Managing STress and Anxiety

The impact of COVID-19 on the campus community goes beyond academics. Every student is now coping with lots of change, and that effects our mental health. If you’re feeling stressed and anxious, remember those are natural responses. To help you cope, we've compiled the following tips for managing stress and anxiety. And, remember that counseling services are available.


Stay informed about COVID-19 with accurate information and news from trustworthy sources, while simultaneously limiting the amount of time you check information related to the virus in order to limit anxiety.

Set aside short, consistent durations of time that you will watch, read, or listen to the news. When it is not that time, focus on school, family, friends, and yourself.

CHECK OUT: Centers for Disease Control and Protection


Most things in life are outside of our control — how people treat you and others, sicknesses, and other unexpected events. We are, however, able to control our own actions. As opposed to focusing on things you cannot control, consider what actions you are able to take. For example, you control your own social distancing, and you can choose to use a mask and wash your hands. 

Remember, plan for the things you are able to, such as setting up a schedule for time to engage in your coursework.

Keep up on your online classes now so that you don't stress about them later. Online tutoring is available through Parkside Academic Resource Center. Have conversations with your instructors when concerns arise.

If your income has been compromised, do what you can to avoid getting behind on bills and financial obligations. Reset your budget, reduce or eliminate unneccesarry expenses, and seek out financial assistance that is available. Reach out to Financial Aid to explore options.

Adjusting to Online Courses  |  PARC  |  Financial Resources

"My advisor recommended online tutoring. I got help with math, she also gave me advice on staying focused in all of my classes so I don't stress myself out." 

— Parkside student

"My family was sharing a laptop with very unreliable internet. Grant money [from Parkside] will help us purchase another laptop and router so I’m able to complete my assignments without the stress of sharing computer and WiFi time." 

— Parkside student


Although you aren't able to connect with fellow Rangers or some family in person like you normally would due to social distancing, schedule a time to call a different friend or family member to interact with each day or week through social media, email, texting, and video calls. Popular options are Facebook, Zoom, Skype, Google Duo, and ezTalks.

Your peers, your family, and the whole Parkside campus community are experiencing this new distance with you. Do not underestimate the positive impact you may have on someone else by reaching out. You'll benefit, too.

Since emotions can be contagious, be aware of how you feel when talking to a particular person. Choose those who promote a positive view and bring a sense of calm rather than fear about the pandemic. You may also find value in connecting others through free, online support groups.

Campus Activities and Engagement  |  Online Support Groups

"As often as I can, I reach out to my family and friends. At least two [times] a day, if not more. We talk on the phone or use other video conferencing options. Sometimes I talk to neighbors from a distance."

— Parkside student

"[Online classes] made it easier for me to get back in the habit of running in the mornings ... I also really enjoy making my morning cup of coffee now so I have incorporated a new routine, which is something I really needed."

— Parkside student


Make a small list of the things that come to your mind in order to get them out of the repeat cycle in your head. Brainstorm potential solutions without judging, analyzing, or excluding any. Then, pick the one that works best for your situation.

Use your 5 senses to focus on the here and now rather than your thoughts. Notice the colors, shapes, smells, textures, temperatures, etc. as you orient yourself to your surroundings.

Remember to take breaks for things you enjoy such as prayer, journaling, reading, sitting in the sun, video games, comedy, knitting, taking deep breaths, stretching, listening to music you love, or meditating.

Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals. It's a great time to keep your body's immune system strong. Exercise regularly. Get plenty of sleep, and try new methods of supporting sleep. Avoid alcohol and drugs.

CHECK OUT: Ranger Wellness at Home 

"Every evening I use the Breath app before trying to fall asleep. If I am feeling a little more anxious I use the Headspace app because the guided meditation helps me relax." 

— Parkside student


Many of us have fewer daily commitments, meetings, or work hours. That can leave a lot of time for stress and anxiety to creep in. Setting a schedule for yourself not only helps provide structure, it also keeps your mind busy.

Try to keep your regular class schedule. For instance, if you have a class that met at 10 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays, consider loggin in and doing the work for that class at the same time with a similar structure. Settling back into an existing schedule can be very comforting.

"I’ve tried to follow a routine. I eat at the same times each day, make meals as I can, and go for my walk breaks at the same times." 

— Parkside student


If what you are experiencing is bigger than what these techniques can support, seek help. The Student Health and Counseling Center continues to offer counseling by phone. There are many alternatives to in-person services available through other trusted sources. In a crisis, seek immediate help.

CHECK OUT:  Counseling Services  |  Crisis Options  |  SilverCloud
Access to SilverCloud, the online self-help mental health resource, will be ending on Thursday, June 30, 2022. A new UW-System wide resource is intended to be available sometime this Fall 2022.


Share an Instagram post with hashtag #uwparkside, and it may end up here!

SOURCES: Active Minds Blog  |  SAMHSA  |  Dr. Bessel van der Kolk

Some quotes from Parkside students have been edited for length and clarity.

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