Anxiety Management Tips and Resources for Covid-19

  • Accept that life will be different for the foreseeable future. 
    • Know that there are a lot of things out of your control, and that flexibility will continue to be required.  Focus your energy and attention on the things you can control, such as your attitude toward these adjustments, and your efforts to take care of yourself and others.
    • Arm yourself with accurate information.  Stay informed about our campus response through the school website.  Find out facts about the virus and tips on how to protect yourself from the CDC or WHO
    • Create a new routine.  Structure can help create a sense of control and safety for our well-being. Developing rhythms of rest, exercise, work time, recreation time, and connection time can create a sense of stability and make us more productive. Don’t forget to build in intentional breaks to move your body, change tasks, and rest from screen time throughout your day. 
    • Develop goals.  Think about the plans you had that you can still accomplish, perhaps with some adjustments.  Identify the new opportunities that you may have to do things you did not expect.
  • Cultivate a positive outlook.
    • Limit your intake of news and social media if it is increasing your anxiety.  Focus on the expert information sources above rather than the latest sensational post or headline.  Just as we take care of our physical hygiene, consider your media hygiene (e.g. when you look at news, the kind of news you look at, etc). 
    • Develop a “learner’s mindset” about the challenges you are facing.  What do they teach you about your values, your coping strategies, and your relationships?  How can you learn as much as possible from this situation?
    • Remember that you have made it through challenges in the past, and think about the internal resources and the support systems that helped you get through them.  Identifying the coping strategies that you already have and how you can activate them in your present situation.
    • Intentionally seek out posts and people that bring you hope.  Spend time each day identifying things for which you feel grateful.
    • Do not assume the worst.  It is easy to focus on crisis scenarios, especially when those around us are panicking.  However, keep in mind that the worst case is only one outcome among many possibilities.
  • Keep clear priorities.  We can get overwhelmed by all the things that we feel like we could or should be doing.  Make it easier on yourself by focusing on one thing at a time.
  • Be careful that “social distancing” doesn’t turn into “social isolation.” The goal is to reduce contact between large numbers of people - but isolation can have a negative impact on mental health. 
    • Develop ways to stay connected to your support system.  Take advantage of online resources to chat and enjoy time with friends and family remotely.
    • Stay aware of those around you, and take the initiative to reach out to others. Remember especially those who are most vulnerable to illness or stress; offering mutual support can be good for you as well as for them.
  • Make extra time for self-care. Times of higher stress require us to be more intentional about taking care of ourselves.  Remember basic healthy coping strategies such as developing a routine, spending time outside, exercising, getting enough sleep, eating regularly and staying hydrated, and focusing on things other than this disease. 
  • Notice when you are feeling anxious, and take small steps to regulate yourself, such as:
    • Feel your feet on the ground. Notice wherever your body is in contact with something supported. If it feels difficult to notice points of grounding, use hands to create intentional points of pressure (e.g. gently squeeze the forearms, upper arm and shoulders). 
    • Find the rhythm of your breath. First just noticing the inhale, the exhale and the pause between breaths. If there is tightness in the chest, stay with noticing. If there is room, consider taking a deep breath in, as if you were smelling a delicious flower.  Slowly exhale, as if you were blowing out a candle. Calming your breath can interrupt the physiological spiral of anxiety.
    • Using all of your senses, notice one thing you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste.  Intentionally bringing your awareness into the present moment and grounding yourself in your body also counteracts anxious thought cycles.
    • Repeat a calming phrase to yourself, such as, “I’m not going to let anxiety control me,” or, “I can handle this.”
  • Other resources for anxiety and stress management:
    • The SHCS website has a long list of podcasts, apps, and websites that can be helpful in maintaining mental wellness.
    • Counseling Services is still providing appointments over the phone, as well as groups over Zoom Monday through Thursday.  Go to the online student health portal to schedule an appointment.  If you can’t find an appointment in the near future and need to speak with someone sooner, email shcscounseling@csueastbay and we will do our best to get back to you within 24 hours, Monday through Thursday.
    • Access phone crisis support if needed.  The SHCS main number connects with a crisis phone line - (510) 885-3735, option 2.  Additional crisis lines include:

Free Nationwide Crisis 

800-273-TALK                                                       

Alameda County Crisis Support 

800-309-2131

Contra Costa County Crisis Center

800-833-2900

San Francisco Suicide Prevention

415-781-0500

San Mateo County StarVista

650-579-0350

Santa Clara County Suicide and Crisis             

855-278-4204