A lot has happened during the last few weeks in regards to the coronavirus, and people everywhere are beginning to feel the stress. As a student, I myself have been feeling more anxious and scared lately, and I thought it would be helpful to share some of my tips for how to cope with stress during this time. So, here are my favorite ways to handle uncertainty during this difficult period.

1 – Take a Break from the News

Nowadays, everyone is always talking about how important it is to be informed about current events, but there comes a point where the news becomes more harmful than helpful. Although you want to be prepared, you need to put your mental health first. Set a limit for the amount of news you ingest each week. Make sure to look at positive news as well (such as Optimist Daily and Positive News).  

2 – Try Mindfulness

With the uncertainty of the Coronavirus and what the next few weeks will bring, it is easy to get caught up in the future; however, it is important to stay grounded in the present. Mindfulness helps us do just this. You can practice mindfulness through meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises. There are hundreds of resources online to help, such as yoga tutorials on Youtube and mindfulness apps too (such as Calm and UCLA Mindful).

3 – Get Fresh Air

Just because we are practicing social distancing doesn’t mean we have to stay inside all day! Going outside for just 20 minutes is proven to lower stress, blood pressure, and improve your mood. You can even play in a backyard with a younger sibling or dog. Or, take a walk in the woods or on your favorite hiking trail. You’ll have plenty of space to yourself on the North Shore trails and, even if you do happen to come across another person, you can keep a reasonable distance. Look online at All Trails to find a local trail near you.

Isabelle G. ’22 takes a break to walk with her dog in the woods.

4 – Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to fight stress; it reduces the levels of stress-related chemicals, such as cortisol and adrenaline, while producing endorphins (a happiness chemical). Exercise also lets you release your stress and anger through exertion. One of the best things about exercise is its flexibility — you can do it anywhere with anything! Google some no-equipment workouts or take a run with your dog; you’ll be surprised at how calm you feel afterwards.

5 – Seek Help From a Professional

If you continue to feel overwhelmed and unable to function because of your stress, seek help from a professional.  There are hundreds of therapists and licensed counselors out there that can help you. You can even have online therapy with Telehealth.  Remember, there is no shame in asking for help.

In addition to hearing from our students, read more about Penguin Hall’s response to COVID-19 and find helpful resources here.