Coronavirus Tips and Resources

How to Stay Safe and Sane During the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 01, 2020
Frank Gardner
Frank Gardner

Whether you’re a college student struggling with remote learning or a parent trying to figure out how to pay the mortgage, the spread of the coronavirus has presented all of us with an unprecedented challenge. At best, it has disrupted your schedule; at worst, you or someone you love may be in critical condition. We collected the following tips and advice from our mental health professionals for dealing with this situation.

Pressures at Home

School of Health Sciences Dean Frank Gardner, Ph.D.

Clinical psychologist and Touro College School of Health Sciences Associate Dean Frank Gardner enumerates some of the new pressures we are facing while stuck at home because of the coronavirus epidemic. These new pressures include the loss ofroutine, the loss of social contact and social reinforcement, and the changes we facein our environments. Dr. Gardner continues his talk by discussing the differences between pressure and stress and concludes with some tips on dealing with our new situations. “View these pressures as realities and accept them,” advised Dr. Gardner. “In the larger scheme of things, these challenges will pass. They are not permanent and these challenges, like social distancing, exist for a purpose. Try to reframe these challenges in a way that allows you to view them as opportunities to develop new skills, whether it’s discovering how to learn via online learning or developing management skills to keep your children entertained while you continue to work.”

 


Coronavirus Anxiety and a Mental Health Message from Naomi Klapper

Naomi Klapper, Chair of Psychology, Lander College for Women—The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School

Lander College for Women Psychology Department Chair Naomi Klapper offers severed tips to Touro students and family members on dealing with the changes thecoronavirus has made to their daily lives. One tip that Klapper stresses is setting up your own schedule and exercising. “Set up times when you will be learning remotelyand take breaks. This will help improve your learning and make your breaks more productive as well,” said Klapper. “This will also give you a sense of balance.” Klapper advises that while we should all be concerned with the current situation; we should fight the urge to panic. One way to do this? Limit social media. "People are putting their anxieties on Facebook and on Twitter,” said Klapper. “They are doing it to help them release some of their anxiety, but it's only raising your anxiety... Check-in once a day with the news so you feel in touch, and then go about your business and use your time productively."

I’m Going Crazy and My Kids Are Driving Me Crazy

Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, Touro College Graduate School of Education Professor & Lucille Weidman Program Chair of Jewish Education & Special Education

The first point that Dr. Jeffrey Licthman raises in this video is: if you’re feeling anxious about the current situation, it is a totally normal reaction. “It is normal to experience levels of anxiety around the unknown and while it’s clear we’ve learned something about this epidemic, there is much that is still unknown,” explains Dr. Lichtman. “We, as human beings, don’t like what is unknown and unfamiliar and thisnaturally causes us anxiety. In addition, most of us have lost our routines which takes away our feelings of control. This combination of lack of control and the presence of the unknown are very powerful sources of anxiety.” Anxiety isn’t all bad, Dr. Lichtman says. It’s what makes us study for exams and take precautionary measures in situations. However, he advises that to limit anxiety, you should avoid the 24-hour news cycles. “It’s not healthy to be tuned in for every moment-to-moment update,” said Dr. Lichtman. “Tune in the morning and the evening, otherwise it isn’t healthy and will potentially increase your anxiety.” Dr. Lichtman also suggests that another way to ease general anxiety is to refocus your attention on tasks and work that is normally neglected as well as spend time with family members. Finally, he concludes that there is an opportunity in the challenge we face. “We all have a need for meaning; reaching out to those we love or those in need, not only helps them, but helps us by filling our lives with meaning and replacing that anxiety.”