Looking After Your Mental Health in Lockdown

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I don’t need to reiterate how difficult it’s been for students since the pandemic began last year. Unsurprisingly, the lack of social interaction and governmental support has taken a huge toll on our mental health.

It’s no wonder so many students report feeling overwhelmed right now. After being left behind by so many, looking after ourselves is the best we can do. And although I’m no expert, I’d still like to share some ideas that have helped people when they’re struggling.

The magic three – If you’ve been feeling groggy recently, you can ask yourself these three questions: Have I been eating well (whatever that means for you)? Have I been sleeping and resting enough? And finally, have I been moving enough? If you’ve answered any of these with ‘no’, then improving these areas of your life can be a great starting point.

Connecting with others – Staring at screens all day can get very tiring. If you can’t face the idea of another video call, phoning a friend or family member is a great alternative. Checking in on a friend can help them a lot, and will make you feel better, too. Depending on restrictions, going on a walk together can help even more.

Cutting down doom scrolling – Shocking articles and posts capture our attention. It’s easy to lose track of time reading dozens of posts about the state of the world. But, in the long run, it’ll make you feel much worse. You don’t need to avoid the news completely because that’s almost impossible. Setting time limits and being mindful of what you consume really helps.

Social media replacements – There are so many other great ways to spend your time than comparing yourself to others or watching the world burn online. Writing a list of activities you enjoy can be really useful. This could include reading that book you’ve always been meaning to pick up or learning that skill you’ve always been interested in. Or it could involve Netflix and ice cream if that’s what brings you joy.

Listing priorities – As I mentioned before, it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed. It can help to use a clean page in your planner or a scrap piece of paper to write down all your current priorities. This can include work that’s due in the next few days and self-care acts that you feel would help you in the immediate future.

Acts of kindness – Doing something kind for someone else is a huge mood booster. This could be anything from checking in on friends, smiling at people on your walk, or ordering something to a loved one’s home. This can also help you feel more connected to the outside world.

I hope some of this advice can help you, but if you’d like extra support, you can always send a query to counselling@lancaster.ac.uk or self-refer via the university’s counselling webpage.

Useful websites:

mind.org.uk

youngminds.org.uk

anxietyuk.org.uk

nhs.uk

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