|Rachelle B. Gallegos, Student Representative|
Surviving COVID-19-Related Stress as a Student
With schools around the country closed, students are challenged with unprecedented change. On campus classes have turned into virtual classes. You may have returned home, where you're missing friends and uncovering how studying is becoming difficult. Or maybe you've stayed put and feel the anxiety and burden about your family. Perhaps you're managing your children's educational needs as well as your own. You might have lost capital or your employment. Whether you're a graduate student or an undergrad, you're probably feeling adversity and uncertainty that can create some unsteady feelings. These feelings are all normal. And there are methods to minimize your stress.
Practice self-care and wellness
Maintaining basic self-care will aid in keeping your immune system strong and will keep your emotional reserves full. Get enough sleep. Exercise regularly. Eat well. Try mindfulness apps.
Find activities that engage different parts of yourself. Do something physical like dancing. Occupy your mind with puzzles. Engage your senses with hot baths or fragrant candles.
Make time to unwind. Try to do some activities you enjoy.
Find ways to focus
You might feel unmotivated now. Recognize that the current circumstances are hard for everyone and maybe just provisional. Don't judge yourself; just do the best you can. Establish a routine. Get up, go to bed and do your work at the same time every day. Frequent breaks can help you re-engage in your work.
Attempt to build an isolated work space, although you should reserve your sleeping area for sleeping. If family members are distracting you, use "I" statements to explain the problem -- "I'm worried about my exam next week" -- and work together to develop solutions.
Seek out social support
Your peers have possibly scattered. And having to remain at home can be lonesome. To battle isolation, get together with your dorm-mates or graduate school cohort via technology. Even something as simple as turning on your webcam throughout virtual classes may help you and others feel more connected.