March 24, 2020 - Managing stress during uncertain times

UC Berkeley Director of Residential Life Glenn DeGuzman and Associate Director of Residential Life, Zan Tansey, sent the following message to students living in on-campus housing 03/24/2020:


I hope this email finds you healthy. These are uncertain times, and as the news and guidance around COVID-19 are changing and intensifying, it is normal to feel overwhelmed and experience stress. We’d like to offer some suggestions to make the next few weeks of campus closures, social distancing, disruption to routine, and potential loss of work less overwhelming. You may also refer to a recent message from Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Stephen C. Sutton, which includes resources for mental health and well-being. 

As a reminder, please continue to practice social distancing - which we know can be challenging for multiple days or weeks. But remember, it is critically important to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This includes in-person social gatherings in your living space (consider remote or online ways to communicate). And please be mindful of noise levels so that your neighbors may continue to study and learn during this time. 

We are also working to answer many of the questions you have been asking. Please continue to visit our FAQ page, and also see additional information at the end of this message.

Mental Health & Well-Being

First, maintaining a routine allows for a sense of normalcy. Keep the same sleep-wake schedule, class hours, and daily activities, to the extent possible.   

Eating well is also an important component of managing stress. We have some good tips available on our Be Well site, including how to combat stress with nutrition. If you’re having difficulty accessing food, the Basic Needs Center can be contacted by emailing or calling (510) 859-7507 (Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.) for immediate support.  

Now that the Recreational Sports Facility (RSF), and area gyms are closed for the time being, it can be difficult to access exercise. If you choose to exercise outside, try a solo activity such as walking, running, hiking or biking. There are also hundreds of free exercise classes on YouTube that you can do indoors with little to no equipment, such as the bodyweight workouts found on PopSugar Fitness.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and would like support, counselors at University Health Services (UHS) at the Tang Center are available for urgent concerns: Counseling and Psychological Services website or (510) 642-9494 (after-hours counseling line (855) 817-5667). Please see UHS’s Managing Fear resource for more information and the CDC’s recommendations for managing the stress and anxiety that many experience in a pandemic.

Anxiety or being in your residence can also lead to an increase in alcohol and drug use. If you need help, contact UHS to make an appointment or find a local resource.  Also, don’t isolate yourself completely – social distancing shouldn’t become social isolation. Keep communicating with others and set-up virtual meetings with friends and family members to stay in touch.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties, the Financial Aid and Scholarships office is available to offer resources and assistance, including emergency funding and cost of living adjustments. Please create a case online as soon as possible.  

This is an unprecedented event, and we are all trying to adjust to very different routines and rhythms while processing and responding to an international crisis. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Residential Life team with any questions or concerns you may have - we may still be figuring out many answers, but we are committed to supporting you and your family during this time. 

While we are socially distancing ourselves, we do not want you to feel isolated or alone.