By Joe Garvey

The COVID-19 pandemic has created new stresses and anxieties for everyone. Teleworking. Remote Learning. Stay-at-home orders. Job losses. Financial concerns. Fears about catching the virus. The list goes on.

It can be overwhelming.

Kristy L. Carlisle, assistant professorin the Department of Counseling & Human Services in the Darden College of Education and Professional Studies at Old Dominion University, said it's important to maintain perspective.

"Number one, I think it's important to recognize that any anxiety anyone may be experiencing is a normal response to an abnormal situation," she said.

She explained that anxiety triggers a biological response in the brain that's designed to protect us.

"By identifying anxiety and thinking about it purposefully, we can start to move into the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain where we make evaluations and judgements of situations," she said. "Once we are here, we can use reliable information we have to tell ourselves the difference between what we can and cannot control. For example, we cannot control the absence of some resources, such as toilet paper or masks, but we can control our responses and behaviors by following CDC guidelines and staying safe in our homes."

She added that mindset is important, too.

"Instead of thinking, 'I am stuck in my home,' we say, 'I am safe in my home,'" she said. "Instead of saying, 'I will get sick,' we say, 'I will wash my hands and self-isolate to decrease my chances of getting sick.'"

If you need more help navigating the crisis, there are a number of resources available. Here's a list of some of them:

ODU Updates and Information:

Resources for ODU Students:

ODU Student Counseling: 757-683-4401

Resources for ODU Faculty and Staff:

ODU Employee Assistance Program: 757-683-3042

Managing Stress related to Coronavirus Informational resources:

Hotlines related to Coronavirus-specific the stress management:

Hotline related to Coronavirus -any type of help (food, child care etc):

Mental Health America:

American Counseling Association:

World Health Organization:

Food insecurity:

Domestic violence:

Child abuse:

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