While the unrelenting media coverage may make it seem like coronavirus is omnipresent in our lives, we should try to keep things in perspective, says USC expert Sheila Teresa Murphy. (Illustration/iStock)

Students Coping with Stress During COVID-19

By KATHRYN DOTSON

CHATTANOOGA, TN (mocsnews.com) – College can be stressful enough, but when you add a pandemic on top of school you get a whole new level of stress. Between balancing school work, jobs, internships, and trying to follow health and safety guidelines, college students have had their work cut out for them. It’s no wonder some students have turned to the Internet for tips on how to cope with stress during these increasingly stressful times. 

College can feel isolating all on it’s own but social distancing has added to these feelings of loneliness and isolation. The CDC has even released some helpful tips on how to cope during these stressful times. Some of these tips include: taking deep breaths, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep.

Other tips include keeping in touch with loved ones by calling, FaceTiming, or Skyping. These tips can be applied to any normal year, but they are especially helpful during these times of increased uncertainty and isolation.  

Maintaining a regular schedule is recommended by most health experts but, of course, that becomes a challenge when assignments continue to pile up. 

When faced with intensely stressful and ever-changing situations, most people turn to social media and the news to stay updated. However, experts suggest taking long breaks from reading, watching, or listening to news about the virus as this can increase levels of anxiety.

Scarlett Celestino, a student at Cleveland State Community College, has found her escape through exercise and cleaning.

“I try to go for a run in the morning to not be cooped up inside for too long,” said Celestino. “Then I clean up a few things, like in my room or around the house, to keep me off of social media and prevent me from stress eating.” 

Celestino said creating this routine of waking up, running, and then cleaning has helped her feel more normal during this pandemic and has also kept her anxiety under control.

Most students have found themselves working from home in online classes this year. This has been a struggle for many people as it can be isolating and lonely. 

Some students, like UTC student Shianne Vincent, have found online schooling more comforting but still feel the lacking presence of human interaction.

“I enjoy having my classes online because I’m more comfortable in my own environment,” said Vincent. “However, I don’t like that I can’t see peers in person because it takes away the fun and social part of school.”

Taking a look at different lists for tips on stress relief, you might find that most lists recommend taking your mind off things with activities. This time of self-isolation and social distancing is a perfect opportunity to dive into different hobbies and interests. 

“I’ve tried to make the most of all of this,” said Lee University student, Elizabeth Dumont. “I’ve been trying to get into my hobbies more, so I have like a million paintings I’ve done since March. It’s really been a great way to relieve stress.”

When asked for tips they’d give other students during this time, all three students suggested taking everything one day at a time to keep from becoming overwhelmed. 

“I can only hope we take it one day at a time,” said Shianne Vincent. “Try and stay safe and healthy, wear a mask, and manifest a happy new year.”

With so many things piling up and adding to the already stressful life of a college student, the most important tip to remember is to take breaks and allow your mind to relax. While these tips might seem simple, they’re really efficient ways to maintain good mental health and relieve stress. 

About Kathryn Dotson

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