My two cents

How not to freak out about COVID-19

March 26, 2020

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.— If the empty toilet paper shelves weren’t enough of an indication, people are freaking out.

We are in trying times. A stimulus package is in the works as the government tries to bring about some relief for the inevitable economic hardships that are upon us. It seems like around every corner of social media, there’s a new article or update talking about COVID-19.

It can seem overwhelming. But this is our reality— at least, for now.

As scary as it all can seem, believe it or not, there are steps you can take to keep a level head and make the most of the current state of our world.

Caitlin Nevins, the director of psychological services at McLean Hospital, has been publishing ways college students specifically can optimize their performance during the pandemic.

Nevins advises students first and foremost to recognize your situation and validate any emotions you experience with it. Recognize the fact that this is not a vacation from your schoolwork. It’s okay to grieve, just as it is to grieve any loss.

This loss is a loss of community, living environments, social gatherings, etc., at least for a little while. Allow yourself some compassion and allow yourself some time to invest in your emotions.

The next advice Nevins has for students is to maintain structure as much as possible.

With businesses temporarily closing doors and classes moved online, it can be hard to put yourself back into a good routine. Doing so, however, will help save some peace of mind and ward off some of that cabin fever.

Set an alarm and wake up at the same time each day. Don’t sleep until noon. Eat breakfast, exercise in your living room, go to a designated study area to catch up on schoolwork, eat healthy. Doing all of these things in a predictable manner will help your body keep up with the change in schedule.

Perhaps my favorite advice Nevins gave is to stay connected as much as you can. While in-person social gatherings have been impeded on, you can still maintain your relationships remotely.

Nevins advises taking a step further than social media and taking part in video chats and phone calls. Watch shows with your friends remotely or play online board games. Get inventive and stay connected.

As Nevins stated on the McLean Hospital website, “If anyone can do this, college students can: they’re probably the best generation to understand how to stay connected and be resilient in times like this.”

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