Coping with COVID-19

As all of us are dealing with the global COVID-19 pandemic, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences would like to share some advice and resources from Dr. Jenna Rowen, director of the Office of Applied Psychological Services at UIC.

You can also download a colorful, printer-friendly version of Dr. Rowen’s recommendations here.

A Note From Dr. Rowen

The impact that COVID-19 is having on our health, finances, and daily life is enormous. We are currently experiencing an unprecedented pandemic that requires serious action and has led to a remarkable disruption to global society. Given all of these changes and general uncertainty, it is normal for people to feel anxious and overwhelmed with how to cope with these rapid changes, especially social isolation. Combining research, clinical work, and currently available resources, there are a number of things within our control that can help decrease anxiety and help us stay sane in a time of chaos. In short, I recommend that we stay structured, stay active, stay curious, stay connected, and stay grounded. We will get through this!

Jenna Rowen, Ph.D., LCP (she/her)
Director, Office of Applied Psychological Services
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
The University of Illinois at Chicago

Stay Structured

We know from research that maintaining a daily schedule with clear, attainable goals helps people’s mood in general. It can be difficult to maintain the level of productivity that you had previously outside of the home, but you can still do things to help create structure.

Stay Active

Another thing we know from research is that physical activity releases chemicals in your brain that improve your mood. Staying active can also help you feel healthy and accomplished, and it is another way to help bring structure to your day.

Stay Curious

Since everyone is in this together, many places that would have required in-person attendance are now providing virtual resources. Take advantage of this free opportunity to enjoy sights and sounds that would have cost money to enjoy before!

Stay Connected

Human beings are not meant to exist in isolation. Studies from solitary confinement in prisons demonstrate the damage that social isolation has on our emotional health. The good news is that we can still stay connected even if we can’t be physically with others.

Stay Grounded

Pandemics are naturally anxiety-producing. This is something that is going to affect millions of people, and there is no clear message about the future and when things will get back to normal. However, there are some things to consider when thinking the worst and feeling overwhelmed by the circumstances.