Taking care of yourself emotionally during the H1N1 season
It is natural to become anxious about your health when rumors are everywhere regarding the H1N1 virus. However, it is very important to take care of yourself emotionally as well as physically during this time. Fortunately, many of the things that we do to take care of ourselves emotionally also help us physically. Here are some tips to help with this:
- Stress: Stress has a negative impact on your immune system. Manage your anxiety and stress by using the tips below and by relaxing in healthy ways:
- Sleep: College students are notorious for burning the candle at both ends. Lack of sleep can impact your immune system as well as your ability to see things realistically and maintain a calm outlook on things. Get at least eight hours of sleep a night.
- Nutrition: Good nutrition impacts your emotional health as well as your physical health. Eat plenty of vegetables, protein and take a multivitamin to make sure you are receiving all the nutriants you need.
- Don’t abuse substances: Abusing alcohol can dehydrate your body and make you more susceptible to physical illness. It also acts as a depressant and can actually increase your feelings of sadness or anxiety about this or any other issue. Drugs act in much the same manner depending on the substance.
- Exercise: There is a brand new exercise facility just waiting to be used. Exercise releases hormones which combat stress hormones and it conditions your body to fight off physical illness. It might be wise to wipe down equipment before you use it.
- Stay informed: People fear what they don’t know. Don’t overload yourself by listening to rumors and information that does not come from credible sources. Learn the signs and symptoms from University Health Services or from another source such as the Center for Disease Control. The University will routinely give you updates on the situation. So continue to read your UTC emails for accurate information.
- Remember that this is only the flu: Most people have survived this, especially in this country. It is important to seek help if you need it, and it is also important not to overreact and make the problem bigger than it really is. We have flu outbreaks every year, and this is simply another strain of something we are all familiar with.
- Maintain your normal daily routine unless you feel ill or unless you are told to do otherwise by authorities.
- Use your support system: People who may normally be close might avoid contact with others for fear of getting sick. Talk to others about how to help each other, and be sure to elicit help if you feel overly stressed or physically ill. Use things like texting, email and other technology to remain connected if you or others are ill.
- Ask for help: If anxiety or stress over this situation or any other situation becomes too much for you, please contact us:
Counseling and Career Planning Center
Room 338 University Center
Reliable sources of information on the flu outbreak include:
UTC University Health Services (778-9303): http://www.utc.edu/Administration/UniversityHealthServices/
Hamilton County Health Department information hotline: (423) 209-8393
Hamilton County Health Department website: http://health.hamiltontn.org/swineflu.aspx
Tennessee Department of Health website: http://health.state.tn.us/swineflu.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/
CDC Guidance for Responses to Influenza for Institutions of Higher Education during the 2009-2010 Academic Year: http://www.flu.gov/plan/school/higheredguidance.html
Inactive H1N1 Vaccine Information Sheet: http://www.utc.edu/flu/Inactiveh1n1Vaccine.pdf