The mental health impact of this pandemic is very real. If you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or depressed, you are not alone. Most people have never experienced such a large-scale challenge, and this one may affect our mental and physical well-being, our finances, our social connections, and the health and safety of our loved ones. Isolation, changes in school and employment, and concern about our families and friends can increase feelings of worry, fear, and sadness. It’s even harder to navigate these challenges when we may not have access to our typical coping strategies and ways of practicing self-care.
We’re all learning new ways to cope and adapt to new daily habits and uncertainty about what the future holds. Please check out the resources below for help in developing and maintaining healthy habits, and for information about ways to access help if you need it.
Text “@Stress” to 73940 to get personalized stress management techniques sent to your phone.
We will check in with you occasionally to see how you are doing and we will send you regular tips and reminders for lowering stress, customized to your individual stress level. We have adapted some of our content to be particularly helpful in addressing COVID-19 related stress.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) will be providing all services by secure Zoom or telephone. Please call the reception desk at 509-335-4511 during regular business hours to access services, whether you are a current counseling client, current psychiatry client, or a student who wants to start counseling.
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
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!)
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
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.
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
Help others in your community
Stay physically active
Take short breaks throughout the day instead of sitting for long periods of time
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.