According to a public opinion poll conducted March 26 – April 5, 2021, among a sample of 1,000 adults 18 years of age and older, released by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), young adults, ages 18 to 29 (49%) are more likely to say they are more anxious now compared to last year, despite available vaccinations for COVID-19. (1)
The American Psychological Association recommends the following strategies to cope with Covid related stress as a student (2):
PRACTICE SELF-CARE (2)
- Get enough sleep.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat well.
- Find activities that engage different parts of yourself.
- Occupy your mind with puzzles.
- Engage your senses with hot baths or fragrant candles.
- Look for tasks you can postpone or simply eliminate from your to-do list.
- Resources to improve self-care:
- OSU-Silvercloud has resources on anxiety, covid 19, stress and resilience
- Mindfulness, relaxation, and Body scan techniques at the OSU Wexner Medical Center
- OSU SMART lab.
- Nutrition coaching with The OSU Student Wellness Center.
FIND WAYS TO FOCUS (2)
- You might feel unmotivated now. Recognize that the current circumstances are hard for everyone. Don’t judge yourself; just do the best you can.
- Establish a routine. Get up, go to bed and do your work at the same time every day.
- Frequent breaks can help you re-engage in your work.
- Try to create a separate work space, although you should reserve your sleeping area for sleeping. If family members are distracting you, use “I statements” to explain the problem—“I’m worried about my exam next week”—and work together to develop solutions.
- Resources to improve focus:
SEEK OUT SOCIAL SUPPORT (2)
- To combat isolation, plan ahead to schedule time to connect with friends and family.
- Resources to improve social support:
HELP OTHERS COPE (2)
- Your classmates and family members may be anxious, too.
- You don’t have to fix their problems. It’s enough to let them know they’re not alone.
- Our mental health support options may be helpful:
FIND WAYS TO MANAGE DISAPPOINTMENT (2)
- Grieve losses, then reframe how you think about these life events. Think about how you can honor what you’ve achieved.
- Find new ways to celebrate. Consider recreating important events once it’s safe.
LIMIT YOUR MEDIA CONSUMPTION (2)
- While it’s important to stay informed, too much news—especially social media—can add to your anxiety. To avoid being overwhelmed, set limits on your media consumption and smartphone use.
- Resources on technology and mental health: https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2020/12/11/593/
FOCUS ON THINGS YOU CAN CONTROL (2)
- Your classmates, friends, or family members may be disobeying the rules about physical distancing or doing other things that add to your stress.
- While modeling good behavior and staying safe yourself, recognize that you can’t control what other people do.
- Instead of worrying about our ambiguous future, focus on solving immediate problems.
- While returning to campus during COVID can be anxiety provoking for some, practicing self-care and being realistic with your self can help.
- With this in mind, it may be useful to have a back-up plan, or willingness to adjust if things are not going as well as expected, despite your best effort.
- Mary DeCenzo, LISW-S, ACTRP-C, OSU CCS Embedded Clinician, Fisher College of Business says, “Avoid making Value judgements, think twice speak once”, and consider becoming involved in OSU student organizations.
- Check out the Buckeyes Back Together Workshop on Wednesdays, facilitated by OSU-CCS therapist, Claire Simon MSW, LISW-S.
- Dr Stefanie Day, EdD, PCC-S, Embedded Clinician, OSU College of Engineering, and OSU-CCS, suggests looking into a student organization called SKY Campus Happiness.
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By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist
Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.