As lockdown continues, it's becoming more challenging for us all, despite good news on the horizon. This University Mental Health Day, it’s more important than ever to take some time for yourself and look after your mental health and general wellbeing.
Due to the current national restrictions, university teaching is being delivered remotely, except for a very small number of courses. You may be studying from home during this time, or you may have stayed in university accommodation. Either way, keep checking for updates from the government and your university about when you can expect in-person activities to resume.
The pandemic has disrupted our ability to spend time together, which may be causing you to feel lonely or isolated. However, there are lots of different ways to stay in touch with friends and family when you cannot meet in person. For example, you could arrange to meet one member from another household for a socially distanced walk, or schedule regular phone or video calls. Maintaining your relationships with others will help you to stay connected, doing so will help them too.
Taking small steps to recognise what’s in your control right now can help you feel more settled. Managing your workload while studying from home can feel daunting or even demotivating. Try to create a schedule for each day to help you maintain a sense of structure. Make sure everything you plan is manageable; for example, if you find it takes you a long time to get through a lecture, aim to complete it in sections. It might help to consider everything you need to do each week and then divide this up into daily lists. Remember to include recreational activities, like exercise or watching a film.
Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements, including small wins; studying for a degree in a pandemic is an achievement in itself, even if you haven’t managed to learn as well as you’d have liked. Completing work in these circumstances is challenging and you are already doing so well just to keep going.
It’s important to recognise when you may need extra support. Check in with yourself regularly to help keep track of how you are feeling. Keeping a wellness journal or talking to someone about what is troubling you can make a big difference to how you feel.
If you are struggling and the things you have been trying aren’t helping, consider who you can reach out to. Sometimes, trying to find the right support can seem confusing or even a little daunting. Within your university, there are a number of ways you can go about this. For example, there may be a tutor assigned to you who can offer you academic and pastoral support, or you may be able to access a counselling service. Otherwise, you might want to talk to your friends and family, or your GP.
Visit Young Minds for more information on where and how you can find support.
Further information and advice
Office for Students - ‘Student guide to coronavirus’ details the latest guidance on returning to university for Spring term 2021.
Mind - ‘Managing your feelings about changes to lockdown’ provides advice to help you understand how you are feeling and develop positive coping strategies.