSU Resources

Mental Well Being – Depression & Anxiety

Illustration of a student sitting on a couch alone with dark clouds forming around their head.
Uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 have the potential to raise our stress and anxiety levels, thus affecting our mental health. It is vital during this time to make your mental health a priority while exploring options of telehealth and delivery of medications. Engage in self-care techniques that work best for you and remember to stick to your routines so as not to allow fear to affect your mental illness.

What You Can Do

  • Reframe “I am stuck inside” to “I can finally focus on my home and myself”
  • Stay as close to your normal routine as possible including sleep, meals, showers, and taking medications
  • Avoid obsessing over COVID-19 news coverage. Use reliable sources and look at news for no more than 1 hour daily.
  • Schedule in cleaning and organizing – an organized place will help your mood!
  • Start new rituals such as a daily walk or journaling
  • Use telehealth as an option to talk to a professional if your anxiety becomes unmanageable
  • Plan for how to access medication
    • Don’t wait until the last minute to get refills. Plan ahead.
    • If you moved back home, remember to transfer prescriptions to a pharmacy near where you currently live
    • Ask for 90-day refills to limit trips to the pharmacy
    • Utilize medication delivery services if they are available through your pharmacy or insurance
      • Call your prescriber and see if they offer telehealth sessions to discuss medication.
      • For injectable medications, contact your prescriber to learn about options for where to get future injection medications.

General Resources

WSU Resources

Mental Well Being – Physical & Mental Wellness

Physical/Mental Wellness

Taking care of your physical and mental wellbeing are important to stay healthy and manage stress during this time.

What You Can Do

  • Set a limit on how much time you check the news for updates
    • It is ok to stay up to date on news of COVID-19, especially if you have loved ones in places where people have gotten sick. It is also important to have limits on how much time you spend reading or watching news updates – the more you are exposed to news updates, the more your stress can increase.
  • Connect with friends, loved ones, and others in your support system
    • Talk about your feelings
    • Listen to others if they need to talk
    • Respect others who need time alone
  • Practice self-care
  • Help others in your community
  • Stay physically active
    • Take short breaks throughout the day instead of sitting for long periods of time
    • Try out a virtual workout
    • Go on a walk
    • Remember to stay hydrated

General Resources

WSU Resources

Mental Well Being – Stress Management

Student working at desktop computer with many windows open on the screen and text bubbles and emails hovering around the computer.

Anxiety, loneliness, stress, and isolation are normal to experience right now. However, feeling stressed or anxious can negatively impact your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health over time. It is important to know how to cope with stress in healthy ways and to know where you can get support.

What You Can Do

  • Recognize your stress
  • Keep yourself healthy
    • Eat, drink, and sleep regularly
    • Do physical exercise, such as using UREC’s virtual workouts.
    • Reduce caffeine and alcohol
  • Take time to relax in ways that works best for you
    • Take deep breaths
    • Go on a walk
    • Stretch
    • Meditate
    • Enjoy fun hobbies
    • Read a good book
    • Listen to music
  • Create a structure for your day
    • Keep a calendar
    • Set up a routine for your day
    • Schedule in time for breaks and self-care
    • Be mindful of others you live with, whether family or roommates

General Resources

WSU Resources

Protect yourself from flu

girl using hand sanitizer

We’re in the middle of a very active flu season and we’re starting to see cases of influenza at our medical clinic. Here’s how you can protect yourself from the flu and get the care you need!

Know the symptoms

Make sure you know the symptoms of flu and cold, and when to see a health care provider. Remember that flu viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics.

If you feel sick, stay home

You might not want to miss class, work, or other responsibilities, but the most important thing you can do is rest and avoid spreading germs to others.

According to the university policy on absences, instructors cannot require written excuses from health care professionals. If your instructor asks for a note, you can provide the Cougar Health Services letter on excused student absences.

Get medical care

You can make an appointment at our medical clinic online or over the phone. Keep in mind that our same-day appointments are limited due to short-staffing. If you need or want to seek care from a community provider, we can help you with referrals and questions.

You can also call our main line at 509-335-3575 for 24/7 advice from nursing staff. When the clinic is closed, your call will be directed to a nurse at Harborview Medical Center.

If you have mild cold or flu symptoms, check out our guide on managing symptoms at home.

Protect yourself from flu

Try to avoid spreading germs and practice healthy habits for preventing flu. If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, there’s still time! The peak of flu season can run through March, and flu activity can continue until May.

Flu shots are covered in full by most insurances. Check with your insurance provider for details on your coverage and where to go. You can check with our clinic on our flu shot supplies and make an appointment by calling 509-335-3575.

WSU Monitoring 2019 Novel Coronavirus

The health of the Cougar community is our priority. We want to provide accurate resources for current information and preventative tips to help minimize the spread of illness. Updates that are specific to the WSU community will be provided on the Cougar Health Services website.

