main navigation
my pace

Current Students

back to Current Students

Coping Emotionally with COVID-19

News Story

To help ease some of the high stress and uncertainty amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis, the Counseling Center is checking in with a handy mental health guide. Try their breathing exercises, mindfulness techniques, apps to download, and more.

This list was put together courtesy of the Counseling Center!

Potential Symptoms

Our rapidly changing public health situation evokes a wide range of emotional reactions in all of us. Many people are experiencing symptoms of acute stress, which may include:

  • >> Shock, feeling unreal, emotionally detached, or numb
  • >> Anxiety which may include shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, and other panic attack symptoms
  • >> Hopelessness or feeling a lack of purpose in work and/or academics
  • >> Helplessness
  • >> Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • >> Increased irritability or anger
  • >> Crying more often than usual
  • >> Sleep problems
  • >> Increased or decreased appetite
  • >> Feeling more fatigued
  • >> Headache, stomach ache, or other pain
  • >> Use of alcohol or substances to cope with stress

Most people are also struggling with reactions specific to the COVID-19 outbreak, including:

  • >> Worry about contamination
  • >> Anxiety about you and/or loved ones getting ill
  • >> Preoccupation with possible signs/symptoms of illness
  • >> Social withdrawal or feeling alone and isolated
  • >> Anger and/or lack of trust in people and systems
  • >> Media and information overload

Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Though our lives are more restricted, there are many possible ways to cope. Remind yourself continually of what you can control, and read below for some additional methods.

  • >> Remind yourself that this situation is temporary and will pass.
  • >> Think of other times you have overcome adversity.
  • >> See this as an opportunity to recognize and be grateful for all the people and good you have in your life.
  • >> Reach out to the people you love and value even from afar. Connections to people keep us emotionally healthy.
  • >> Focus on being mindful. Be present in your everyday activities. For instance, you can practice this when you wash your hands by focusing on the movements, sensations, smells, and other aspects of this activity.
  • >> Prioritize healthy eating and sleep habits.
  • >> Participate in some physical activity, which can help boost your immune system and energy levels, improve your sleep, and decrease stress.
  • >> Meditate. It’s not as hard as it seems and there are some apps and links below to give you a jump start.
  • >> Stay informed, but moderate information to once or twice a day. Make sure your sources are reliable and try not to consume media before bed.
  • >> Create regular “no-coronavirus” zones personally and with others.
  • >> Keep doing what you enjoy and what relaxes you, such as listening to music, watching TV, talking to friends, taking a bath, cooking, coloring, etc.
  • >> Don’t underestimate the power of breathing. Wherever you are, focus on breathing in, holding your breath for a few seconds, and breathing out. (Further details on exercises like these can be found below!)
  • >> Share your feelings with others or journal.
  • >> Seek support from professionals if needed, including the Counseling Center.

Other Resources

For immediate help and relief, try the following:

Need apps? Download a few:



Sleep (see also: relaxation apps)


Further Reading

Contact the Counseling Center

The Pace Counseling Center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please be sure to contact the team or schedule an appointment if you feel you need assistance. They’re here for you!