Coping During COVID-19

Spring 2021

We are living through unprecedented times, and college students are being uniquely impacted by our global pandemic. In addition to the normal pressures and challenges students often face, you might also be experiencing a myriad of emotions related to COVID-19 and the resulting changes to your college experience – including anxiety, grief, disappointment, or isolation. The ongoing racial violence occurring across our nation is placing an additional emotional burden on many students, especially Black students and other students of color

The good news is there are many things you can do to support and maintain your mental health. Please refer to the information and resources below for self-care tips and online support.

And if you're struggling, help is available. Options for care are listed at the bottom of this page.

Self-care tips

  • Start each day with intentionality – Ask yourself these three questions: What will help me to feel healthy today? What will help me to feel connected today? What will give me a sense of purpose today?
  • Prioritize self-care – Try to get enough sleep, eat well, and get in some exercise.
  • Connect with others – Find ways to stay socially connected while practicing physical distancing. 
  • Experience nature – Enjoy Cornell's natural beauty. Research shows the time in nature supports good mental health. 
  • Learn to meditate – Attend an online Let's Meditate session, or try another meditation resource listed below.
  • Limit social media & news consumption – Too much can have a negative impact on your mental health.

"Life Hacks" resilience-based programming (COVID edition)

Cornell Health's Skorton Center for Health Initiatives has developed the following online training to address the realities of living during the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting economic downturn, and the renewed activism addressing the systemic racism embedded in American society.

  • Life Hacks: College Edition – Designed for undergraduate students (takes approximately 60 minutes)
  • Life Hacks: Graduate and Professional Students – Designed for graduate and professional students (takes approximately 45 minutes)

Both programs provide information on a variety of tools and resources to help you develop and/or reinforce strategies and habits to support you overall mental health and well-being during your time at Cornell. Access the courses here.

"Let's Meditate" online guided meditation

Let's Mediate is a free, guided, mindfulness meditation series offered every day, Monday through Friday. Sessions are 30 minutes, and are conducted by Zoom. See the Let's Meditate schedule here.

Self-care resources

Help with a disability-related concern

Visit Student Disability Services' COVID-19 page for information about disability accommodations and services during this time.

Help knowing how to help others


Donate money to an organization supporting people in need (like the Food Bank of the Southern Tier).

Help sew masks at Bartels Hall, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Visit the Cornell Public Service Center's complete list of ways to help.

Spiritual support during COVID-19

Cornell's Office of Spirituality & Meaning-Making offers these COVID spiritual resources.

Books to support well-being

The Illustrated Happiness Trap, by Russ Harris
Wherever You Go, There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn 

Face Your Fears, by David Tolin, PhD
Stopping the Noise in Your Head, by Reid Wilson, PhD
The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, by Edmund Bourne, PhD
Freedom from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, by Jonathan Grayson, PhD
Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts by Sally Winston, PsyD and Martin Seif, PhD
The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD, by Jon Hershfield, MFT and Tom Corboy, MFT

Feeling Good, by David Burns, M.D.
The Upward Spiral, by Alex Korb, PhD

Other topics:
The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown, PhD
Loving Like you Mean It, by Ronald J Frederick
Ethnicity and Family Relationships, by Monica McGoldrick
Nonviolent Communication, by Marshall Rosenberg 
8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder, by Carolyn Costin and Gwen Schubert Grabb
Life Without Ed, by Jenni Schaefer with Thom Rutledge
Embody, by Connie Sobczak
Health at Every Size, by Linda Bacon

Support from Cornell Health

24/7 phone consultation

Students can call us (607-255-5155) any time, day or night, to speak with a licensed therapist from ProtoCall, our 24/7 support team of mental health professionals. ProtoCall therapists are experienced in providing support for common concerns experienced by college students, and can also refer you to other resources, when appropriate. (Consultation in different languages is available.)

CAPS services

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is providing the telehealth services through secure Zoom platform: 

Learn more about our current CAPS services. If you're engaged in distance learning, refer to our Services for Students Outside Ithaca webpage. 

Other telehealth services


Students enrolled in a Student Health Plan (SHP or SHP+) now have prepaid access to Teladoc, which includes mental health, medical, and dermatology telehealth services for individuals in the United States. Copays are consistent with the plans’ participating provider copay structure. (Students with private insurance may have coverage for Teladoc's services, but should check their plan for details.) Learn more about Teladoc.

24/7 chat & text support 

You can also connect with someone now through one of these recommended hotlines or textlines, including options especially for BIPOC students and LGBTQ students.