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    Managing Concerns and Emotions about COVID-19

    March 25, 2020

    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 at this link.

    HELPFUL TIPS

    • 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:
    • https://www.scranton.edu/covid-19/index.shtml
    • 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 while understanding the strong recommendations for social distancing 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 University’s Student Health Services, national medical authorities, and your own medical doctor.
    • Practice calming ritualsStay 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. Be aware of campus or department updates as the situation evolves. 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 Center at 570-941-7620. Your campus community is here to help!
    • Avoid stigmatizing or generalizingRemember 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 less compassionate and more 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’s 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 healthy coping strategies such as:

    • Exercising regularly
    • Eating well
    • Getting adequate sleep
    • Practicing yoga or meditation
    • Practicing a mindfulness activity
    • Taking time for yourself
    • Engaging in a hobby or other fun activity 
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