20 Jul Student Mental Health During Lockdown
Student Mental Health
One hundred and something days into lockdown, and we don’t know when it will come to an end. The thought of this could leave many feeling a sense of fear, anxiety, dread. Lockdown is taking a toll on many of us at this point. Our social interactions, daily routines, and sense of a predictable future play an enormous role in preserving our sense of stability and control. Disrupting these can lead to people feeling sad, anxious, panicked, stressed out, worried, helpless, and threatened.
In addition to this life under lockdown has meant that students have had to get to grips with new ways of working, which is extremely stressful. With the rapid and forced change to online classes and assessments and uncertainty around what the academic year might look like, emotional wellbeing and mental health are important topics to consider when thinking about students.
Tips on how to cope emotionally during lockdown:
- Try reframing the experience to highlight choice. Rather than “I’m trapped at home and I can’t do a thing”, aim for “I’m staying home to help slow the spread and will take the opportunity to build my relationship with my family or to focus on my academics”.
- Acknowledge your feelings. Naming feelings can have a calming effect. Talk to your loved ones about your experience, ask if they can relate. Consider journaling about your feelings.
- When worried, ask: Can you control the thing you are worried about? If not, let it go. If yes, add it to your plan and bring your energy back to the present.
- Practise bringing yourself to the here and now. Each time you catch yourself predicting or worrying about the future, come back to what’s happening right now in your life, where you are standing, at this moment.
- If you struggle to remain in, or come back to the present, consider stimulating each of your five senses. Take a hot a bath with essential oils, attentively listen to music, watch birds, ask for a massage.
- Practise acceptance. It is ok to not be ok, it is a strange time for all so plans will be postponed, life as we know it has to change but life will go on.