Wednesday, 16 December 2020

You are everything but alone

Kajol shares her experiences of dealing with mental health issues during the pandemic and tips for sharing how you are feeling.

- Kajol Jain

As we are faced with further national lockdown restrictions, it is as vital as ever that we all look after ourselves and, most importantly, our mental health. As a student who is currently on a gap year and struggling during these strange times, I have found volunteering to be an extremely useful tool in terms of helping others as well as myself. 

Speaking to others who are struggling to cope with not being able to see their loved ones has made it easier for me to connect with people in a similar situation to my own, especially considering the fact that, for the majority of this year, we have all been confined to our homes with little or no social contact, leaving some of us slipping into feelings of depression. Online platforms such as Zoom have been a lifeline for many, helping them to keep in contact with their friends and family. However, not all of us have been able to access these kinds of sites. It can be so easy to take things for granted and for a long time that’s what many of us did. We took for granted the fact that we could see friends every day or go over to our aunt’s house whenever we wanted and now life is so different. Nevertheless, talking to people via volunteering has definitely helped me to make a difference, not only to the lives of others but also my own. Knowing that you have made someone else smile, or brightened up their day by asking them if they have eaten breakfast or if they have spent some time in the garden can do wonders for the both of you.

The smallest of things can often have the biggest impacts and we are not always aware of our own power. Volunteering has helped to reduce my stress levels as it allows me to talk to people who are facing the same problems that I am, also helping to combat the feelings of loneliness that I have experienced. Many of us have spent lockdown sleeping or watching the television all day and not getting a lot of sunshine in our lives. While it’s completely okay to take this time indoors to rest, stepping out of your home to go for a quick walk can not only be refreshing but do so much for your mental health. It’s up to us to make a difference when it comes to our wellbeing and it's vital that we do what we can to look after ourselves during the festive period as Christmas looms less than a month away. Take the time out to video call your friends or give your grandparents a call. It could do the most for their day and by uplifting others we are in turn helping ourselves. It’s so easy to find yourself submerged in depression as we face these hardships but the best thing to do is always to let it out in whatever way works best for you.

The coming weeks could be a great chance to fill your time with new activities. By all means, get creative and start baking (everyone starts out as a beginner) or get outside and walk through the park to get that much-needed breath of fresh air. Meditation helped me a lot throughout the first lockdown and I feel like I can rely on it to keep my mind healthy throughout the coming period. It doesn’t have to be long. As little as twenty minutes of yoga in the mornings can be enough to keep your mind healthy and it has definitely had a positive impact on my life since the start of the pandemic. Taking these small steps can help to improve our mindset in the long term and when we eventually come out of lockdown we will be grateful that we kept our minds healthy. One piece of advice I would want to give to others is to allow yourself time to heal. Some things take time and, especially if you feel that your mental health has gotten worse, speaking about it to someone can have the biggest impact. Asking others for help doesn’t make us any smaller, in fact, those that turn to others for help are often the happiest because they know they will always be able to learn and be supported. That’s something we can do to escape from depression -  to ask others for help so we don’t feel quite as lonely, and you never know, they may feel the same way as you do! 

If you find yourself struggling with feelings of isolation during lockdown, visit Student Space for online resources and direct support via text, email, phone call or web chat.


I'm Kajol and I would like to share my story in the hopes of helping other people to be happier! Mental health is one of the most important issues that society is attempting to tackle and I thought it would be beneficial to write about my experience to help others as we try to get through these strange times.


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