Recognizing and Responding to Reactions to the COVID-19 Pandemic
As the Loyola community and country work to address the COVID-19 pandemic and honor public health recommendations, it can be challenging to navigate your student's response to this outbreak. Feelings of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty may come up and are normal.
Sometimes, though, people can begin to feel stuck in these emotions, become frantic, or avoid acknowledgement of these reactions. It will be important to encourage your student to learn how to sit with the uncertainty we currently face and cope with their emotional responses. Keep in mind that feelings of worry are not always verbal, so pay attention to behavioral changes as well.
Please use the information below to learn ways to support your student during this unsettling time. We also highlight ways that you, as a parent or caregiver, can find space to manage your own reactions to the coronavirus.
Tips for Talking to Your Student About Coronavirus
Students may be experiencing fear, uncertainty, and anxiety as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are some tips for you to support your student during this time:
- Model calmness
- Make sure to carve out time for your own self-care in order to model stress-management for your student
- Maintain a sense of normalcy and routine as much as possible
- Listen actively to your student’s fears and worries about Coronavirus
- Ask questions in a way that’s non-judgmental and empathic
- Validate your student’s feelings by informing them that it’s normal and okay to feel anxious, overwhelmed, frustrated, confused, etc.
- Help your student sit with their anxiety rather than avoiding it
- Your student might want to distract themselves from uncomfortable feelings, but it’s important to experience and talk about worries and anxieties
- Know the facts and encourage your student to seek out information that is accurate
- Up-to-date and accurate information can be found at:
If your student is having an especially difficult time coping, encourage them to contact a counselor at the Counseling Center who can provide support and help connect them to local resources.
Check out our Emotional Wellness and COVID-19 and Remote Services pages to learn more about counseling center resources, self-help tools, and university updates.
Balancing Your Own Mental Health and Self-Care Needs
It’s important for you to notice signs of your own distress and take care of your emotional needs. Recognize when you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Use some of these self-care strategies:
- Engage in a calming activity like deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, reading, or going for a walk.
- Limit exposure to constant news updates and seek accurate information.
- Maintain social connection and talk to other adults about your own reactions to the Coronavirus outbreak.
- Focus on what is in your control, such as getting enough sleep, eating healthful foods, and practicing good hygiene.
- Focus on facts rather than fears. Consider the most likely outcome rather than the worst possible outcome.
By taking care of yourself and prioritizing your own mental health needs, you will be better equipped to support your student. We are wishing all our Loyola students, families, and community physical and emotional health as we navigate this public health crisis.