Mental Health Care Package: Coping with COVID-19

Content adapted from ERAU Counseling Center

One comforting thing amidst all of the stress of COVID-19 is that none of us are alone in facing it. You can rest assured that many of the emotions and experiences you are having are common among not only your peers but most people right now. We are all being asked to juggle so many things and sit with so much uncertainty.

In an effort to support you through this time as best as we can and as safely as we can, we put together this mental health care package to encourage you to engage in self-care.

Choose self-care

  • Attend one of our free workshops.
  • Grief expert David Kessler discusses how COVID-19 may bring up feelings of grief and anticipatory grief in the article That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief. Kessler also provides strategies for coping.
  • It’s okay to grieve the little things. As long as we also practice gratitude.
  • Try the Woebot app - hundreds of expert-crafted tools to learn about yourself and improve your mood whenever you need them.
  • Check out this advice from an astronaut on coping with isolation.
  • The struggle to focus is real.
  • Practicing the "APPLE" technique can help decrease anxiety and worries:
    • Acknowledge: Notice and acknowledge the uncertainty as it comes to mind
    • Pause: Don't react as you normally do. Don't react at all. Pause and breathe
    • Pull back: Tell yourself this is just the worry talking, and this apparent need for certainty is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling. Don't believe everything you think. Thoughts are not statements or facts
    • Let go: Let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You don't have to respond to them. You might imagine them floating away in a bubble or cloud
    • Explore: Explore the present moment. Notice your breathing and the sensations of your breathing. Notice the ground beneath you. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Right now. Then shift your focus of attention to something else - on what you need to do, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry, or do something else - mindfully with Your full attention
  • Learn more about how to cope and stay emotionally well during COVID-19 related school closures.
  • Ask yourself these six questions every day.
  • Being present eases anxiety and worry. Try 1 or all 52 free mindfulness exercises.
  • Get instant access to self-care tips, resources, and connections with other students by joining Active Minds Student Slack Network.
  • Feeling overwhelmed is okay.
  • Be kind to yourself - practice self-compassion.
  • Try the Stop, Breathe, Think app - check in with how you’re feeling, and try short activities tuned to your emotions.
  • Enroll in Yale’s free course, The Science of Well-Being - engage in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits.

Choose connection

  • Connect with a Miami counselor during Campus Care.
  • Host a virtual NetflixParty to watch Netflix with your friends online. Netflix Party synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to your favorite Netflix shows.
  • Send a virtual hug.
  • If you are self-quarantining with loved ones, did you know that a 20 second hug does wonders? Oxytocin (the “cuddle hormone”) is released, a hormone that relaxes us and lowers anxiety. When it's released during these 20-second hugs it can effectively lower blood pressure and reduce the stress hormone norepinephrine.
  • Have a dance off with friends and have a live virtual dance party.
  • Play online games together like Minecraft. Discord is a platform you can use to play and chat with friends at the same time.
  • Is Cards Against Humanity or Checkers more your speed? Have a virtual game night and use Google Meet or Facetime to chat while playing. Wirecutter has more game night options and suggestions.
  • Go old school and phone a friend (but maybe text them first).
  • This is a great time to check in with people you haven’t heard from in a while.
  • Pets are benefitting from our increased time at home. Share some of your best furry friend’s antics with others online.
  • Host a dinner party with friends or family over Facetime or Google Hangouts.
  • Invite someone to a virtual lunch or coffee break.
  • Start a personal/public blog, website or podcast.
  • Find a pen pal or write handwritten letters to friends/loved ones.

Choose arts and creativity

  • Explore art museums from around the world virtually.
  • Engage in Random Acts of Kindness.
  • Want to flex your sketchbook skills? This is just one example of an art challenge you can find on social media.
  • Art-viewing can help with social and psychological support for people caring for those with mental health challenges. Just do it virtually for now, though.
  • Virtual concerts and Broadway shows to watch during the COVID-19 shutdown.
  • Express your feelings through creative writing, painting, drawing, photography, clay, listening and/or playing music, or experimenting with a new baking recipe.
  • Color these adult coloring pages.

Choose music

  • Attend a free virtual concerts:
  • Make a music video. Create a variety of playlists highlighting different moods or activities (e.g., I’m rearranging my living space playlist, I need to chill out playlist).

Choose movement

Choose Children's Activities

For students with children, nieces and nephews, or younger siblings, here are some free resources to entertain and engage with your little loved one.

Choose helping others

  • Donate to local food banks.
  • Find ways to help young students who depend on school lunches.
  • Buy a gift certificate to a local small business or restaurant.
  • Tip delivery drivers and restaurant staff generously if you are able.
  • Check-in on your neighbors, friends, and classmates who may be more vulnerable.
  • Consider donating blood.
  • Practice physical distancing.
  • Share information responsibly and support those who create good information.
  • Contribute to history by sharing your coronavirus diaries.
  • Practice patience, kindness and understanding.

Choose nature

  • Go for a mindfulness walk.
  • Breathe the fresh air and take in what is around you. Use your 5 senses to connect with nature.
  • Exercise your green thumb by purchasing a low maintenance plant or have someone gift you with a baby plant (succulents are great).
  • Plants are a great way to brighten up your workstation and improve well-being.

Choose deep breathes

Choose cooking

  • How about experimenting with some new recipes? Share your creations on social media and/or have a live cooking challenge with friends.

Choose sports

  • Desperately missing sports? Check out these free passes:
  • There are plenty of eSports to enjoy.

Choose rest

Choose support

Choose laughter

  • Take time for some stress relief. Laughter can be one of these ways and has been associated with psychological health benefits.