We are in strange times at the moment. We have gone through a substantial amount of time in total lockdown, and although we are seeing things beginning to be relaxed, life still isn’t ‘normal’. Trying to conduct life as a student can be challenging at the best of times, but at the moment it can be even more difficult – enough to make you feel like you are going mad!
Uncertainty around how society, in general, is going to recover, as well as how studying is going to proceed and how your future career will be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic can make things even more difficult, so here are some tips on how to stay sane during these crazy times.
Student household bill providers, Glide, emphasises the importance of mindfulness for everyone at the moment, but especially for students. “Mindfulness is more important now than ever, so try and set time aside each day and do as much… as you can.”
Mindfulness is a great way to centre and ground yourself, which can help to reduce anxiety and help you to concentrate on the present. It involves concentrating on how you are right now and the sensations that you are feeling. Some people prefer to practise mindfulness concentrating on a noise, something visual, taste, or sensation.
Plan your Day
If you are spending unprecedented amounts of time at home, it can be easy to get stuck studying too much or getting distracted and not studying enough. Try setting out a structure to your day whereby you can study but also relax, get some exercise, and also do things that you enjoy enjoying.
In times of stress (even though it might not feel ‘stressful’), planning things that you enjoy to do is vital. Be kind to yourself, don’t punish yourself, and remember that this is all temporary.
Just because we having to physically distance ourselves from some friends and family at the moment, doesn’t mean that you can’t still spend time with and stay connected with them. Technology these days makes it easier than ever. So, get on Zoom, Skype, House Party, Microsoft Teams, Whats App, Face Time, or another virtual meeting place and get chatting. This is not only good for you, but it’s also good for the people you’re connecting with!
Stay in touch with your uni as well. They will be making plans for now and in the future, as well as offering support, and part of staying sane is knowing and understanding what is going on. Make sure that you stay up to date with the changes that your university will be making.
Be Kind and Give Back
Everybody is in a slightly different situation at the moment, and some people have found that they have been able to help to give back something to society – through doing voluntary work helping vulnerable people or working for supermarkets, for example, and this can also be helpful to them. There will also be some people, however, who feel like there isn’t much that they can do to ‘give back’.
Just checking in on your friends is already a great start. You can send emails, cards, or flowers without having to leave the house, make masks and support local businesses all from the comfort of your own home if, for example, you are in isolation or shielding and feel that you want to do something for the ‘cause’.
Do Something Creative
A great way to rest the mind, especially after a long day’s study is to do something creative. Painting, knitting, playing music, dancing, cooking, or crafting are all great ways to get creative. Remember that it doesn’t matter what the finished product is like, it is the process of being creative that is important.
Exercise is an important way to reduce stress, make you feel good, and keep you physically healthy as well. We are now allowed to leave the house for exercise during the day and although there are still restrictions on playing sports with other people, exercise is becoming easier. There are also plenty of Zoom exercise classes, YouTube exercise videos, or, if nothing else, put some of your favourite music on and dance like there’s no-one watching.
The situation that we are in at the moment is slightly different for everyone, and everyone will be dealing with it differently. It is important to be kind and understanding to other people and how they might be reacting to it, but also, if you need help, to reach out to people. These might be friends or family, or they might be a professional organisation.
If you think that you need help, you can speak to your GP (they will be able to offer you at the least a telephone or video appointment) or your university metal health services.
Ella Hendrix is a freelance writer focusing on career advice for students and grads, helping young adults transition from student life to fully-fledged adult. When she isn't writing, she can be found either out hiking or curled up with a book.