Blog by Guest Author: Evelyn James
You’d been preparing for Uni for months, maybe even years. You’d planned for the wild parties on campus and coffee-fueled debates after lectures. You finally arrived at Uni and… you found yourself stuck inside, isolated, and alone. You have been dealt a tough hand. The current restrictions have been extremely challenging for many students, with some resorting to spelling out ‘send help and pizza’ on their windows in post-its (and we all know that students don’t have money to waste on post-its like that) because they feel they are almost going out of their minds being cooped up in their rooms all day. However, there are some things which you can do (for free) which can help you deal with your cabin fever and survive this lockdown.
Feeling stuck in your room, away from your friends and family at home is incredibly tough. If you aren’t careful, it can even take a serious toll on your mental health and wellbeing after a while. Glide explain that “staying in contact with our friends and loved ones has never been more important, and luckily, there are so many ways to do this using technology.” If you’re sick of virtual pub quizzes, try making up new virtual games to bring some novelty back into virtual socializing. This should really help to combat the lockdown blues and make you feel more in touch with the outside world, but don’t forget to seek support if you’re still struggling with loneliness during the lockdown.
Get into a routine
We know that, for many, part of the appeal of the Uni lifestyle is the move away from rigid routines; however, in times of change and chaos, it can be really comforting to stick to some order and predictability in your life. With University campuses now running a mixture of online and in-person sessions, you should have regularity around your attendance at lectures and seminars; but, for most Uni students, this still leaves a huge portion of the week without a clear schedule. Have a go at getting up at the same time each day, regardless of when your lectures start, and completing your university work at specific times. This will help you to maintain a feeling of purposefulness and productivity during the lockdown, giving you some much needed dopamine boosts. The added benefit? You will also be up to date with Uni work and making the money you’ve borrowed for those fees really worth it.
Get fresh air and exercise
The current government guidelines are that you should get fresh air and exercise every day. This is really important for keeping yourself physically and mentally well by boosting your immune system, flushing out toxins, allowing for Vitamin D absorption and giving you some feel-good happy hormones. It’s also proven that spending just 20 minutes in nature radically reduces stress and anxiety, so try to get out to a park or green area every day (Science Daily). In addition to getting outdoors, online exercise classes are another great way to stay healthy and active while the gyms are closed, and you’re stuck inside. Getting your housemates together for the same class or getting loved ones to join from home can add a great social element too.
We’re all guilty of reaching for unhealthy food and snacks during the lockdown. While some comfort eating is actually proven to be helpful in the short term for soothing anxiety, eating junk food over a long period of time can lower your mood. Try swapping in healthier alternatives like fresh fruit slices, carrot sticks with peanut butter, or popcorn. These snacks are super tasty and will enable you to keep comfort eating (if it helps you) without adding tons of nasty toxins to your body. In fact, you could even try this lockdown as an opportunity to challenge yourself positively to experiment with new healthy food recipes and sharpen up your skills in the kitchen. You could even use it to create opportunities for fun with your flatmates by having ‘Come Dine with Me’ evenings or creating themed food nights like Meatless Mondays. This will give you all something to look forward to and help you to see this lockdown as a chance for bonding rather than just seeing yourselves as stuck together.