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Signs You May be Distressed
- Excessive worrying, fear, increased anxiety, feeling overwhelmed.
- Feeling irritable, losing patience more often than normal, sudden emotional outbursts.
- Changes in sleep habits (not enough sleep or sleeping too much.)
- Changes in eating habits (overweight or loss of appetite.)
- Unhealthy coping strategies (increased alcohol or drug use or engaging in risky behavior.)
- Difficulty focusing or concentrating.
- Feelings of fatigue, headaches, backaches.
- Increase in depressive symptoms including feelings of helplessness or hopelessness.
- Paralyzing feelings of fear regarding the future.
Tips for Managing Distress
- Rather than automatically reacting to your feelings, take some time to process them. Reflect on what you are feeling and why. Recognize that you may be reacting to fears and concerns about something in the future that has not yet happened.
- Keep to your routine. Get up in the morning as you usually do. Get ready for school as normal even if you are not required to report to school. Continue to maintain your social contact with others; just remember to maintain recommended precautions (social distancing, washing hands, etc.). Remember that social distancing is not the same as social isolation. Find alternate ways of engaging and connecting with friends and social circles.
- Engage in enjoyable activities even if your motivations are not quite there. It will help.
- Look for accurate information from outlets like UTEP or the CDC regarding the COVID-19 and stay away from social media and news reports that do not provide additional information.
- Focus on factual and positive news rather than those outlets that focus primarily on the negative or try to sensationalize what is happening through fear.
- Practice mindfulness, relaxation, and/or meditation to help ground you and provide you with a sense of stability and balance. CAPS’ Therapy Assistance Online program can teach you a number of these techniques. Sign up for TAO
- Seek support and use appropriate campus resources to make yourself more informed. Seek out friends and family for support. Learn techniques for stress management through CAPS’ Therapy Assistance Online program. Call and speak with a counselor here at CAPS for support and suggestions on how to manage distress.