You may be feeling worried about coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, and the impact it could, or might already be having, on your life and others around you. For those who have been asked self-isolate, avoid other people, or live away from loved ones, the feeling of anxiety and uncertainty could be overwhelming.
Taking care of your mental health and wellbeing at this time is a powerful way to support both yourself and others. In this article, we suggest a range of things you could try to help cope. We also remind you of the services and initiatives you can get involved in to stay connected with fellow students around the world.
Staying connected, using what is available to you
- Maintain regular contact with friends and family - when stressed or anxious, it often helps to share how you are feeling and ask for support. You can do this even if you are isolating, by phone, social media and email.
- Organise ‘online meet-ups’ – arrange video calls to catch up and check in with friends and family. You could even do an activity together, such as watching a film or show you like by syncing up when you press ‘play’, writing, drawing or playing music.
- Join Online Societies – share your favourite meals in the World Recipes society, get your nose stuck into a good novel from the Book Club or leave your recommendations in the Film & TV club. To join a society, simply login with your Student Portal details when prompted and connect with friends old and new.
- Engage in discussion forums – if you haven’t participated in your course discussion forums before, now is a great time to start. Some of you may have more time to study than usual and forming an online study group could be a good way to support one another in continuing to strive for your goals.
- Download TalkCampus – this app-based peer support network is for students to give and receive mental health support to each other. As a University of London student, TalkCampus is freely available to you wherever you are in the world, 24-hours a day, all year round. Whether you’re feeling stressed or just want someone to talk to, there is a caring community of student peers and trained volunteers waiting to support you. Please login to your Student Portal and visit the ‘Wellbeing’ tab for more information on how to join TalkCampus, as well as a growing number of resources on mental health and wellbeing.
Give your worry something to do, focus on what you can control
- Maintain a routine – try to wake up and go to bed at your usual times. If you have a study plan, try and stick to it. If you are self-isolating, you may find getting dressed as usual could help get you in the right mindset to have a productive day.
- Take care of your physical wellbeing - stay hydrated, eat well and set reminders to move your body if you feel able to. This could be as simple as stretching, dancing in your room or going up and down stairs.
- Kindness as an activity – take an active approach to being kind to yourself and others. For yourself, this may mean doing more of what you enjoy, for example, dedicating time to a hobby. For others, this may be taking a moment to tell someone you appreciate them or writing them a special message.
- Be aware of what you need – if you are struggling with panic and fear, take a break from reading or watching the news and social media, and make sure what you do read is from reliable sources. You may still want to stay up to date but try setting yourself boundaries for how much time you spend reading about coronavirus. Instead, use the mental space to do, listen to or read about something totally different.
- Share what is working for you – by helping others, we help ourselves too. If you feel comfortable doing so, let others know what you are doing that is helping you to cope. What people find useful will differ person-to-person but sharing your stories may inspire others to take care too. Two ways you can do this are to share your advice and motivation by taking part in our #UoLWellbeing campaign, and submitting a video for our new ‘I feel better when’ campaign.