Mental Health and Studying from Home
As a student, it can be difficult to stay motivated and retain a good work-life balance, especially in uncertain times. We understand that the outbreak of COVID-19 can create worry and stress so we wanted to help by providing guidance and resources on how to stay happy, healthy and productive whilst working from home.
When studying from home because of coronavirus (COVID-19), it’s important to take care of your mind as well as your body. The tips below are things you can do now to help you keep on top of your mental wellbeing:
Try to avoid misinformation
Rumour and speculation can fuel stress and anxiety. Having access to good quality, reliable information can help you feel more in control. You can get up-to-date information and advice regarding Covid-19 here:
Plan your day
Regular routines are essential for our identity and purpose. They can help to manage anxiety and will assist you in adapting more quickly to the changes we are experiencing. You might find it helpful to compose a plan for your day or your week and set yourself goals. It is important to create clear distinctions between work and non-work time and to set aside time each day for movement, relaxation and reflection, as well as time for connecting with others.
Connect with others
Staying at home, especially if you live on your own, can feel lonely and in times of stress we work better with support. Find creative ways to keep in touch with friends, family, and others to help all parties feel more connected and supported. Wether this be by post, over the phone, on social media, or via video-chat, maintaining healthy relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. Don’t forget to regularly assess your social media activity. If you find that there are particular accounts or people that increase your stress levels, consider muting or unfollowing them.
Look after your physical health
Our physical health can also impact on our mental health. Try to make sure you eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and stay active. Find ways to incorporate physical movement into your day: even at home, there will be lots of ways to exercise and keep your body moving. Current government regulations state that once a day ‘you can also go for a walk or exercise outdoors if you stay more than 2 metres from others.’ Being active reduces stress, increases energy levels and can help promote better sleep.
Take time to relax and reflect
Relaxing and focusing on the present can help improve your mental health and cope with feelings of anxiety. Make time every day to reflect on what went well and recognise your successes, no matter how small. Try some different meditation or breathing exercises to see what helps. Everyone is different so it is important to find a method that works for you.
A range of relaxation techniques are available from the NHS: https://www.cntw.nhs.uk/resource-library/relaxation-techniques/
Improve your sleep
Feelings of uncertainty and being confronted by changes to your daily life may affect your sleeping pattern. It is important to get enough sleep as this has a huge impact on the way we feel. Try to stick to good sleep practices such as:
- Getting some natural sunlight by opening your curtains in the morning where possible. This helps to regulate your body clock which in turn can promote better sleep.
- Sticking to a ‘sleep schedule’ and aim to go to bed and get up at the same time each day, even at the weekend
- Avoiding using devices such as your phone, tablet, computer or TV for an hour before bedtime he light from the screen on these devices may have a negative effect on sleep
- writing “to do” lists for the next day can organise your thoughts and clear your mind of any distractions
- Practicing relaxation techniques
During this time it is really important that we are all looking out for each other.
Stay connected to those you cannot see in person, check in with them and see if there are any ways you can help, whether that be providing practical or emotional support. This is especially important for those who might be at more risk during this time. Also, stay informed and make sure you are following and sharing reliable information from trusted sources.
It is also important that we are kind to ourselves. Although there is much we cannot control, we can control the way we treat ourselves and understand that we cannot be our best selves all the time. However, we can ask for help or reach out when help is asked of us.
Guidance for those with ongoing mental health difficulties
For those with pre-existing conditions such as an anxiety disorder or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, the coronavirus outbreak may trigger compulsive thoughts and unhelpful behaviours. If you are already receiving support for your condition, you might find it helpful to talk to your clinician, therapist, or other medical professionals.
There are also a number of online resources available from various organisations, providing general guidance for coping with symptoms: