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The New Normal

The global pandemic is a new, life-changing experience for everyone across the globe. Uncertainty impacts us all--how long will quarantine last and what adjustments will last much longer. For international students, enormous change may have happened when you arrived at Purdue—acclimating to US culture, academic expectations and creating support without family nearby. We applaud your courage and acknowledge that international students face additional challenges in coping with COVID 19 and other world events.

What Does The New Normal Involve?

  1. Understanding and managing new stress from COVID 19
  2. Understanding video fatigue and lower productivity at home
  3. Creating spaces for work and leisure

Understanding what makes COVID 19 so stressful

  1. Overwhelming 24/7 news coverage with horrifying pictures
  2. Social support is strictly limited—no hugs, social distance, isolation
  3. Feeling a lack of control over the situation—information and directions change frequently
  4. Obsessive thinking about cleanliness may become more prominent
  5. For students who cannot go home or have family in hotspots around the globe, worry about loved ones can also produce sadness and depressed mood.
  6. Too much time together—loss of freedom and personal space, increased irritability
  7. Added responsibilities—working online, teaching children
  8. Financial and political uncertainty

What is bothering you? What creative ways have you learned to cope?

Manage the Uncontrollable By Controlling What You Can

While we have limited control over the spread of the virus, we can limit our exposure. But, how can we manage the anxiety created by uncertainty, misinformation and isolation?

  1. Limit Social Media Exposure to avoid constant overflow of virus information
  2. Remind yourself of a difficult time that you have successfully managed in the past. Be resilient by looking 5 years ahead to imagine
  3. Begin to think of what can I control Right Now. Avoid What if scenarios.
  4. Try something new. Free APPS and websites promote mindfulness, stress management, and explore grief. Examples:
    1. Headspace, Shine and Calm
    2. https://thehappinesstrap.com/
    3. www.virusanxiety.com has a number of resources
    4. www.grief.com has information in dealing with loss

Exercises in FACE COVID

Russ Harris acronym is found on this link in a 12 page ACT based book and stands for:

F = Focus on what’s in your control
A = Acknowledge your thoughts & feelings without judgment
C = Come back into your body
E = Engage in what you’re doing—focus on immediate tasks

 

C = Committed action
O = Opening up
V = Values
I = Identify resources
D = Disinfect & distance

This link explains the complex impact of working remotely on the brain and why fatigue and lower productivity are understandable reactions.

Creating Separate Spaces for Work and Play

Physical cues help us to distinguish work and play time. Set aside a space for work, if possible, that is not in the middle of family traffic, where you play video games or watch TV. Set specific work hours to prevent working around the clock.

Create another separate place (the sofa or game room) which feels more comfy and relaxing for watching movies, reading for pleasure etc.

Try to use your bed and bedroom for sleep only, if you have the space to do so. Set a regular sleep and wake time. Try using the advice of our CAPS nurse.

This structure will help you balance work and leisure.