We are working with Whitman County Public Health and other University leadership to monitor an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed the first cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the U.S. Current information about the coronavirus is provided by the CDC

What is this novel coronavirus (2019‑nCoV)?

2019‑nCoV is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Since then, the virus has been identified in multiple other countries, including cases in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. This new virus is a public health concern because:

  • It is newly identified, so much is still unknown about it.
  • Two other human coronaviruses, MERS‑CoV and SARS‑CoV, have caused severe illness.

What is the risk?

The CDC considers this new virus a serious public health threat. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak an international public health emergency.

That said, the CDC considers the immediate health risk from 2019‑nCoV to the general American public to be low at this time. There are no confirmed cases among WSU community members.

As of January 31, 2020, there are only six confirmed cases in the United States, one of which is in Snohomish County and is unrelated to WSU.

Information about the symptoms, transmission and treatment for 2019‑nCoV is available on the CDC webpage.

Can you travel to or from China?

The CDC has issued a level 3 warning for travel to China and recommends avoiding all non‑essential travel to China. The U.S. Department of State updated its China Travel Advisory on January 30, 2020, to “Do Not Travel” to China.

Accordingly, we ask that members of the WSU community not travel to China, until such time as the CDC and Department of State downgrade their travel advisories.

If you must travel to China:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to Wuhan with their health care provider.

In addition, if you must travel to China, register your travel through WSU’s international travel insurance. By registering your travel, emergency assistance is more readily available and you will have access to specific risk information about your destination(s).

What are the best prevention measures?

There is no vaccine to prevent this virus. The CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Where is WSU posting information about the 2019‑nCoV outbreak?

Updates and additional information are available on the Cougar Health Services website.

If you have questions about travel to or from China, please contact Global Services in International Programs:; 509‑335‑4508.

If you have personal medical questions, please contact your medical provider.



The flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu. For students, Cougar Health Services still has flu vaccines available. Schedule an appointment for a flu shot by calling 509-335-3575.

For more information about the Coronavirus, international travel safety, the seasonal flu, and ways to stay healthy, please visit the following links:


Consent and sex: What you need to know

Close up to two peoples' shoes

College students around the country have lots of questions about consent and sex. So let’s talk about it. WSU has a specific definition of consent when it comes to sexual activity: it must be clear, knowing, and voluntary. Consent is important because it involves giving and getting permission. This ensures both people feel comfortable and makes the experience that much better.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to have an awkward conversation that completely ruins the moment or sign a contract to get consent. Getting clear, knowing, voluntary consent is easy. Getting and giving consent is ongoing and involves checking in with your partner both verbally and non-verbally. For example, ask yourself:

  • Do they look happy to be there?
  • Do they say “yes” when you ask if they like what is happening?
  • Do they know what they are consenting to?

Alcohol or drug use can impact the ability to give consent.  When someone is incapacitated by alcohol or drugs, they lose the ability to be fully aware of what’s going on around them. If someone doesn’t know what’s going on, then they’re unable to give consent. Ask yourself, “Do I feel comfortable letting this person drive right now?”  If your answer is not a definitive and instant ”yes”, then it’s a good time to step back and assess whether or not that person is able to give consent.

In a nutshell, consent means giving and getting permission to engage in sexual activity.  It means you and your partner both really want to be doing what you’re doing, and you’re both excited about it and enjoy it. Getting and giving consent is about being a good partner and making sure everyone is in agreement.

Want to learn more? Check out this video by sex educator Laci Green entitled, Wanna Have Sex? (Consent 101). (Please note this video includes strong language and sexual content.)


Violence prevention toolkit for faculty & staff

Violence prevention toolkit for faculty & staff

As faculty and staff, we’re in a unique position to shape the climate of the university. We typically stay in the area and at the university longer, and many of us are in frequent contact with students.

When it comes to violence prevention, there are many ways faculty and staff help set the tone for students. You can play a critical role in efforts to reduce sex- and gender-based violence on campus.

Stalking, intimate partner violence and sexual assault are complex, difficult problems to address and it’s easy to become discouraged.

We firmly believe that while no one can do everything to stop violence, everyone can do something. To get started, check out our toolkit below for ideas and resources you can use in the year ahead.

For faculty

  • Use your syllabus. Link to Cougar Health Services and the Office for Equal Opportunity (OEO) in your syllabus. OEO provides sample syllabus language about campus policy prohibiting discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.
  • Need to cancel class? Call us! If you’re ill or planning to be out, request a workshop on violence prevention from our health promotion team.
  • Have a discussion. Talk with your class, student workers, and colleagues about interpersonal violence.
  • Encourage Green Dot participation. Consider providing extra credit to students who attend Green Dot training.

 For all employees

By taking action in our everyday lives, we can all do something to help stop violence on our campus.