Emotional wellness and COVID-19

We’re all likely experiencing some emotional discomfort (or worse!)—given the spread of COVID-19 and the disruption to our lives.

Grief at losing out on experiences, frustration, uncertainty—all are normal reactions at this time. The situation is new and unpredictable! And the College’s precautionary change to remote learning represents a major sea-change for us all. So how do we stay emotionally well during these times, when we’re separated from friends and our college “home?”

The COVID-19 pandemic

Know that the College is committed to you: You’re the reason we exist! So we’re working very hard to plan carefully and ensure your studies, growth, and campus connections continue.

Be careful of COVID-19 overload. Limit the time you spend taking in COVID-19 news. It’s coming at us from all directions and this can be downright overwhelming. Turn off/stop reading the news. Maybe check in once a day.

Be careful of COVID-19 misinformation. Rumors abound about what’s open, what’s not, what’s closing, and so on. Check out rumors for yourself by going to reputable sources. Check out state and local government sites for up to date information about closings. Go to the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for correct information about the virus.

Take care of your body

Our emotions reside in our bodies, so take good care of yours! Here are some important ways to look after your body:

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule—try to go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time.
  • Work towards maintaining good nutrition and regular meals.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Limit caffeine intake.
  • Get some exercise!
  • Spend some time outside, in nature, especially.
  • Practice deep breathing, relaxation, yoga, Qigong. Not sure how to do these? YouTube!
  • Try taking up an activity that requires use of your body and mind, which can give you an emotional break: knitting, art, playing an instrument, etc.

Maintain social connections and routine

Social connection is really good for us too! Maintain social distance, of course, but stay in touch with friends. You might even try the old-fashioned art of letter writing!

Maintain a schedule, just as you would if at school. Meals, classes, study time, relaxation time. Having a schedule helps us contain emotions and feel a sense of control.

Acknowledge your experience

Consider keeping a journal about what this experience is like for you. But be sure to end your daily entry with three good things about the day, however small, to help keep your spirits up.

Maintain perspective. While this is a huge event for all of us, remind yourself of what’s good in your life and what’s important: health, friends, being able to continue towards your degree, religion, and spirituality.

Animals and kindness

Spend time with your four-legged friends. Some snuggle time with your pets can make a tough day a lot easier.

Take the focus off of yourself: do something kind for someone else. If you can’t visit in person, call!

Find resources that work for you

Look through the educational resources on the Counseling Services website. There’s a lot of good info there.

Consider making use on one of the many mental health apps that are available for free and for pay. You might find this list of helpful mental health apps useful in finding something that speaks to you.

Here are some additional wellness-related apps.

Android and iOS apps for mental health and wellness
Category Android market Apple (iOS)
Music and sounds
Meditation, breathing, and yoga

If you need help

If you feel you need more assistance in the form of counseling, read on.

  • Please phone us if you would like to speak with a counselor, regardless of whether you are on-or off-campus! We are here to help.
    • We are able to provide therapy to most and can assist in finding local providers when necessary. We cannot provide therapy to students who are out of the country, and there are a few states that do not allow us to practice over state lines. But call us to see how we can help you where you are.
  • If you want to find your own off-campus provider...
    • Contact your insurance provider for a list of local providers who accept your insurance. Look at your insurance card or insurance-company website for information about how to do so.
    • Your insurance carrier may have a provision for teletherapy services. Contact your insurance company for information.
    • Your primary-care doctor’s office may be able to provide referral suggestions to you.
    • Psychology Today will allow you to locate local therapists who accept your insurance.
    • You may want to consider online mental health services such as TalkSpace.
    • Students who remain abroad can contact the College’s iSOS program for referral assistance while abroad.
    • 211.org allows you to type in your ZIP code for local information about Essential Needs, Crisis and Emergency, COVID-19, Service Providers, and Disaster Assistance
  • If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis…
    • Go to your local hospital emergency department.
    • Use the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    • Use the crisis text line: 741741
  • If you need further assistance, we are happy to consult with you. Please phone our office to schedule a time for a brief “meeting.” We will be using the Zoom app (HIPAA-compliant version), so please download it to your smartphone. If you do not have access to a smartphone or prefer a phone conversation, we are happy to speak with you by phone, but phone calls are not HIPAA-compliant. This means your conversation cannot be assured to be confidential. For now, we are maintaining regular business hours: 8:30-5, M-F.

Finally, know that we, like you, are monitoring the situation and will adapt to changing circumstances.

Stay well, safe, and healthy!

—Counseling Services