Top 10 Tips for Mental Health During the Covid-19 Pandemic – A Student’s GuideArticle Date | 11 February, 2021
By Vili Hadzhieva & Stephanie Garcia – LSST’s Engagement Team, Memo House, London
Edited by Dr Wendy Wigley – LSST’s Head of Student Lifecycle
We know that the pandemic and lockdown can affect mental health, but other factors such as stress and a lack of routine can make things feel even worse, especially if you are trying to study. Here are some practical ways to reduce the impact of isolation, improve mental well-being and support your studies.
As cases of Covid-19 and ‘new variants’ add further complexity to the pandemic, it has become essential that we continue to play our part to stay safe. We know that many students are trying to do their bit by staying home and following national guidelines, however, we also know the adverse impact this can have on mental health and well-being. So, to give you some support and guidance, LSST’s Engagement Team has put together its top 10 tips for taking care of your mental health.
Tip 1 – Have a routine
Braving the winter months and spending the majority of our time indoors can have a serious effect on our mental health. With limited options and being stuck at home, setting up a routine that includes time for study and relaxation can be difficult. A routine can give you a sense of security and safety in your actions and can help you feel in control of the uncertainty of lockdown. To start your routine, try to set your alarm for the same time every weekday morning, keep and follow to-do lists, undergo ‘normal’ self-care routines such as showering and changing clothes, don’t skip meals and make sure you make time for some mindfulness.
Tip 2 – Reach out
As a student, talking about how we are feeling is a key way to cope with our mental health and wellbeing. Having discussions about yourself can build a bridge between ‘I am’ and ‘I am feeling’. That realisation alone can be a huge relief.
Find out who your main contact within LSST is to ask for support. This could be your campus support team or your personal academic tutor (PAT). Alternatively, you can also contact the Student Union or the Engagement Team.
Tip 3 – Keep in contact with friends and family
Keeping in touch with friends and family is extremely important. Human connection plays a vital role in decreasing stress and anxiety. We are lucky to have the ability to connect with our loved ones around the world through the internet and social media platforms, so use this to your advantage.
Organise weekly catch-up sessions through social media platforms or you can also organise games/activities which can be carried out online with family and friends such as bingo or a watching party.
Tip 4 – Look after your body
Regular physical activity and exercise are linked to uplifting your mood by the release of endorphins.
To look after your body, you also need to get enough sleep and eat a balanced diet. Another idea to stay active is to do work out sessions indoors, a great idea could be to YouTube search workout videos of your favourite musical artists.
Tip 5 – Make plans and lists (financial, study plans; daily plans)
Organisation of physical objects and our mind helps us to keep up with daily tasks.
Planning, either for study or a budgeting plan can help you balance your studies and everyday life. A study plan will help you stay on top of your academic submission deadlines, decrease stress about finances and avoid procrastination (putting things off) while enhancing your physical and mental productivity.
Tip 6 – Organise your study space
To study effectively during lockdown, it is particularly important to have the right study space. By organising your space, you can focus on your studies and avoid any distractions. This is fine, you might ask, but what about if you have children or share a noisy house? Try to pick a quiet time that suits you, most of us fall into two types of student ‘the night owl’ – who likes to study after everyone else has gone to bed, or the ‘early bird,’ up with the lark, while the rest of the family are still sleeping.
Tip 7 – Manage how you follow the pandemic in the media
While it is important to stay up to date with current affairs, it is easy to become overwhelmed by constantly checking the news and updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. Try to manage the amount of time you spend on social media and check out reliable sources of information such as announcements from the NHS or Public Health England.
Tip 8 – Take time to relax
Although it is important to stay on top of your studies, it is always a good idea to dedicate time to your hobbies and doing things you enjoy. Having a good and healthy balance between studying and relaxing is essential to your mental health wellbeing. See tip number 1 and have a go at some mindfulness using the LSST PACT model.
Tip 9 – Identify how you can use your situation to help others
A good way to help reduce stress is by helping other people and letting people reach out to you. During lockdown this could be achieved virtually, for example, forming a study group to exchange ideas with other students. See how LSST students are helping each other here: www.lsst.ac/news/hope2021.
Tip 10 – Find further support
There are a lot of online self-help resources available but it is really important if you feel you are not coping well to contact your GP or local mental health/IAPT service. Charity organisations like MIND can also help you understand how and why you feel the way you do. If you currently feel like you are finding it hard to cope with your mental health and feel like harming yourself please contact the Samaritans.
Related LSST articles:
LSST Students: 2021 will be challenging but there is still hope!: www.lsst.ac/news/hope2021/
COVID-19 lockdown: consolidating a student mindfulness model: www.lsst.ac/news/pact/
How Students Can Think Positive During COVID–19: www.lsst.ac/blogs/positive_thinking/
How Students Can Confront COVID-19 Stress Whilst Studying From Home: www.lsst.ac/news/covid_19_stress_guide/
Mental Health in Higher Education and the Sector Challenges Ahead: www.lsst.ac/blogs/mental_health_in_he/
How to reference this article:
Hadzhieva, V and Garcia, S (2021) Top 10 Tips for Mental Health During the Covid-19 Pandemic – A Student’s Guide. LSST Blog. 11th Feb. Available at https://www.lsst.ac/blogs/mental health tips [Add the date you accessed the article here].