Coping With Stress and Anxiety During Challenging Times

It is not unusual if concerns around the coronavirus pandemic are causing increased stress and maybe even some additional anxiety in your life. This is a normal and expected reaction. The way individuals respond to such an occurrence can cause strong emotions to surface, such as feeling overwhelmed, fearful, sad, confused, angry, helpless, out of control, lost and/or sometimes even numb. This is especially true as you try to make sense of all the information confronting you on a daily and sometimes hourly basis.

This is a unique time for all of us, and everyone will respond to this current situation in a different way. In addition to taking all accessible precautions, we want to remind you of some things you can do to help maintain your mental health:

  • Focus on very basic things that you can do to manage your power and self-control in your environment.
  • Reassert a sense of control over your fears, without overreacting and risking contributing to your own or others fears and anxiety.
  • Connect in a safe way with people in your life who you trust, who help reassure you and who you can turn to for support. Be ready to give that same support to others who need it from you, in a safe manner. Maintain your healthy relationships while managing healthy physical distancing.
  • Stay informed without overdoing it. This might mean placing limits on how much time you spend on social media, reading comments of others, or even watching all the news alerts. It is all right to let others know you might be limiting your online time; be sure to offer them other ways to contact you if necessary.
  • Try to stay connected with healthy hobbies and interests that stimulate and relax you physically and mentally.
  • Make time to unwind and remind yourself that the strong feelings of uncertainty or anxiety can fade as you refocus your energies.
  • Try to maintain a sense of hope and balanced thinking.
  • Remember to attend to your wellness and take care of your body, as well as your mind, spirit, and relationships. Breathe, stretch, meditate. Remember to eat balanced meals, stay active, rest and get regular sleep.

(Message borrowed and adapted from Brian Smith, NIU Employee Assistance Program director)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network answers thousands of calls from people in emotional distress. There are many reasons for their calls. Please call 1-800-273-8255 for any of the following reasons:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Information on suicide
  • Abuse/violence, sexual orientation issues
  • Information on mental health/illness
  • To help a friend or loved one

Safe Passage

Safe Passage is the domestic violence and sexual assault agency serving DeKalb County. They provide a wide range of services to victims of domestic and sexual violence.


Rosecrance provides mental health and substance abuse treatment to children, adolescents, adults and families in Rockford, Belvidere, Frankfort, Geneva and Chicago.

Northwestern Medicine: Greater DeKalb County Counseling and Psychiatry

Northwestern Medicine: Greater DeKalb County Counseling and Psychiatry provides mental health and substance abuse treatment to the DeKalb County.

Nutrition Coaching for DeKalb County

One-on-one nutrition coaching is available between August and May. Nutrition coaches provide nutrition support for general health and well-being, sports nutrition, and some medical conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Graduate-level nutrition coaches are supervised by Meg Burnham, M.S., RDN, CSSD, LDN.

Family Service Agency

The Family Service Agency provides mental health services to children, adolescents, adults and families in DeKalb County.

NIU Psychological Services Center

The NIU Psychological Services Center provides psychological services to the NIU and northern Illinois area communities. It is the primary training center for graduate students in the clinical psychology program at NIU.

The Couple and Family Therapy Clinic of NIU

The Couple and Family clinic works with individuals, couples and families, offering a safe space to discuss conflicts or problems with a partner, spouse, children, parents, siblings, family members, friends or roommates. We provide assistance with challenges such as everyday stress from responsibilities and decisions; child and adolescent behavioral problems; more persistent difficulties such as physical, sexual, or psychological abuse; coping with addiction; feelings of despair, loneliness, anxiety or fear and thoughts of suicide.

Northwestern Medicine Student Health Center at NIU

NIU is committed to providing students with a high-quality, comprehensive on-campus health care experience. Northwestern Medicine Student Health Center at NIU has tele-psych services for all eligible NIU students. They should be the first place to refer students since it would be free. It is very important, if students have student health insurance or any other insurance, they need to contact their insurance carrier to make sure of their coverage.

Contact Us

The Community Counseling Training Center
Graham Hall 416
290 North Annie Glidden Road
DeKalb, IL 60115

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