How to Cope with Stress During Uncertain Times

Posted On March 18, 2020
Categories Uncategorized

The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is causing people to be extremely stressed. People are worried about their health, the health of others, school, work, how to access things they need and what to expect next. These are normal reactions to uncertain situations. According to the CDC, individuals who are stressed by a disease outbreak can have changes in eating, sleep patterns, worsening of chronic health conditions and difficulty concentrating. Social distancing can also impact us. According to SAMSHA, social distancing can lead some to feel isolated, lonely, frustrated, angry, anxious and depressed. Many people are searching for ways to manage stress during this time of uncertainty. Here are some tips to help:

  • Get the facts: facts help fight fear and anxiety. Knowing the facts helps get rid of any rumors which can lead to unnecessary worry. Visit the Georgia State University webpage for COVID-19 information.
  • Acknowledge how you feel- It is O.K. to feel what you feel. Try not to spend unnecessary energy fighting your emotions.
  • Stay connected: Increase your support system connect by phone, email, social media, text or video chat.
  • Take a break from COVID-19 media coverage
  • Make time to relax: take a deep breath in through your nose and slowly let it out through your mouth.

Dr. David Spiegel, Associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine and Director of its Center on Stress and Health makes these suggestions:

  • Maintain a healthy diet and stay properly hydrated.
  • Make a list of what needs to be done, prioritize and do one item at a time.
  • Rest- make sure you get enough sleep

Here are some additional helpful things you can do:

  • Try Helping someone- this can help the other person and you feel better.
  • Try journaling- journaling can help you acknowledge and express your feelings.
  • Try a De-Stress Activity- take a dance break, watch a funny video, take a walk outside or try a new recipe
  • Meditate- for a sense of calm and peace (see some sample meditations below)
  • Finish something: for example, a crossword puzzle or clean out a junk drawer, this can give you a since of accomplishment which can help you feel better.
  • Ask for help when needed

The Counseling Center and Student Health Clinic are open to assist clients during the COVID-19. Call first to speak with a provider on the phone or to schedule an appointment 404-413-1640. If you are concerned about yourself or another student call us at 404-413-1640 to speak with a clinician or call 911 if it is imminent. Follow us on #BeWellGSU and #GSUHealthyState.

Helpful Meditations:
2 minute Deep Breathing Breath Bubble
Guided meditations in English and Spanish including Body Scan Meditation, Meditation for better sleep, Meditation for working with difficulties, Loving Kindness Meditation
5 minute Peaceful Place Meditation
13 minute Peaceful Place Meditation
Relaxing Music and Images for Stress Relief

Helpful Articles:
Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health: Tips for Managing Social Distancing, Quarantine and Isolation during an Infectious Disease Outbreak
The Great Unknown: 10 Tips for Dealing with the Stress of Uncertainty
Coronavirus 2019: Managing the Stress and Anxiety

Helpful Apps:

Online Supportive Community

Togetherall- Anonymous online community where students can connect and support each other and learn. Supported by counselors 24/7 to keep the community safe. Register using your Georgia State University student email at

On campus Numbers:
Georgia State University Counseling Center: 404-413-1640
Georgia State University Health Clinic: 404-413-1930
Georgia State University Student Victim Assistance: 404-413-1965

Community Resources:
SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (24/7 hotline)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (24/7 hotline)
The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 (24/7 hotline)