Managing Concerns and Emotions about COVID-19

News reports about the coronavirus, together with concerns that the virus could become more widespread, is raising a number of concerns and making some people worry. Learn more about taking care of your mental health in the face of uncertainty here: https://afsp.org/taking-care-of-your-mental-health-in-the-face-of-uncert...

Here are some additional tips to help you put information and concerns in perspective, manage your worry, and maintain a positive outlook.

Tips

  • Crisis Resources
  • Seek accurate information and limit exposure to social media and news reports that provide no new information or inaccurate information. Here are some reliable sources of information:
  • Keep things in perspective. Take a deep breath and stay focused on what the situation actually is, rather than the worst-case-scenario. It can be helpful to shift your focus to things within your control rather than things outside your control. 
  • Acknowledge reactions. Allow yourself time to reflect on what you are feeling and how you may be reacting to any fears and uncertainties.
  • Maintain your normal day-to-day activities and keep connected. Resist withdrawing and isolating yourself.  Maintaining social networks can foster a sense of normality and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress. Feel free to share useful information you find on governmental websites with your friends and family. It will help them deal with their own worry. If your day-to-day activities are disrupted by college closings, attempt to create structure in your day by scheduling a normal bedtime and wake up time; structuring your time with hobbies, homework, reading, etc.; scheduling regular phone/video contact with friends and family.
  • Follow the prevention and protection tips given by medical professionals such as the Northern Michigan University Health Center, national medical authorities, and your own medical doctor.
  • Practice calming rituals. Stay grounded in the present moment, which can help you maintain an internal sense of stability and balance when outside events feel threatening.
  • Seek supports & use campus resources. Reach out to friends and family and learn about on-campus and off-campus resources that are available. If you or someone you know has high distress that does not seem to be lessening, talk about it with others, or contact the Counseling and Consultation Services or the Dean of Students Office. Your campus community is here to help!
  • Avoid stigmatizing or generalizing. Remember to keep in mind the kindness and empathy with which we strive to treat one another at all times as we address this challenge together. Be aware if your behavior or attitudes change towards others from another country, and avoid stigmatizing anyone who is sick as potentially having the Coronavirus.  Often when there is uncertainty, our thoughts can become more compassionate and less fear-based. 

Recognizing Distress - A Self-Check List

  • Increased worry, fear, and feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Depressive symptoms that persist and/or intensify
  • Inability to focus or concentrate accompanied by decreased academic or work performance or performance of other daily activities
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Excessive crying
  • Isolating or withdrawing from others, fear of going into public situations
  • Unhealthy coping (e.g., increased alcohol or drug use, engaging in risky/impulsive behaviors)
  • A feeling of hopelessness and/or a paralyzing fear about the future
  • Sudden anger or irritability, or noticeable changes in personality

Seeking Support

It is not unusual to experience some — or even several — of the types of distress listed above during times of uncertainly and stress. If you notice these signs in yourself, reach out to family and friends for support, and engage in your usual heathy coping strategies (e.g. moderate exercise; eating well; getting adequate sleep; practicing yoga, meditation, or some other mindfulness activity; take time for yourself; engage in a hobby or other fun activity, etc.). 

If your distress continues or gets to the point that you are having difficulty managing your day-to-day activities, then seek professional help. As of March 16 ,2020 Counseling and Consultation Services is continuing to offer daily single session emotional crisis appointments to students who want quick access to learn skills to manage stress and anxiety, sleep problems, or other specific problems like relationships, stress about upcoming exams, etc. 

 

Northern Michigan University Resources

Resources for Students

Dean of Students Office
2001 Hedgcock // 906-227-1000
 

Northern Michigan University Health Center
Gries Hall ground floor // 906-227-2355
 

Counseling and Consultation Services
3405 Hedgcock //906-227-2980
 

TAO – As an NMU student, you have access to a great online resource that includes many self-help modules:  https://thepath.taoconnect.org/
 

Resources for Faculty/Staff

Employee Assistance Program —Northstar
906-225-3145
 

Department of Human Resources
158 Services Building // 906-227-2330


Other Useful Resources

The Hope Center

Adapted from:  University of Indianapolis – “Psychological Tips for Managing Coronavirus Concerns” (https://www.uindy.edu/studentcounseling/scc-news-updates) & American Psychological Association- “Five Ways to View Coverage of the Coronavirus” (https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/bird-flu)