Tuesday 7 April 2020

Taking Care of Yourself during Lockdown

Emily shares five tips on looking after our mental health during these unusual and unsettled times amidst the current outbreak of COVID-19.
- Emily Maybanks

It’s certainly an understatement to say that we are living in unusual and unsettled times amidst the current outbreak of COVID-19. It is hard to avoid it with relentless news on the TV, on the radio and on social media 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! Whilst it’s important to stay informed, the constant news about the pandemic can feel overwhelming, and this can negatively affect people’s mental health. All of us are going through a difficult time at the moment, and protecting our mental wellbeing is just as important as protecting our physical health.

What can we do to help our mental health during these unprecedented times?

1. Establish a routine
Setting up and getting used to a new routine which largely consists of staying inside is tricky, but I have found that there are some things which are easy to plan, such as not working/studying in my pyjamas or in my bedroom, and also getting up properly each morning – having a shower, getting dressed, trying to eat breakfast at a regular time and making my bed. These steps may sound basic but they help keep things normal. Also, I try not to start studying too late or finish studying too late.

2. Exercise! 
Going for a walk, or a run outside each day is important for mental health! However, it is also an idea to even just sit in the garden or walk around the garden, if you’re not allowed outside properly. Getting some fresh air each day is important. Even if it’s just for something as simple as hanging the washing out! Also, as the days get longer and hopefully warmer, it will be much nicer to work or study or exercise in the garden, in the sun! If you cannot access a garden, make sure you keep your room well-ventilated by opening windows regularly.

3. Keep entertained 
Sometimes, it’s good to just switch off from the news and the constant information about the Coronavirus. You could watch TV on Netflix, lose yourself in a book or in a film for a few hours or perhaps use this time to develop a new hobby or learn a new skill. Because I really love writing, I have found writing really helpful during this time. It not only gives me an opportunity to clear my mind, but also becomes a channel to express my feelings

4. Keep in touch with friends and family
Obviously, we can’t just go out and meet our friends and family, so it’s important so keep in touch not just via messaging but perhaps video chat applications so you can see each other albeit through a screen. Perhaps set a regular time each week to call your friends or family so both of you have something to look forward to.

5. Be kind to yourself 
During these unprecedented times, the above can be a lot easier said than done so the most important thing I believe is to be kinder to yourself and give yourself the time you need to adjust.

We are all in this together and we will all come out the other side stronger than ever!

For more information Student Space is here to make it easier for you to find the support you need during the coronavirus pandemic.

For more information and advice about looking after your mental wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic, click here. For more information and advice about looking after your wellbeing, click here

My name is Emily (Em). In 2018, I graduated from Swansea University with my BA degree in Modern Languages, Translation & Interpreting where I was also passionate about and dedicated to Swansea Student Media and the University students’ newspaper – Waterfront. In September 2020 I will be starting a PGCE at the University of Reading to train to teach Secondary MFL (French and German). I blog for Student Minds because I have experienced mental health issues as a student and now also as a graduate, as well as various other health issues, and I support friends who also have mental health difficulties. I am a passionate writer and writing has been important in my mental health experiences – both in helping me to explore and to cope with my mental health, as well as sharing my story in order to help and inspire others.

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