Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Mental health resources: Mindfulness, distress tolerance and self-soothing

We all have distressing and overwhelming emotions at times. Mindfulness can be incorporated into your daily life to help you cope and manage these emotions in a healthy way by being aware and present.

In this video, University Counseling Services Therapist Heidi Schmitt shares tips for how to create a self-soothing kit from items you may already have at home. One way to start is by using your five senses to sooth or calm yourself. A few examples include:

  • Taste: Choose a warm or cold beverage, such as tea, with a pleasurable flavor.
  • Touch: Put on something soft or comfortable, like your favorite sweater or a soft blanket.
  • Smell: Light a candle with a scent you enjoy.
  • Sound: Listen to music that will bring you feelings of relaxation.
  • Sight: Look at photographs of happy memories, color, or do some writing to relax.
  • Movement: Go for a walk or do some stretching.

For more information about mental health resources, see

For counseling and support, the Employee Assistance Program offers confidential counseling at no cost for UI employees and their families; or University Counseling Service offers confidential counseling and support for students.

Campus operations

The university continues to work with local and state officials to support and implement policies to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. With cases still prevalent in Iowa and across the country, please take precautions to celebrate Thanksgiving safely this year by avoiding an indoor gathering with people outside of your household, shopping in a crowded store, or attending a crowded tailgate or bar.

Johnson County positive cases

University of Iowa self-reported COVID-19 testing

These data reflect new cases since Nov. 23, 2020.

The University of Iowa has published an updated snapshot of self-reported positive COVID-19 tests from faculty, staff, and students.

Number of self-reported cases of COVID-19


  • New cases: 30
  • Semester-to-date: 2,659


  • New cases: 10
  • Semester-to-date: 269

These numbers reflect only self-reported positive or presumed positive COVID-19 tests from UI faculty, staff, and students on the academic campus since Aug. 18, 2020. These data will not match data reported by UI Hospitals & Clinics or by the Iowa Department of Public Health for several reasons, including different testing time intervals and geographic scope. Students who also are employees of the university are only reported in the student number to avoid double counting. The UI has more than 30,000 students and nearly 30,000 employees. Many employees continue to work remotely but have self-reported to authorize sick leave.

Number of residence hall students in quarantine: 1*

Number of residence hall students in self-isolation: 5**

*Quarantine: Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others.

**Self-isolation: Isolation is used to separate people infected with the virus (those who are symptomatic and those with no symptoms) from people who are not infected.