There are many different reactions and responses that one will have during the Coronavirus outbreak. This could include physical and emotional responses that you might be experiencing for the first time, or with a different intensity than you’ve felt before. As these reactions can impact both you physical and mental health, it’s important to bring awareness to your reactions in order to understand how to cope with them.
It’s normal to feel fear, anxiety, anger, grief, sadness or confusion during this time. This could show up in the following ways:
Fear and Anxiety
· Excessively checking media, news, and other related articles as a symptom of anxiety. This can lead to trouble concentrating, difficulty sleeping, and increased heart rate. As information changes rapidly these actions can give you a feeling of control over something that is ambiguous or unknown.
· You may start to notice that you’re thinking more about contamination and concern that you have contracted the virus. This may include being preoccupied about symptoms of illness, examining your daily actions for risks of infection, and habitually checking WebMD or google for a medical diagnosis.
· In addition, anxiety can also lead to excessive cleaning and sanitizing of spaces, continually making trips to excessively stock up on items, and the constant need to sanitize hands.
· You might feel anger and frustration about the outbreak of Coronavirus. This anger could be directed at the need to change your daily routines, or even at specific people for their choices and responses during this time. As the different preventative and precautionary measures have been issued, such as online classes, it can be frustrating to redefine what being a student looks like during this time.
· Additionally, you might also feel anger towards social media and media coverage that contributes to a sense of frustration.
Grief and Sadness
· You may be feeling grief right now. You likely have had to cancel important plans and celebrations, like a special spring break trip or a large campus event. You might be grieving the idea of your “perfect senior year” pre-graduation, which may be challenging to uphold when you can’t be on campus, or when you are separated from your friends. While we know the COVID-19 pandemic won’t last forever, there might be anticipatory grief about both the loss of your normal life right now and unknowns of the future. This could look like anxiously focusing on the worst possible outcomes and having difficulty living in the present moment.
· You might also feel sad and overwhelmed about things you’ve had to change. Sometimes these emotions lead to periods of low mood, feeling a loss of energy, difficulty concentrating, reduced
motivation, and feeling isolated. It might be hard to feel hopeful about the future when there are many unknowns.
· Over the last few months the information about Coronavirus has rapidly changed, and information continues to evolve. This can be disorienting and confusing as recommendations change and you make decisions to keep or reschedule plans and travel. You might feel unsure about what your role is in enacting different precautionary measures of social distancing or about what to make of the statistics being reported in the media.
Stay informed - It’s important to find a balance between staying informed and protecting yourself from the overload of information in the news and media. It may be helpful to set up time limits to check the news (e.g., 1 hour a day) and find non-sensationalizing news sites that are reliable. It’s okay if these limits need to change- perhaps your initial time limit ends up leading to heightened anxiety and could be reduced. Additionally, try to avoid exposing yourself to news during the evening when your brain is winding down and you are preparing for bed.
Be attentive – Pay attention to your internal reactions during this time. As you bring increased awareness to your emotional and physical responses, you can get important information about what you need in order to cope with each feeling or sensation. For example, if you’re noticing your anxiety increasing, it’s important to note what happened right before the increase in anxiety (e.g., looking at the news). You then can decide what choices might decrease your anxiety, like reducing how much time you spend reading news. · Seattle U students can access the Sanvello mobile application for free which provides evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy approaches to address symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.
Routine - Establishing a supportive routine can help both your mind and body during periods of stress. This includes maintaining a consistent schedule for sleeping, eating, moving your body, and socializing. Sticking to a routine can help create a sense of normalcy and control.
Connect - Stay connected with your friends and family. Sharing your thoughts and concerns with loved ones can help relieve feelings of stress and isolation. You may be trying new, creative ways of fostering connection, like watching a movie together over Skype or FaceTime, having a joint study session, or having dinner while in a video or phone call. Try to widen the topics you’re discussing with your support systems rather than focusing all conversations on the virus. Visit the Center for Student Involvement’s Virtual Community Building to connect with fellow SU students.
Redefine – Significant plans might have been changed due to the virus outbreak. Recognizing and accepting that this will have an impact on you and your community is part of the process to help redefine what comes next. This could mean coming up with unique ways to celebrate with friends, staying connected, and starting to let go of previous plans.
Monitor social media - Examine your social media usage. It’s important to be mindful of the amount of social media that you’re consuming and what type of information is being shared on media platforms. Although social media can be in an invaluable way to connect with community, it can also lead to misinformation and increased exposure to the news. Be cautious about checking these sites before bed to help mitigate that risk.
Keep perspective – The coronavirus is a health concern that is being taken seriously by Seattle University and public health officials. It’s important to not let your worry about the virus take control of your life. Work on creating new routines and recognize what you can and can’t control.
Extending compassion - Extend compassion to yourself and your community. Remember that COVID-19 doesn’t recognize race, nationality, or ethnicity. Wearing a mask does not mean a person is ill. Disrupt stigma by sharing accurate information, and speak up if you hear, see, or read misinformation, witness or experience harassment or discrimination. Practicing compassion can also help you feel less alone in what you are experiencing. Consider trying a guided meditation to help increase your connection to our common humanity during this difficult time. · As always, you may report concerns of discrimination to the Office of Institutional Equity (206-296-2824; firstname.lastname@example.org).
