Mental Health, Preparation and the COVID-19
The Weber State University Office of Public Safety is leading a campus response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in conjunction with federal, state and local health agencies. You can trust that they are making plans to prepare for, respond to and limit spread. Below you will find suggestions on how to maintain a healthy self-care routine to support your mental health.
What Might Happen at WSU
The campus response prioritized infection control measures by shifting to online classes and asking employees to work from home when possible. CPSC is reaching out to current clients to collaboratively formulate contingency plans as appointments are canceled or rescheduled.
Tips for Planning
Consult Reliable Sources of Information
- Monitor the campus COVID-19 website for evolving information and directions.
- The WSU COVID-19 website and the Weber State University Student Health Center website include links to the Weber/Morgan Health Department and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The CDC provides information in both English and Spanish.
- Subscribe to Code Purple for notifications regarding campus closures.
- Verify that your voicemail is set up to receive messages from CPSC or other providers.
- Verify that you have an adequate supply of medication. Consult your doctor and insurance provider about getting an extra supply of your family’s regular prescription drugs.
- Establish a family emergency plan and kit for peace of mind. The American Red Cross is helpful for family disaster planning in English and Spanish.
Maintaining a Healthy Self-Care Routine
- Limit your exposure to upsetting news stories.
- Maintain your normal daily routine, if possible.
- Exercise, eat well and rest.
- Find comfort in your spiritual and personal beliefs.
- Keep a sense of humor.
- Reach out for social support.
- Use online resources and/or phone apps for stress management including TAO, (Therapy Assistance Online).
Psychological First Aid
Through family emergency planning, staying calm and focusing on the well-being of others, you can maintain some normalcy in your life.
Coping with Uncertainty
Quick Mindful Activity
Take two to three deep breaths...
Return your breathing to normal and notice it – where do you feel the air you breathe as inhale, and when you exhale. Repeat 5 – 6 times.
Notice & Observe what feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations are present. Do not attempt to change your feelings or thoughts – simply notice as they arise.
Remember that all feelings, thoughts, and sensations are temporary and that this too shall pass.
Open your eyes and continue your next moment with greater clarity and acceptance.
It’s expected that we will be dealing with many anxiety-driven thoughts about the current pandemic.
- Anxieties about health
- Concern for supplies/food/medications
- Uncertainty regarding academic performance in online classes
Guide your thoughts back to what is within your ability to control.
- Practicing good hygiene
- Limiting contact with folks who are sick, etc
- Stay in contact with your classes and professor
- Limit your media exposure
When you feel anxiety and want to look at media coverage, instead consider taking a quick walk around the block or your home, or read a book, go do a chore or something that gives you a chance to sit with being uncertain and being flexible and accepting of that feeling.
Tolerating Uncertainty – In Practice
When concerns about coronavirus come up for you, acknowledge that that feeling exists.
Remember that anxiety is a core piece of being human. Facing anxiety in the moment and not immediately seeking reassurance can be very helpful because you learn to manage your anxiety
rather than avoiding it.
Recognize that this feeling of fear will eventually fade and that you can ride this wave of anxiety.
Coping with Effective Self-Care Strategies
- Diet & Exercise
- Friends & Family
- Hobbies & Leisure
Values-based activity examples:
- Outside & Nature are important values to Jorge, so he decides to plant in his garden for spring and care for his houseplants indoors
- Religion is an important value to Sarah, so she reads scriptures
- Food & Health are important values to Wanda so she is taking the opportunity to use the extra time at home to cook new healthy recipes
- Name 3 things you’re grateful for & hopeful for
- Remember your own resiliency – you’ve survived a LOT in your life so far!
- Connect with your friends, family and supportive people in your life
Additional Tips for Managing Stress
Your normal routines will be altered. Focus on doing your best to adjust graciously and move forward. Be patient, accepting, and collaborative. Here are some tips that can help:
- Pay attention to your own feelings and take care of your own emotional needs. You are then better able to help friends and family members manage their concerns.
- Reach out to individuals with pre-existing physical or mental health conditions and those you know are struggling with their emotions. A quick text message or phone call can raise their spirits and provide comfort to both of you.
- Cooperate and accept restrictions meant to aid the response by city, county and state officials. Help others understand and operate accordingly.
- Be mindful of social stigma. Support neighbors and friends vulnerable to pandemic-fueled stigma, xenophobia or women susceptible to caretaking bias.
- Involve children in preparation of the family emergency kit.
- Maintain normal home routines regarding chores, playtime, bedtime, etc.
- Avoid unnecessary separations.
- Monitor media exposure.
- Encourage emotional expression through play activities and games.
- Provide additional attention and consideration when possible.
- Encourage discussion of their experiences with peers and adults.
- Avoid insistence on discussion of feelings with parents.
- Encourage physical activity.
- Rehearse family safety measures.
- Encourage communication with friends via phone and text.
For Older Adults
- Listen to their concerns. Allow seniors to share their vulnerable feelings.
- Assist with realistic prioritizing and problem solving.
- Assist in maintaining and re-establishing social contacts in safe ways.
- Verify and engage providers of transportation, meal programs and home visits as needed.