COVID-19 has impacted many aspects of our lives, including mental health.
“Given the nature of this situation, it would make sense that many individuals feel anxious, as well as a host of other emotions. We are currently sitting with [a] wide array of unknowns, and the way the human mind deals with uncertainty is to experience anxiety,” said Paul Morgan, staff psychologist at the Eastern Kentucky University Counseling Center, in an email interview.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has also recognized the stress that COVID-19 can bring to people. According to the CDC, everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, but children, teenagers, elderly individuals with preexisting health conditions and first responders may all have increased reactions.
The CDC also says that changes in sleep and eating habits, increased use of tobacco or alcohol and difficulty concentrating are all normal during an outbreak.
However, focusing on what can be controlled may help individuals regardless of what effects they are experiencing, according to Morgan.
“There is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to feel about our current situation. How you feel is how you feel. The more important aspect to keep in mind is what each person should do with those emotions in relation to keeping themselves safe. I think one concept that can help with this is recognizing what things you cannot control, as well as what things you can. Be intentional about directing attention towards the things we can control,” said Morgan.
Extroverted individuals and those that enjoy being with others also might be struggling more than introverted individuals.
“I would encourage people to use a small bit of time to reflect on what they notice about how they’re feeling, what they notice that they are missing, and to think of creative ways to get needs met in a safe manner,” said Morgan.
People are not physically at work or school right now but it is still possible to create a new routine similar to our normal schedules.
“Setup a workspace, dress as you would as if you were going to class/work, maintain the same schedule as best as you can,” said Morgan.
The Counseling Center is operating virtually for students during this time. Their office hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call (859) 622-1303 or visit https://counselingcenter.eku.edu/.