COVID-19 Care Package

The distress related to COVID-19 can be difficult. Most of us were never taught how to quarantine, but by practicing some of these strategies: maintaining a daily schedule, remaining focused on schoolwork, and taking advantage of remote opportunities, we’ll come out of this stronger than ever.

Recognizing Distress After a COVID-19 Diagnosis

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones 

  • Stress from the experience of monitoring yourself or being monitored by others for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 

  • Sadness, anger, or frustration because friends or loved ones have fears of contracting the disease from having contact with you 

  • Guilt about not being able to perform normal school, work, or other duties during quarantine 

  • Other emotional or mental health changes, including but not limited to: depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and traumatic distress.

Recognizing Distress While in Quarantine

  • Increased worry, fearfulness, or feelings of being overwhelmed 

  • Feelings of fatigue or exhaustion that persist and/or intensify 

  • Inability to focus or concentrate that may be accompanied by decreased academic performance 

  • A feeling of hopelessness and/or a paralyzing fear about the future 

  • Sudden anger, sadness, irritability, or noticeable changes in personality 

  • Sleep difficulties 

  • Isolating or withdrawing from others, fear of going into public situations 

  • Increased unhealthy coping behaviors (e.g., increased alcohol or drug use, engaging in risky/impulsive behaviors)

14-day Quarantine Coping Tips

  • Develop a daily mindfulness meditation list: (refer to the Additional Resources below), incorporating any regular spiritual practices that are meaningful for you

  • Find guided workout videos for use on the days when you feel well enough for physical activity

  • Have the things that entertain you on hand (i.e. movies and shows, podcasts, books, etc.)

  • Consider daily journaling—writing your thoughts and feelings is a great way of coping with distress (this experience will be interesting to look back on later)

  • Create a quarantine schedule that includes:

    • Course work based on deadlines and your class schedule

    • Include in your schedule the following items as DAILY activities: meals, sleep, physical activity (when you feel up to it), meditation, remote social engagement time (this could be group, 1-on-1, friends, family, etc.), and personal mental health activity (whatever works for you—i.e. writing song lyrics, playing guitar, journaling, coloring, crafting, etc.)


Emotional Well-being

  • Remind yourself that your emotions are valid.There’s no right way to respond to the challenges associated with COVID-19.  This situation is novel, evolving, and unpredictable. 

  • Stay connected. During this period, it’s important to maintain appropriate social distance.  Make sure to find other ways to stay in touch with your social supports (a phone call, video chat, or text).

  • Reduce media exposure if overwhelmed. Limit the time you spend taking in COVID-19 news. We’re inundated with information regarding it and are often receiving information through multiple channels. This can be overwhelming.  

  • Be careful of COVID-19 misinformation. Prevent yourself from being caught up in potential rumors by getting information from reputable sources. Check out state and local government sites -- including your school -- for up-to-date information regarding closings. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are the best places to check for correct information about the virus.

  • Maintain your typical schedule as best as you can. Meals, classes, study time, relaxation time, etc. Having a schedule helps us contain emotions and feel a sense of control during a time of uncertainty.  

  • Maintain perspective. While this is a significant event for all of us, remind yourself of what’s good in your life and what’s important to you: health, friends, academic goals, religion, or spirituality. 

  • Engage in self-care. Maintain a regular sleep schedule by going to sleep and waking up around the same time each day. Work towards maintaining good nutrition and regular meals, which includes limiting alcohol and caffeine intake and getting some exercise. When the weather is nice, go for a walk or spend time outside ( while wearing a mask and maintaining 6 feet of physical distancing, of course). Practice deep breathing, relaxation, or yoga. Try taking up an activity that requires use of your body and mind, which can give you an emotional break: knitting, art, playing an instrument, etc.

GW Resources

Reach out to friends and family for support and equip yourself with information about on-campus resources. 

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at GWU offers ongoing and crisis counseling services. Contact a CAPS clinician at 202-994-3500 to request an initial phone consultation to determine most appropriate services. Visit the website for more information.

  • Campus Living and Residential Education can assist you with understanding your housing options if you have been asked to quarantine.  Please call CLRE at 202-994-2552 or email at [email protected].

Beyond GW

Consider making use of one of the many mental health resources that are available nationally whether online or via phone. 

  • The Disaster Distress Helpline is a 24/7national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. 

  • ULifeline is a confidential online resource dedicated to offering college students resources for their mental health and wellbeing. 

  • Find a therapist in your area.


  • Free mindfulness exercises via Youtube (using search phrases “guided meditation,” “relaxation exercises,” “mindfulness exercises,” “progressive muscle relaxation,” “mindful breathing”)

  • Free Apps

    • Headspace

    • GPS for the Soul

    • Breath Ball

    • Virtual Hopebox

    • Colorfly

    • Personal Zen

  • Free in-room workout

    • Google “The 50 Best Free Workout Resources You Can Find Online”

  • Play Quarantine Games (google for ideas)

    • Do some virtual tours of beaches, zoos, farms, and destination spots around the world (Google Chatterpack, “A list of free, online, boredom-busting resources”)

  • Check out these handouts