COVID-19 has had a HUGE impact on our lives, even though we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, our lives continue to be disrupted. We know many of you are feeling stressed, worried, frustrated and anxious about the restrictions we are living under and the changes that will take place over the coming weeks and months.
Try these tips to help improve your emotional & mental wellbeing and ease your feelings of anxiety. You can find more information by clicking here to visit the NHS Every Mind Matters website.
Tip 1: Stay connected
Lockdown has made seeing friends and family really difficult for us all, but it is important to keep in contact with the people you love. Scheduling a time each week to talk on the phone or via video call is a great way to keep connected, even when we can’t be with each other in person.
As we begin to return to college you will be able to see your friends and classmates which will have a great positive impact on your mental health. We know it’s difficult as we all want to give our friends a massive hug, but please remember to maintain social distancing while at college!
We all need to feel connected, so keep in touch – whether it’s with people you normally saw often or reconnecting with old friends.
Tip 2: Talk about your worries
It’s important to remember that it is OK to feel like this. Everyone is reacting differently; your friend may be feeling positive about the lifting of restrictions while you’re feeling worried – that is completely normal. It is OK not to be OK and to feel nervous about the changes we are facing.
Talking about what is causing you to feel anxious will stop the worry from becoming overwhelming and can even help the person you’re talking to if they are experiencing similar feelings.
Tip 3: Support others
We are all struggling in our own ways and it is more important than ever to try and support others in day-to-day life. We all need to be a little more understanding and considerate of other peoples feelings, worries and behaviour at this time.
Check up on your friends, send them a positive text or meet up for a walk. A small gesture can completely brighten up someone’s day, so spread a little happiness.
If you want to go further, there are lots of virtual volunteering opportunities available! Contact Sam Plant (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want more information on volunteering activities you can get involved in.
Tip 4: Get prepared
The government has recently set out its roadmap to removing lockdown restrictions. While this is really positive news, it can feel very overwhelming. Break this information down into chunks – what will affect you immediately? what do you need to do to prepare for this?
Remembering to regularly check your college email for updates from us is an excellent first step! Think about what you need to return to college, make sure you have enough stationery, face masks and hand sanitiser. Check if your bus or train timetables have changed and if your journey to college will be impacted.
Tip 5: Look after your body
Our physical health has a big impact on our mental health. When you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed it can be easy to hide away and curl up into a ball under your duvet; but in the long run, this will make you feel worse.
Try to make sure you’re eating a healthy balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and getting in some regular exercise. Getting outside for some daily fresh air and Vitamin D will not only bring a multitude of physical benefits to your body but also help lift your mood and clear your mind.
Tip 6: Stick to the facts
Everywhere we look we are surrounded by news, but it can be difficult to distinguish what is fact and what is fiction. Pick a news source that you know is credible, such as GOV.UK or the NHS website rather than relying on your social media feed.
If you find that the news is increasing your anxiety then limit your intake of news to once per day and keep on scrolling past any other updates you may see.
Tip 7: Focus on the now
If you often find yourself worrying about the future, try to focus on the present. There are lots of changes ahead and the easing of lockdown restrictions can bring both positive and negative emotions.
Instead of feeling anxious about what may happen in the weeks and months to come, focus on what is happening right now; you’ll be amazed how much this small change can improve your wellbeing and reduce anxiety.
Tip 8: Get some sleep
Sleep has a massive impact on our mental health so it’s really important to get some good quality sleep.
We’re all guilty of slipping from our regular routines over lockdown, but use the return to college to restart a healthy sleeping pattern. Make sure you go to bed at a similar time every night, reduce screen time before bed and create a peaceful environment. Why not try listing to our Songs for Sleep Playlist to help you drift off.