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Stuck at home – a student’s perspective

The winter months can bring an overwhelming feeling of isolation at the best of times. It can bring on waves of stress, anxiety, depression and SAD. However, with COVID-19 still affecting us, it has meant that hundreds of students have not seen their family for a while, especially those that live overseas.

In an interview with Bournemouth University student Yorgos Mandelenis, we spoke about the effects the of the pandemic. And the impact of lockdown on their mental health and relationships. We also spoke about the steps Yorgos has taken to improve their wellbeing.

How have you felt about not being able to return to your home country for the holidays?

“It’s hard staying away from the people you love, but the strong need to not risk passing the virus to your family soothes the second thoughts. Staying in the UK with good flatmates can be exciting since we are all in the same situation.”

How have you kept yourself mentally healthy, especially as it is getting dark early?

“I try to take advantage of my day mostly in the mornings. I walk around town, exercise, and take some time for myself before my day begins. I usually leave my university work until the afternoon so I can take advantage of the daylight. I also know about the importance of consuming vitamin D, since I come from a country where you can absorb it a lot.”

What are some of the challenges you have faced whilst there have been many changes in restrictions as well as being in another lockdown?

“It is really affecting the way I study and join in on projects for university, which is the main reason I am here, so that makes me disappointed. In addition, spending so much time sitting at home in front of a computer really affects me physically and mentally, even though I try to be more active. Our bodies and minds are trying to adapt to a new reality, it is really exhausting and painful.”

Yorgos has made sure to take the steps necessary for his health and wellbeing this lockdown. For those that are struggling, I have compiled a list of things that can help EVERYONE to stay motivated, healthy and optimistic.

  1. Stay active!

    Whilst many sports and activities have been banned, getting active and keeping physically fit has many benefits. It helps you:

  • Boost your immune system and metabolism
  • Increase seratonin and happy hormones
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Improve your sleeping
  1. Keep in touch with your friends and family.

    You don’t just have to simply have a phone or a video call with your loved ones. Here are a few ideas you can try whilst you connect with them:

  • A quiz
  • Record a podcast or a short film using your chosen applications recording feature
  • Watch your favourite TV series or film together
  • Host a virtual party
  1. Set goals.

    As it’s the beginning of the year, list goals you can aim to complete in 2021. They can be professional or personal. Sit yourself down and grab a pen and paper. Consider what you would like to change or do differently this year. Some of these goals might include:

  • Speak to friends and family on a daily/weekly basis
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day
  • Reflect on your successes and achievements every week
  • Learn a new skill or hobby
  1. Get creative!

    Spending so much time indoors with little contact than the people we live with, (or some of us live on our own), can mean that we start to lack motivation. Some ideas for new creative hobbies:

  • Blog/script/novel writing
  • Painting
  • Arts and crafts
  • Filming and photography
  • Cooking and baking
  • Online courses

Whatever your situation, there is something out there for everyone. It is important that you don’t feel alone in the struggles of the pandemic, and to reach out to those that are close to you if you need help.

Huge thanks to our blogger…

Our blogger this week is student Megan Tribe, who’s at Bournemouth University. Megan wrote this blog several weeks ago, but her advice is still relevant to those not able to see their loved ones.

The University have a wide range of support in place for their students, and we can also help. We deliver Befriending, Counselling, Mentoring and Support Groups. We also help minority communities like LGBT+, Carers, Women-Only and BAME. Find out more here.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing are proven steps that can help improve your wellbeing.

CREDIT: Photo by heylagostechie on Unsplash.

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