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Coping in Stressful Times

April 1, 2020


Being a college student is stressful. Trying to maintain educational, personal and professional activities during a pandemic is even more stressful. It can be hard to study while trying to social distance, worrying about loved ones and keeping up with the latest news updates. Georgia Gwinnett College Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) encourages you to take time to engage in self-care and practice some stress management in order to stay healthy during these unprecedented times.

GGC CAPS wants to provide you with some tips and suggestions for coping during a period of elevated and ongoing stress. As you read this, we encourage you to first slow down and take time to read this material. It can be easy to rush to look for the answer, but slowing down is a great first skill to practice. We have provided information, and it can be overwhelming to find a place to start. We recommend that you pick one or two of these suggestions and try to be intentional in practicing them each day. As time passes, you might integrate a few more into your daily or weekly routine.

These are general guidelines, for more tailored guidance on coping during this time, GGC students may contact CAPS and set up a phone session with one of our mental health providers by calling 678.407.5592.

For other questions, visit the GGC Public Health FAQ webpage.

Make a list of all your current coping skills

    • Identify which are negative or positive
    • Add additional positive coping skills to your list
    • Pick coping skills that fit into three categories:
      • Those that provide distraction
      • Those that provide relief
      • Those that provide rejuvenation
    • Be mindful of when avoidance has become your “go-to” coping skill
    • Over time, work to decrease the use of negative coping skills and implement and continually use ones that are more positive
    • Use your phone to track your progress
      • Set reminders each day to use your coping skills
      • Download a coping skills app
    • Increase personal accountability by sharing your list with someone in your social support network

Allow yourself to experience your feelings

    • Feelings are temporary and will pass
    • Decrease time spent avoiding your feelings

Schedule time to allow your mind to rest each day

    • Take 30 minutes to an hour away from all screens
      • Use screen time limitation settings on your phone for additional support
    • Take breaks from reading the news and checking social media
    • Search online for short (i.e., 10 minutes) mindfulness meditation exercises from Therapy Assistance Online (TAO)

Maintain a daily routine

    • Most people likely have to create a new routine due to the sudden changes and extensive restrictions and limitations at the moment
    • May be helpful to write it out the routine
    • Keep track of the routine each week and modify as needed
      • Utilize your phone’s functions and additional apps to help track your routine
    • Increase personal accountability by sharing your routine with someone in your social support network

Stay connected socially (even with social distancing)

    • Communicate clearly to your social network (don’t assume they know your needs or how you are thinking and feeling)
    • Find some friends or family who want to have a regular point of connection
    • Consider a digital book club, movie-watching or sharing coffee virtually

Remember your daily physical health needs

    • Sleep (6-8 hours each night)
    • View How to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene (PDF) from the Centre for Clinical Interventions (CCI)
    • If you are experiencing sleep issues, follow sleep hygiene recommendations as closely as possible. Remember, changing sleep patterns takes time
    • Eat healthy and consistently
    • Stay hydrated
    • Exercise
    • Anything is helpful: walking around your neighborhood, pushups in your home, yoga or moving your body within your physical ability
    • Take all prescribed medication as prescribed by a physician
    • Reach out to your prescribing physician as needed

If you are currently in a challenging home environment

If you need crisis support

If you need support for substance use concerns