Seattle University has transitioned to online classes from in-person instruction for the remainder of Winter and Spring quarters 2020 due to the outbreak of Coronavirus. This can be a challenging adjustment for many students who are used to the structure and learning environment offered in the classroom. Studying at home can present its own difficulties and distractions, and you might find yourself struggling to feel as motivated and productive as you were before. In addition to academic distress, you might be experiencing other emotions like sadness, anxiety, disappointment, or loneliness. Working and studying from home requires some different skills and more self-starting than you might be used to. Here are some suggestions that might be helpful for you in completing your work at home.
o Create a schedule for your time and try your best to commit to it. Waking up and going to bed around the same time every day, practicing good hygiene, and changing your clothes can help signal to you that your day is getting started.
o Set a start and stop time for your work so you know when to go to your workspace and when to take time away. Scheduling your day into class time, study time, chore time, and free time can help keep you structured without feeling like “I should be working”- you get to come back at your designated time tomorrow.
o Create the routine that works for you. If you focus best in the late afternoon/early evening, don’t set your study time at 8am. It may take a little trial and error to find a schedule that works best for your brain and body.
o Create a workspace that fosters focus, limits distractions, and keeps your work together so other places can feel more relaxing. This should be a clear boundary you keep for yourself; try your best to keep your school work and studying in this designated space, so
that when you leave to take a break, you can physically distance yourself, too. Ideally, this space would be quiet with minimal distractions.
o Consider the reliability of technology in your work area. Is your chosen workspace near an outlet if you need to charge your device or plug in your desktop? Do you have adequate Wi-Fi or cell phone signal in this location for calls and meetings? Is it relatively out of the way of common spaces with others you may be living with? Using headphones may help limit outside noises and make it easier to hear lectures and meetings.
o Consider adding other things to your environment that feel pleasant and make it easier to concentrate. Ideally, your workspace is one that is comfortable for you, not something you dread. Ideas to consider: a supportive chair; adequate lighting to reduce eye strain; quiet music that isn’t distracting; a comfortable temperature; motivational messages or soothing artwork; energizing scents like mint or citrus...
o Working at home requires some discipline, and you must “show up” to your classes in order to get the learning out of it. Treat your designated class time like any other commitment you might have.
o Consider keeping a planner or calendar with important due dates and assignments so that you can prioritize what tasks need to happen first.
o Procrastination can be tempting when your structure is lacking. Set realistic goals during your study/work sessions to break down big projects and make them more achievable.
o Avoid multitasking as much as possible- you might think it’s helping you get more done in the same amount of time, when in reality it’s just dividing your attention so multiple things aren’t getting done as well as you might like them to be.
o You might find it is harder to focus for long lectures and study sessions using technology. Take frequent, small breaks especially during your long workdays. Stretch, walk around the room, drink some water, have a snack, look out the window, move your body, take 5 deep breaths, walk around the block. Let your eyes and brain attend to other things than your screen.
o Take notes during lectures just as you would a normal class. This can make it easier to concentrate on what’s being shared in the lecture as well as keep your hands occupied.
o Being on your computer or device watching a lecture makes it tempting to “multi-task” and engage in reading the news, social media, or other distractions. Do your best to stay on the task at hand. If this is especially challenging for you, consider using the available tools and extensions designed for limiting distractions to increase productivity. Check out the link below for some tools to use for website blocking:
o Ask questions and participate in the discussions offered during and between lectures. Some people find certain material is harder to grasp in online form when they can’t be as “hands on” with the material. Ask questions as soon as you have them to ensure you’re getting the most out of the material.
o Your instructors want you to succeed and are here to help you learn. Reach out to set up meetings, “office hours,” or email conversations about questions you have regarding course materials.
o Build relationships with your classmates. You can still engage in study groups, work on homework together, and build connections in online class formats. This can be a great way to ensure you understand the material and to maintain social support. If you’re the first one to suggest this to your peers, chances are it will be just as helpful for them as it is for you.
o Make use of the campus resources available to you for support if you need it. The offices listed below have remote or virtual meetings available:
Campus Ministry - Campus Ministers are still available to “meet” remotely with students who are seeking care and conversation during this time.
o Set aside time to stay connected to your classmates, friends, and family. Consider adding social time to your schedule for the day (e.g., from 3-4 I take a break and call someone to talk). You might also set up phone/Skype “dates” with friends and family if you’re working across time zones to ensure you stay connected.
o Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night, nourishing your body with a variety of meals and snacks, drinking enough water, and engaging in supportive movement can all increase your focus and concentration. Maintain your physical health by following medical recommendations, such as washing your hands. When your body isn’t operating optimally, your brain won’t be either.
The Coronavirus outbreak has caused a significant disruption to many colleges and universities. As Seattle U students are returning home to start their spring quarter classes online, you might be feeling a range of emotions and reactions. You might be confused, anxious, angry, or sad that plans and routines have changed. You might also be excited at spending more time with your student or relieved to have them close by. It may be that you and your student are having different reactions to this transition and their movement back home. This adjustment period can be disorienting and it’s important to recognize that there’s no right way to respond. Below are outlined some ways to support your student and yourself as they return home.
