As the whole of the country begins to shut down, many of us will find ourselves either self-isolating due to having symptoms of COVID-19 or working from home due to government advice about unnecessary social interaction. Of course, during this period it’s important to look after your physical health, however the severity of the situation may also have an impact on your mental health. As a result, we’ve asked mental health nursing student, Jessica Manning, to provide a few quickfire mental wellbeing tips for getting through this period of isolation…
Everyone is in a very unusual situation at the moment with the outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 virus and with the government advising many of us to stay at home, we are in uncharted territory.
In a world of technology, we are more connected than ever but we are also lacking social interactions in a traditional way. This will be more obvious than ever during periods of self-isolation.
Here are some tips, from a mental health perspective, about navigating this difficult situation:
Even though large gatherings of people are to be avoided, that doesn’t mean you have to stopspending time with friends. organise group video chats or find online apps so you can watch films together and organise gaming events if that’s something you’re interested in. Having verbal discussions with your friends has a positive impact on your mood even if it’s through the phone or on video calling apps such as Skype.
New habits, same routine
Usually when we have time off indoors we end up in our PJs lounging and watching Netflix. but this isn’t very productive when many of us still have work to do. Make sure you set up a plan for your day so you remain productive and motivated. This means keeping a regular sleep pattern and routine (and not binge watching everything on Netflix) so you don’t slip into frustration or irritation with nothing to keep you occupied.
Recognise your anxiety
Even if you don’t have health anxiety it can be worrying to see so much negative information and scaremongering on the internet. Try to ignore speculative pieces of information and instead focus on getting your information from reputable organisations such as the department of health, the NHS and the University.
Exercise and the outdoors
Now, if you are just socially distancing yourself from people this means you may still feel
comfortable going outside for a walk to get some fresh air and sunlight. If you’ve decided to self-isolate in your home then make sure the curtains and windows are open to get the same benefits of sunlight. If you’re a regular gym goer, see if you can adapt your routine to doing exercises at home,there’s loads of YouTube videos of creative exercise practices. Alternatively, try some yoga to focus your mind on something for half an hour.
I hope everyone is doing okay, and remember to look after both your mental and physical health during this time.
To read more from our students about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected their studies click here