Managing Concerns and Emotions about COVID-19

The ongoing news reports about the coronavirus and its spread, and the uncertainty of what the next wave(s) could bring, continue to raise a number of concerns. Learn more about taking care of your mental health in the face of uncertainty here.

Here are some additional tips to help you put information and concerns in perspective, manage your worry, and maintain a positive outlook.


  • Seek accurate information and limit exposure to social media and news reports that provide no new information or inaccurate information. Here are some reliable sources of information:
  • Keep things in perspective. Take a deep breath and stay focused on what the situation actually is, rather than the worst-case-scenario. It can be helpful to shift your focus to things within your control rather than things outside your control. 
  • Acknowledge reactions. Allow yourself time to reflect on what you are feeling and how you may be reacting to any fears and uncertainties.
  • Maintain your normal day-to-day activities and keep connected. Resist withdrawing and isolating yourself.  Maintaining social networks can foster a sense of normality and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress. Feel free to share useful information you find on governmental websites with your friends and family. It will help them deal with their own worry. If your day to day activities are disrupted by college closings, attempt to create structure in your day by: scheduling a normal bedtime and wake up time; structuring your time with hobbies, homework, reading, etc.; scheduling regular phone/video contact with friends and family
  • Follow the prevention and protection tips given by medical professionals such as the Cornell College Student Health Services, national medical authorities, and your own medical doctor.
  • Practice calming rituals. Stay grounded in the present moment, which can help you maintain an internal sense of stability and balance when outside events feel threatening.
  • Seek supports & use campus resources. Reach out to friends and family and learn about on-campus and off-campus resources that are available.
  • Avoid stigmatizing or generalizing. Remember to keep in mind the kindness and empathy with which we strive to treat one another at all times as we address this challenge together. Be aware if your behavior or attitudes change towards others from another country, and avoid stigmatizing anyone who is sick as potentially having the Coronavirus.  Often when there is uncertainty, our thoughts can become more less compassionate and more fear-based.   


  • Increased worry, fear, and feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Depressive symptoms that persist and/or intensify
  • Inability to focus or concentrate accompanied by decreased academic or work performance or performance of other daily activities
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Excessive crying
  • Isolating or withdrawing from others, fear of going into public situations
  • Unhealthy coping (e.g., increased alcohol or drug use, engaging in risky/impulsive behaviors)
  • A feeling of hopelessness and/or a paralyzing fear about the future
  • Sudden anger or irritability, or noticeable changes in personality


It’s not unusual to experience some — or even several — of the types of distress listed above during times of uncertainly and stress. If you notice these signs in yourself, reach out to family and friends for support, and engage in your usual heathy coping strategies (e.g., moderate exercise; eating well; getting adequate sleep; practicing yoga, meditation, or some other mindfulness activity; take time for yourself; engage in a hobby or other fun activity, etc.). 

If your distress continues or gets to the point that you are having difficulty managing your day-to-day activities, then seek professional help.  To schedule an appointment at the Counseling Center, or receive assistance with referral for off campus services, call 319-895-4292.

You can email the Chaplain to schedule pastoral counseling. Also check out virtual yoga, breathwork, meditation, and more at the “Take a Breath” page.

Need help with unemployment services, housing, food, clothing, or more?  Enter your zip code at, or call 211, to find resources specific to your area. 

There are many additional free resources online right now for coping.  Here are just a few to consider:


Resources for Students

Dean of Students Office
Old Sem // 319-895-4234

Student Health Services
Ebersole Center // 319-895-4292  -call before coming in

Counseling Center
Ebersole Center // 319-895-4292  -call before coming in

Rev. Melea White offers pastoral counseling; email her to schedule

Resources for Faculty/Staff

Employee Assistance Program — Morneau Shepell

Human Resources
Old Sem // 319-895-4243

Rev. Melea White offers pastoral counseling; email her to schedule and/or check out the “Take a Breath” page for virtual yoga, breathwork, and more.

Parts adapted from:  Amherst College – “
Counseling Center: COVID-19 News and Updates” (, University of Indianapolis – “Psychological Tips for Managing Coronavirus Concerns” ( & American Psychological Association- “Five Ways to View Coverage of the Coronavirus” (