Finding New Ways to Cope with Anxiety During a Pandemic

By Hailey, Grace, and Alexis, undergraduate students at St. Mary's University.

Everyone has had to adjust in some way, shape, or form to this new reality; many people have picked up new hobbies, found new coping techniques, or adapted their usual coping mechanisms. Students have found new ways to keep in touch with loved ones, stay active, relax, and cope with the new stressors that this pandemic has created. Our exhibit includes examples not only of American students, but of international students as well. 

Adjusting Existing Coping Mechanisms

Over the course of the years, people have accumulated hobbies and ways they like to cope with day-to-day life problems. They use things such as art, exercise and reading to cope with anxiety, stress, and other intrusive feelings society pushes on people. With the new COVID-19 pandemic, and the nature of it, many of us have been quarantined for months and new rules, such as social distancing, have been implemented. This may have affected some of your already existing coping mechanisms, causing you to make adjustments

Staying Active during Quarantine

Some people switched to at-home workouts as gyms were closed during Quarantine.  

Visiting with Friends during the Pandemic

"Before COVID, I would hangout with my friends in person which was a good and fun stress reliever. However, now that we have to social distance, I FaceTime them which helps just as much." -Vicky 

Keeping in Touch With Angie

Many of us found new ways to stay in touch with friends during the new normal of social distancing.

Sweet Treats

"Before COVID one of my coping mechanisms for when I’m stressed was to go get something sweet to eat. But I had to adjust that, and now I get something sweet to-go and sit in my car while I listen to music." -Maddie

International Student on Coping with COVID-19

Interview of an International student on how she is coping with COVID while being away from family and friends. 

The New Hobbies We Have Acquired

While this pandemic has been extremely difficult and stressful for many, it has also provided the opportunity for some to pick up some new hobbies that they otherwise wouldn't have before.  These new hobbies are outlets for people to help address their stress and have become a new coping mechanism. For example, my friend, Linda, from Finland, learned how to orienteer during their lockdown, which provided an active and mental outlet. My sister started learning how to do origami as a way to pass time. Many have found new hobbies; hopefully, some of the ones below can inspire others to try new things and find new escapes.

The Hobbies We Have Used to Get Through Covid-19

Grace started a paint-by-numbers which provided her a distraction while staying at home.

Learning to Disc Golf

Thomas has been working on perfecting his disc-golf throw, which is a new hobby he has started to spend time outside during quarantine.

Costume Designing During a Pandemic

Erin started making homemade costumes as a way to pass time during the pandemic.

Learning How to Orienteer in Finland

Linda, a student from Finland, learned how to orienteer during the spare time she had because of the lockdown.

Learning to Play Piano

Vanessa started taking piano lessons as a way to unwind and creatively express herself.

Aslak's Competitive Weightlifting

Aslak, from Norway, started doing competitive weightlifting during quarantine.

Helping with Anxiety

While some people found distractions and relaxation in new hobbies, others still found the anxiety of the semester overwhelming. St. Mary's University has tried their best to help students cope with the new norm. For example, St. Mary's started having Mental Health workshops that provided students with access and help finding out new ways to control their anxiety. Another way to show how St. Mary's has helped is showing all the things we did together during this pandemic which was have dance parties over zoom, poetry readings, workshops, etc. The healing power of Music and Meditation both have a way that helps us escape from our thoughts and mind and puts us at ease even if it's just for a little bit. All these activities are to show that we are all in this together and we are not alone and we are here for one another. The feeling of not being alone also is a coping mechanism that helps dealing with Anxiety.

Mental Health with Online Classes

St. Mary's provided access and help for our mental health through offering online workshops to teach us new strategies and to learn more about dealing with anxiety.

Crazy Semester for St. Mary's University

This shows all the activities we were able to do together during the pandemic such as dance and watch parties via Zoom. Being able to participate in different events gave us a sense of we are not alone and we are all in this together!

The Healing Power of Music

Music has been a huge comfort helping with Anxiety and having a sense of being able to escape everything that is happening during the pandemic.

Meditation during the Pandemic

Meditation was taught to me by my St. Mary's professor. Lighting a scented candle or going outside for fresh air all help you relax and calm your heart.

Fun Activities to Help Calm your Anxiety

Different ways to calm your anxiety provided by St. Mary's University. Being able to have a watch party together via Zoom and also being able to paint from home are all ways to give our mind a sense of peace.

While this pandemic has been a trying time for all, it has also resulted in people finding new things that they love to do, adapting their existing coping mechanisms, and even finding completely new ways to relieve anxiety. Hopefully, this exhibit will be a help and an inspiration to others in dealing with the new pressures and anxieties that Covid-19 has created.

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