Anxiety in the COVID-19 era

It’s normal to feel stressed and anxious during this uncertain time. As a matter of fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an entire webpage devoted to COVID-19-related stress and anxiety. Whether you’re a graduating senior or just embarking on your journey at UW-Madison, we see you and we’re here for you. It’s okay to be scared right now, and it’s more than okay to ask for help. Here are a few tips to manage anxiety during these challenging times:

Take a break. Although it’s important to keep up with the news, it’s equally important to take time away from the headlines. Constantly watching the news can be anxiety-inducing during these times, so the CDC recommends taking time away from reading or watching the news on TV, the web, and social media.

Use UHS. Whether you’re on campus or not, UHS is available to help you. Though in-person drop-in consultations are not currently available, you can still call (608) 265-5600 (select option 2) or use your online MyUHS portal to schedule a phone appointment with a provider. In that phone appointment, a provider will be able to assess what your needs are and determine the most appropriate next steps for your health and safety. And, as always, the UHS crisis line (608-265-5600, option 9) and SilverCloud, an online mental health resource available to all students, will continue to be available 24 hours a day. For more information, please visit:

Meditate. Practicing meditation is one way to relax the mind and body in this challenging time. New to meditation? Here’s a 6-minute mindfulness practice from The Center for Healthy Minds that’ll get you acclimated to the practice. Whether you’re a meditation expert or have never tried it before, we also invite you to tune in to our Instagram each Wednesday at 12pm CDT, where we host live 10-minute meditation sessions for you to relax with your fellow Active Badgers. In addition, we recommend downloading apps to guide your meditation practice. The Healthy Minds App, based out of The Center for Healthy Minds at UW-Madison, offers free, COVID-19-related support. Additional apps include Calm, Headspace, or Insight Timer, all with free or discounted meditation options.

Practice gratitude. We know what you’re thinking: why are we suggesting that we count our blessings during such a challenging time? Here’s why: Dr. Shilagh Mirgain, an affiliate of The Center for Healthy Minds at UW-Madison, advocates for daily gratitude practice because research shows that it makes you happier. After just one week of practicing gratitude, people reported being 2% happier, after four weeks they reported being 4% happier, and after six months they reported being 9% happier. Something as simple as acknowledging the good in your life can improve your wellbeing, and we’re all about that.

Connect with your community. The CDC recommends connecting with community, and though we do need to physically distance ourselves from others right now, this the perfect time to lean on each other and check in with your favorite people. If you’re looking to hang out with some fellow Badgers, Rec Well is hosting free virtual social hours every Tuesday from 12-1 pm and Thursday from 4-5 pm. You can tune in at this link and chat!

Do the basics. Finally, though it may be challenging, the CDC recommends that you make sure to do the basics to take care of your body and mind. This includes eating healthy foods, moving your body, avoiding alcohol and drugs, and doing activities that bring you joy. Taking care of the basics is a great step in taking care of yourself, so remember to put yourself first during this challenging time.

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