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Cougar Health Services COVID-19

Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

student in room studying book

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.

Virtual Workshops with CAPS Staff

Tips and Resources from our CAPS Counselors in Cougar Health Services:

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.

You may also benefit from checking out techniques to cope with worry, stress, anxiety and depression as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, outlined by our community partners at Palouse River Counseling (PRC).

Counseling and Psychological Services

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.

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
  • 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
  • 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