• The Southwestern

How to manage mental health during quarantine

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

With the current COVID-19 pandemic continuing to spread and many people staying at home, The Southwestern gives tips how to deal with negative mental impacts.

Photo provided by Unsplash.

By Lexi Clark


Even a normal spring semester for college students can be stressful enough on its own. With the current COVID-19 pandemic continuing to spread and more of the population under quarantine, individuals across the world are likely experiencing some negative mental and emotional health effects.

According to the CDC, certain individuals may be more affected by the stress of this outbreak. Those at higher risk of catching COVID-19 may experience elevated stress levels, as well as doctors, health care providers and first responders who are actively fighting to contain the situation. Additionally, those with history of mental health conditions, including a history of substance abuse, are likely to experience increased stress and mental issues during this time.

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What can you do to combat the stress and negative emotions during this historic pandemic?

SWOSU’s Director of Counseling Services Laci Strickler advised to look at the positive aspects under the circumstances.

“Focusing on the positive aspects of this less-than-desirable situation can be mood-lifting,” Strickler said. “For instance, this pause from ordinary life may grant time to finish a long-abandoned craft project, read a non-school book, or catch up on phone calls to elderly loved ones. This time period can also offer renewed or newfound focus on schoolwork and fresh perspectives of future career plans and life goals. Shifting perspectives from what ‘can’t be done’ to what ‘can be done’ is key.”

Whether individuals are under strict quarantine, or just attempting to self-isolate to avoid the spread of COVID-19, Strickler discussed how to incorporate additional self-care practices to lower stress levels and improve moods during this time. She suggests going for a walk or run, de-cluttering and cleaning spaces, creating art or music, spending time with pets, taking a hot shower or bath, and more.

Strickler also noted the importance of maintaining a social connection through Skype or FaceTime. Simply reaching out to friends and loved ones to stay in touch can be beneficial, but some individuals are even using technology to host virtual workouts, organizational meetings and even book clubs.

Although news of the novel coronavirus containment efforts and protective measures is important, Strickler said news of the situation can easily provoke additional stress. For this reason, she suggests limiting exposure to this news and information if necessary.

Even though many students are currently off-campus and will not be returning to campus this semester, SWOSU Counseling Services is offering individual counseling sessions to all current SWOSU students via Zoom video calls. To schedule a counseling session, contact their office at 580-774-3776 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or email scs@swosu.edu.

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