AUP at Home

Guidance's Tips for Coping with Isolation

By Charlotte Vernier, Guidance Counseling

Adjusting to isolation is not easy and can trigger strong emotions such as concern, stress, sadness and anger. Imposed confinement can also feel like an injustice and a deprivation of freedom, or even imprisonment. This adds to the health concern of being in a potentially life-threatening situation. In this context, what can you do to feel better?

1. Don’t blame yourself for having negative thoughts.

It is understandable to be worried, so above all, be kind to yourself. Try to identify your worry and what you can do about the problem at hand. Here are a few common worries and how you can address them:

  • Worrying about your family’s health and safety. Talk to them regularly via WhatsApp or Skype to check in. It's important to stay connected, even if it’s only a virtual connection.
  • Feeling that focusing on academics right now is futile. It can be reassuring to keep things as normal as possible. A good way to do that is to keep on track with your courses, as this will also help build a routine.
  • Feeling isolated, lonely or bored. As best you can, stay connected with your friends, roommates and family, and set up a routine that structures your day. Think about taking actions that will make you feel useful: help a neighbor with their grocery shopping, check in with relatives or donate to humanitarian efforts that support hospitals and health care providers.


2. Keep attuned to your feelings.

It is particularly important to monitor your stress levels. Anxiety can manifest itself in a variety of ways: irritability, anger or hypersensitivity; difficulty concentrating or trouble falling asleep; and even heart palpitations, hyperventilation or physical pain (such as stomachaches or headaches).

Regular meditation can be helpful to stay grounded. Here are some resources to help you meditate at home:

Meditation resources


  • In French: Méditer avec Christophe André; Petit Bambou; Calm
  • In English: Headspace

On Youtube

3. Create a routine with stable markers that give you a sense of control and choice.

These can be simple markers, like structuring your day with appointments, waking up and going to sleep at fixed times, taking regular showers and changing out of pajamas, and maintaining normal meal times. We also recommend that you delimit your workspace, which means no studying or working in bed. If you feel that staying informed is necessary, then limit the amount of time you spend reading the news or on social media, as this might raise your anxiety or expose you to misinformation. We also suggest you balance your academic life with positive, relaxing activities like listening to music, cooking, watching movies, reliving good memories or connecting with friends and family.

Even though confinement is difficult, this experience can be reframed in a positive way. You can use this time for activities you never had the time for in the past or to try out something new. Know that you’re resilient and that this trial can be an opportunity to reconnect with yourself and potentially reevaluate your needs and priorities. Remember also that this situation is temporary; it is a way to keep you safe and healthy, and respecting this measure is to act as a responsible and caring citizen.

A last thought: maybe you can already start thinking of life after lockdown. What do you want to do after confinement? What will your projects be? Who do you want to meet? Take care, stay healthy, and know that if you need support, Pamela Montfort, AUP’s other guidance counselor, and I are here to support you. Don’t hesitate to contact us!

Students can schedule remote guidance counseling sessions by emailing Pamela Montfort at or Charlotte Vernier at