COVID-19 Coping Tips & Resources for Staff & Faculty
This information was updated in July 2021 to reflect changes in the COVID-19 pandemic's status and changes to safety guidelines. Scroll to the bottom for a list of lots of additional resources on news, self-care, and remote instruction/working from home.
Tip #1: Use Trusted Resources
- Limit social media exposure and seek out reputable news sources. (See the resources list below.)
- Visit the USF Together page for the latest information about University actions, guidance, and resources to keep our community safe and informed. You can also check the USF Twitter account at @usfca.
Tip #2: Take Breaks From News
- “Staying on top of the news” is one way our brains try to feel in control of an out-of-control situation, but news overload can lead to more anxiety.
- If you find yourself overloaded with news, turn off push notifications about news on your phone. Put limits on how much time you spend and what sort of interactions you have on social media.
Tip #3: Focus on What You Can Control
Much has felt scary and unpredictable during the pandemic; one way to cope with these feelings is to focus on what you can control. Here are some practical things you can do today:
- Follow local, USF, state, and CDC guidelines around safety as more and more businesses and institutions return to fully or partially operating in person
- Follow proper hand-washing steps (20 seconds) and use hand sanitizer when washing your hands is not possible
- Get your flu shot and a COVID vaccination
- Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue, then throw it out, or cough/sneeze into your elbow, not your hand
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
- Get enough sleep and eat well to stay healthy
- Contact your doctor's office for advice if you begin to feel sick
Tip #4: Use Healthy Coping and Connect with Others
Prioritize your own self-care and staying connected with other people. Here are some ideas:
- Take a walk or hike outside! Getting outside is good for your mental and physical health.
- Take an online or in-person yoga or fitness class.
- Take Yale's popular online class "The Science of Well-Being" for free!
- Listen to a funny podcast or watch a comedy video.
- Talk to friends and family by phone, video chat, or messaging. Plan in-person time with others as you feel ready, being mindful of guidelines for vaccinated vs. non-vaccinated people.
- Make yourself a nice cup of tea or coffee (try herbal tea if caffeine makes you anxious).
- Meditate or just sit quietly, taking deep breaths, for 10 minutes.
- Color, draw, or scribble.
- Listen to your favorite songs. Make a playlist of uplifting music.
- Play with a pet or watch animal videos.
- Write in a journal..
- See the resources list below for online education and entertainment, self-care tools, and more.
Tip #5: Get Additional Help If You Need It
If you will continue to work remotely full or part time, be sure to take advantage of USF resources such as IT support and trainings on using online technologies. There are additional resources on remote instruction and working from home listed below.
If you tried tips 1 through 4 and your anxiety or mood feels unmanageable, contact Concern, USF's Employee Assistance Program, especially if you or a family member is experiencing some of the following:
- Significant changes in sleeping or eating/appetite
- Deterioration in focus and attention
- Difficulty completing work or doing other important things
- Thoughts about harming yourself
- Problems with substance use
- The occurrence of physical, emotional, verbal, and/or sexual violence
Concern has expanded its services to include more remote resources, such as texting and messaging. Employees still have two easy ways to initiate getting help, the 24/7 call center at (800) 344-4222 and Luma, their mobile app.
- Concern: USF's employee assistance program (see above for more info)
- Dons Connect: Tools for keeping connected and finding inspiration in the Dons community
- GoUSF Self-Care Tips and Resources: A variety of tools to help you refocus on your self-care and get support while caring for others
- GoUSF Staycation Page: Fun ideas to enjoy a break while staying put
News, Self-Care, Education, COVID-19 Information
- ABC News Asian America (news about Asia, Asian Americans)
- Audible (by Amazon) is offering free "Stories" for kids, tweens, and teens
- BET News COVID-19 Article (impact of COVID-19 on black Americans)
- Brené Brown does an interview on vulnerability and courage on 60 Minutes
- CDC (Centers for Disease Control) COVID-19 information and updates
- Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook is a free resource providing science-based information and coping strategies, from The Wellness Society
- Emotional Well-Being and Coping During COVID-19 from UC San Francisco Psychiatry Department
- Fitness classes are offered online through Fitness Blender, a YouTube series providing free workouts for a variety of fitness levels, and PopSugar Fitness (membership is currently free to access more than 500 workouts with celebrity trainers and fitness experts)
- Handout from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) provides information and coping tips on mental health and social distancing
- Indian Health Service (health resources for American Indians & Alaska Natives)
- Ivy League universities are offering more than 400 free online courses through Class Central
- Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center
- Mental health and wellness apps can help build your coping tools and self-awareness; Sanvello is adding COVID-19 content and is currently making their premium version free; other popular apps are Headspace (a meditation app with a library of guided meditations) and Ten Percent Happier (offers guided meditations, podcasts, and more)
- Mindful Movement Sequences is a series of short YouTube videos, each with a different posture for different purposes, offered by the Niroga Institute, an Oakland-based nonprofit that promotes equity through trauma-informed dynamic mindfulness, strengthening resilience and empathy in schools and communities
- Mindfulness resources free from Mindful.org include guided meditations and courses for more calm during the pandemic
- Prayers from various faiths and on various topics from Xavier University's Jesuit Resource website
- Progressive muscle relaxation exercise is a 16-minute video leading you through a mindful exercise to relax your body and mind
- Resilience tools and resources (some general, some COVID-related) from renowned psychologist Donald Meichenbaum, one of the creators of cognitive-behavioral therapy were adapted from Meichenbaum's book Roadmap to Resilience, written for military personnel and families, as well as people who have experienced trauma; these resources are helpful for health care workers and the general public as well
- San Francisco District Attorney's Office: Report COVID-19–related hate crimes, price gouging, and scams so that those who exploit public health emergencies for profit or to justify hate will be held accountable by calling (415) 551-9595; the website has additional information and resources regarding combatting hate crimes, victim services, and more
- TAO, an online mental health service, has created a COVID-19 coping video and made their mindfulness video library available to anyone online, whether a TAO subscriber or not, for FREE (in English or French)
- Virus anxiety website has daily mantras, information about xenophobia, parenting advice related to COVID, calming online distractions, and more
- Yoga classes are available online through DoYogaWithMe: Offers a variety of free classes, as well as a free 2-month premium membership during the COVID-19 pandemic
Remote Instruction/REMOTE WORK
- CNET article on preventing "Zoombombing" and keeping Zoom meetings/classes secure
- Cybersecurity awareness resources from EDUCAUSE
- Faculty Guide to Helping Students Manage Stress from COVID and Online Learning: A guide for USF faculty
- PowerPoint from the Jed Foundation on managing the stress of remote instruction (must register with the Jed website to view)
- Tips for transitioning back to in-person work from Very Well Mind
- Tips for transitioning to remote work from EDUCAUSE