We know that the COVID-19 outbreak is disrupting many routines and schedules, so we wanted to share some tips from School Psychologist Patricia White on how to cope with this sudden disruption and the impact it may be having on your mental health. You can also visit her Google site with resources and information that will be updated regularly.
- Limit your news consumption to reliable sources – It is important to obtain accurate information regarding COVID-19, but too much exposure to media coverage of the virus can lead to increased feelings of fear and anxiety. Try to balance your time spent on the news and social media with other activities, such as reading, completing schoolwork, chatting with friends, playing games, watching television, listening to music, and exercising.
- Create a daily routine: Maintaining a daily routine can help to preserve a sense of order and purpose in your lives despite the unfamiliarity of isolation and quarantine. It also gives you a sense of control over your day when so many things can feel out of control around you.
- Stay virtually connected with others: While face-to-face interactions are limited, use your cell phones, computers, gaming systems, etc. to access your social support networks. If you are feeling sad or anxious, use these virtual interactions with those in your trusted networks as a means to discuss your experiences and the feelings associated with them. Be sure to join your teachers video meetings as much as possible to stay connected to your peers and adults.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise. There are many virtual hangouts on social media platforms offering free live-streaming yoga and other fitness classes. If you and your family are struggling to access food during this time, please reach out.
- Use available strategies to manage stress and stay positive: Reflect on your worries and aim to be realistic in your assessment of the actual concern as well as your ability to cope. Try not to catastrophize; instead focus on what you can do and accept the things you can’t change. One way to do this is to keep a daily gratitude journal. I will be sending additional resources with activities to help you cope, as well as links to different videos and podcasts to help provide you with positive distractions and ways to manage your time and stress.