Student Health Clinic Virtual Care Package

University of Northern Iowa Student Health Center Virtual Care Package: Coping with COVID-19

Just like you, we are all on a new path, a new reality associated with COVID-19. We hope you are adjusting to these challenging circumstances. We also want to do more than send warm wishes, we want to put something in your inbox to bring you a moment of peace, joy and comfort. We have put together this Virtual Care Package in the hopes that, even if just for a moment, it helps you focus on self-care.

Virtual care package from the Student Health Center

Choose self-care 

Acknowledge: Notice and acknowledge the uncertainty as it comes to mind.

Pause: Don't react as you normally do. Don't react at all. Pause and breathe.

Pull back: Tell yourself this is just the worry talking, and this apparent need for certainty is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling. Don't believe everything you think. Thoughts are not statements or facts.

Let go: Let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You don't have to respond to them. You might imagine them floating away in a bubble or cloud.

Explore: Explore the present moment. Notice your breathing and the sensations of your breathing. Notice the ground beneath you. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Right now. Then shift your focus of attention to something else - on what you need to do, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry, or do something else - mindfully with your full attention.

  • Learn more about how to cope and stay emotionally well during COVID-19 related school closures.

  • Ask yourself these six questions every day.

  • Listen to advice from an astronaut on coping with isolation.

  • The struggle to focus is real.

  • Enroll in Yale’s free course, The Science of Well-Being. Engage in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits.


Choose meditation and mindfulness 


Choose gratitude 


Choose connection 

  • Host a virtual NetflixParty. Netflix recently announced a new way to watch its streaming service with your friends online. Netflix Party synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to your favorite Netflix shows.

  • Download the Houseparty app to connect virtually with friends and play games. 

  • Send a virtual hug. 

  • If you are self-quarantining with loved ones, did you know that a 20-second hug does wonders? Oxytocin (the “cuddle hormone”) is released, a hormone that relaxes us and lowers anxiety. When it's released during these 20-second hugs, it can effectively lower blood pressure and reduce the stress hormone norepinephrine. 

  • Have a dance off with friends and have a live virtual dance party.

  • Play online games together like Minecraft. Discord is a platform you can use to play and chat with friends at the same time.

  • Cards Against Humanity or Checkers more your speed? Have a virtual game night and use Google Hangouts or FaceTime to chat while playing. Wirecutter has more game night options and suggestions.

  • Online Scattergories

  • Phone or FaceTime a friend (but maybe text them first to see if they are available).

  • This is a great time to check in with people you haven’t heard from in a while - send a text or send a note of gratitude via email! 

  • Pets are benefiting from our increased time at home. Share some of your best furry friend’s antics with others online.

  • Host a dinner party with friends or family over FaceTime or Google Hangouts.

  • Invite someone to a virtual lunch or coffee break.

  • Start a personal/public blog, website or podcast.

  • Write handwritten letters to friends/loved ones.

  • Explore virtual events offered through CAB.   


Choose the arts & creativity

  • Explore art museums from around the world virtually. 

  • Engage in Random Acts of Kindness

  • Want to flex your sketchbook skills? This is just one example of an art challenge you can find on social media.

  • Art-viewing can help with social and psychological support for people caring for those with mental health challenges. Just do it virtually for now, though. 

  • Virtual concerts and Broadway shows to watch during the COVID-19 shutdown.  

  • Express your feelings through creative writing, painting, drawing, photography, clay, listening and/or playing music, or experimenting with a new baking recipe.

  • Color these adult coloring pages.


Choose music

  • Free virtual concerts!

Rolling Stone: In My Room concerts (3 concerts a week)

NPRs Tiny Desk concerts for the arts (Harry Styles, Chika, Taimane, Coldplay and more)

Compilation of classical music and opera on demand as well as live streams from The Guardian and Classic fM

  • Make a music video.

  • Create a variety of playlists highlighting different moods or activities (e.g., I’m rearranging my living space playlist, I need to chill out playlist).  


Choose movement


Choose kids’ activities 

For students with children or younger siblings, here are some free resources to entertain and engage with your little loved one:


Choose helping others 

  • Tip delivery drivers and restaurant staff generously if you are able.

  • Check-in on your neighbors, friends, and classmates who may be more vulnerable.

1. Practice physical distancing.

2. Share information responsibly and support those who create good information.

3. Practice patience, kindness and understanding.

  • Complete a Mental Health Training to assist others who may be in need of assistance. 

1. Mental Health Ally Training

2. QPR - counseling.uni.edu/MHA (register with the link)


Choose nature

  • Go for a mindfulness walk or check out our Mindful Monday page on our website: counseling.uni.edu/mindfulmondays.

  • Breathe the fresh air and take in what is around you. Use your 5 senses to connect with nature

  •  Exercise your green thumb by purchasing a low maintenance plant or have someone gift you with a baby plant (succulents are great). Plants are a great way to brighten up your workstation and improve your well-being.    

  • Go for a virtual National Park Tour!


Choose deep breaths


Choose self-care apps 

  • Check out the CALM app - free meditations, stories, music and yoga

  • Headspace - explore guided exercises, videos and more to help you get healthier and happier

  • Breathe2Relax


Choose cooking and mindful eating 

How about experimenting with some new recipes? Share your creations on social media and/or have a live cooking challenge with friends.


Choose sports

Desperately missing sports? Check out these free passes:

  • Free NBA League Pass - games from this season and classic games

  • Free NFL Game Pass - game replays

There are plenty of eSports to enjoy.


Choose rest


Choose support

  • Connect with the Counseling Center if you are interested in counseling.

  • Text with the crisis text line by texting “hello” to 741741.

  • 24/7 Crisis Phone: Call 319-273- 2676, press 2 

  • Wellness Coaching: set-up a Zoom Wellness Coaching appointment to discuss self-care strategies with a Wellness Coach! Sign-up online: studentwellness.uni.edu/wellness-coaching.

  • 24/7 Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 


Choose laughter