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Following a daily routine and thinking of others, students said, helped them tame fear and anxiety in midst of the coronavirus

Graphic of women sitting in two different rooms. The first, she's sitting, arms folded around her knees with corona viruses all around her. In the second, she's on a mat and in a meditation pose.

To take care of their mental health during COVID-19’s uncertainty, BYU–Hawaii students shared they are creating daily schedules and routines to stay productive, busy and peaceful.

According to Psychology Today, “There’s not only one ‘right’ way to cope during this time. On some days, a realistic expectation might simply be just to survive one more day. Criticizing and judging yourself will only increase the stress and negative emotions, which will leave you feeling less motivated and even less able to function adaptively.”

Grace Glenn, a freshman from Oregon majoring in TESOL education, said the changes she has experienced due to the pandemic have prepared her for her mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“On a mission, you experience different things that you’re not expecting … It’s been good to have the experience of change. I have been able to see how I deal with [change] and figure out what I can do differently to make sure I can be prepared mentally for my mission.”

Daily bread brings more happiness

Psychologist and contributor for LDS Living, Dr. David T. Morgan, said approaching life one day at a time can ease anxiety for the future. Citing Matthew 6:11 from the Bible, he said, “Jesus taught in the Lord’s Prayer. ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’”

Morgan said sometimes he wants weekly, monthly or yearly bread as he worries about the future. However, he has learned to live one day at a time, which has helped him feel more at peace.

“I’ve found peace in trying to exist today, without giving undue concern to what might happen next. Spending all our days thinking about our tomorrows tends to result in a lot of missed opportunities for happiness.”

He said there is wisdom in “daily bread.” He added, “Tomorrow will never come until tomorrow, so let’s do the best we can to find happiness and peace today.”

Sidney Shifflet, a freshman from Colorado majoring in intercultural peacebuilding and political science, said because everything is so unpredictable, people are forced to live day to day.

“[Coronavirus] is teaching people the importance of being present, at the moment and the day – not worrying about what is going to happen.”

To destress, Shifflet said she tries to slow down. “I have felt myself in moments doing something, and then I get really stressed out. Just do one thing then the next, putting all [our] attention on what [we’re] doing right then. [That] is what helps me.”

Glenn explained how, “I think the most important thing is that God has a plan for each one of us, and this is all happening to each of us for a reason. It is going to be a blessing, as long as we look for the blessings. Even though it is uncertain times, God has given us uncertain times so we can live one day at a time.”

Daily goals and plans

Graphic of two people sitting in chairs, a women frowning and a man looking at her, a cell phone with the words "Disaster Distress Helpline" and a woman holding a sign saying, "you matter." At the top there are words that say, "According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fear and anxiety about the coronavirus pandemic are normal and can be overwhelming. Here is a list of resources for those who are struggling 
or need extra assistance during these stressful times:"

To live one day at a time, Keanu Dellona, a junior from California majoring in psychology, has created a routine for himself with daily goals to accomplish. Dellona said, “I do what I can. I run, spend time with my family, sing and play the ukulele. I have kept myself busy with a daily schedule, and if I don’t finish it that day, I put it on my list for tomorrow.”

Shifflet added, “I am not trying to drag myself into the ground with a lot of things, but I have been setting goals and reaching them, which has been helpful ... I have daily goals like exercise, scriptures, journaling, and I want to practice the ukulele each day.”

She shared how she made a list of goals when the stay-at-home order was made and put it on top of her desk, so she could always see it. One goal she made was, “Do one meaningful thing with at least one family member to strengthen your relationship with them each day.”

According to Shifflet, this list has helped her feel a lot better about herself. “It helps me feel like I haven’t wasted the day or all this extra time ... It helps me to recognize that even if it’s the same things each day, it is still meaningful. Honestly, it helps me to not feel depressed.”

Graphic of sunflower with an illustration of leaves and rain in the background with the quote "What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversations. - Glenn Close"