During this time it’s important to allow space for both you and your student to readjust. Your student might have established different study, sleep, and social schedules during their time at college that might be unfamiliar to you. It will take some time to adjust to a schedule that both you and your student feel comfortable with. This new schedule might look different than when your student lived at home previously, and it can be important to extend grace both to yourself and your student in trying to find a good balanced routine. Having an open conversation about schedule expectations is important in setting up a supportive learning and living environment for your student as they transition back home.
Students are also coming back home experiencing a range of emotional responses and reactions. They might be upset that they are missing out on events with friends, or anxious about coursework online. It might take time for your student to understand what they are feeling, and it might vary over time. You can check in with your student and ask what support would be helpful in this life transition. Some students might find support in shared experiences such as watching a movie or going for a walk. Additionally, you can support students by letting them create their own coping strategies and helping them achieve what they have identified works best for them. This could look like a student seeking reassurance when looking at the news and media about the virus. You can also refer your student to the CAPS website which outlines ways to help students cope with stress regarding Coronavirus and ways to adjust to online learning.
One of the biggest adjustments during this time is the change to online learning. It’s normal to feel anxious and uncertain about how this transition will go. Some suggestions are listed below to help parents navigate this transition:
· Create a physical space where your student can work with limited distractions and minimal interruptions from the rest of the family; it may be helpful for this area to be out of the way, rather than somewhere like the kitchen table that is a common space. Try to respect this as “their space” for doing work during their scheduled times, just as if they had left to attend class.
· Establish a boundary between home and school or work. This can help signal to your student that when they are in “school mode” they will have dedicated space and uninterrupted time to watch lectures, finish assignments, and reach out to professors for help during office hours. Talk about options for how to communicate when they are in “school mode:” are there set hours? Can there be a “do not disturb” sign posted on their door or in a common area? Do your part to respect the boundary set by your student about their work by not interrupting them in these times.
o Additionally, this might be helpful for you if you are also working from home. Consider how you and your student can have separate, private workspaces.
· Try to maintain a pattern of similar communication that you had with your student while they were at school regarding their academic performance. If you checked in with you student every week to see how tests and assignments were going it might be helpful to stick to the same routine when your student is completing their online coursework.
· Some students might experience increased pressure to succeed when completing schoolwork from home. As a parent it’s important to acknowledge that your student might be feeling this way and to work with your student to come up with strategies to reduce this pressure. This might look like helping your student normalize that this transition can be challenging for different reasons and that everyone will adjust differently to this new way of learning.
· Students working online may feel disconnected from their academic community more than they did when working or living on campus. If it seems appropriate, you can gently remind the student that many of the same resources are still available to them from SU through distance-accessible formats, such as online meetings with professors, Zoom study sessions with classmates and virtual meetings with:
This is an unprecedented time and information continues to evolve rapidly. You might also be experiencing anxiety, anger, and uncertainty during this time. Part of how you can take care of your student is by taking good care of your own physical and emotional wellbeing. Not only does this leave you with the energy, health, and patience you need to support other people, but also it sets a good example for your student to follow of what adaptive coping can look like. Listed below are suggestions for both students and parents to cope with stress and uncertainty during this time:
Staying Informed — It’s important to find a balance between staying informed and protecting yourself from the overload of information in the news and media. It may be helpful to set up time limits to check the news (e.g., 1 hour a day) and find non-sensationalizing news sites that are reliable. It’s okay if these limits need to change—perhaps your initial time limit ends up leading to heightened anxiety and could be reduced. Avoid reading or watching news in the evening while preparing for bed. Seattle University is posting all campus Coronavirus updates to the https://www.seattleu.edu/coronavirus/ page.
Staying Connected — Stay connected with your friends and family. Sharing your thoughts and concerns with loved ones can help relieve feelings of stress and isolation. You may be trying new, creative ways of fostering connection, like watching a movie together over Skype or FaceTime, having a joint study session, or having dinner while in a video or phone call. Try to widen the topics you’re discussing with your support systems rather than focusing all conversations on the virus or the news.
Creating a Routine — Establishing a supportive routine can help both your mind and body during periods of stress. This includes maintaining a consistent schedule for sleeping, eating, moving your body, and socializing. Sticking to a routine can help create a sense of normalcy and control.
Consider getting professional help – If you have tried your regular coping strategies and are still struggling with adjusting or feeling overwhelmed, it may be helpful for you to talk to a professional about what you are going through. Many therapists and counselors in local communities are now offering teletherapy services so you can get more personalized strategies for coping while staying safe in your home. Psychology Today has a nationwide referral database. There are also organizations like BetterHelp that specialize in accessible teletherapy.
The links below will direct you to web sites that are not managed or maintained by Seattle University. CAPS provides these links for your convenience but assumes no responsibility for information found on these web sites.
If you or someone around you is experiencing an emergency or are in a crisis, please call one of the numbers below to get in touch with someone right away: