Coping Strategies

Be where you are.  This simple truth can be a starting place for many during this global pandemic.  Observe, acknowledge, and be present with your emotions. You don't have to ignore or avoid the unpleasant, the disruption, the uncertainty.  You don't have to be where someone else is or where they tell you to be. There is great empowerment in simply naming your feeling and having it be yours.  Whether you are scared, hopeful, unsure, sad, angry, surprised, confused, thankful....all are acceptable.

And, we know that you don't have to BE your emotion.  We know emotions come and go, they are impermanent, and in the words of Harvard Medical School faculty Susan David they can be “data and not direction.”  

While there are several ways our community continues to respond, here are some strategies for coping:

  • Coping Strategies
    • CAPS acknowledges the impact that COVID-19 may have on mental health. During this time, we encourage our UM community to follow CDC’s recommendations including:
      • Avoid excessive exposure to media coverage of COVID-19. Find balance between staying informed, while not overwhelming yourself. Check in with yourself as you take in news articles, social media posts, etc. and give yourself permission to take a break if you find that you are feeling overwhelmed.
      • Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do some other activities you enjoy to return to your normal life.
      • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.
      • Connect with others. Given recommendations regarding social distancing (e.g., remaining out of places where people meet or gather, avoiding local public transportation (e.g., bus, subway, taxi, rideshare), and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others), think about other creative ways of connecting with others--an old fashioned phone call, texting, video chat, direct messaging, etc. Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member.
      • Maintain a sense of hope and know that as a community we can come together to support one another through this challenging time.