Lockdown. A word that makes our eyes roll every time we hear it because we don’t want to be reminded of the movie-like nightmare that the world is living in.
It’s hard to imagine a life without lockdown restrictions. The life where you could see whoever you wanted, whenever you wanted, where you could turn up to a pub without having to book in advance and where you could go to a shop without thinking ‘oh sh*t, I’ve forgotten my mask’.
It’s been a tough 15 months for everyone but there’s no doubt students have suffered enormously throughout this period.
Not only has the reality of student life been far from what they had envisaged, but for 73% of students, their mental health has also taken a beating.
Alongside the everyday struggles of normal student life, you may have been faced with the following challenges as a result of lockdown:
- A lack of support from your University
- Feeling sad and lonely because it’s difficult to make new friends without going to lectures and societies
- Feeling suffocated because you’re confined to your house for online lectures
- Experiencing periods of stress with your upcoming assignments and a lack of support you may have received
- Disappointment that university life hasn’t lived up to your expectation
With pubs and restaurants opening their doors, travel restrictions being gently eased and the freedom to meet up in larger groups, we’re starting to get a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel.
But with that, comes a new set of challenges. For students who suffer from anxiety and depression, an easing of lockdown might seem more daunting than exciting.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with what’s to come, we have some tips that will help you cope with the transition:
Manage your expectations
Whilst many people are itching to fill up their weekly diary with plans, don’t feel like you need to say yes to every single social invitation or event. Start small and gradually find the right balance between socialising and taking time out for yourself. The important thing is to not avoid things altogether but go at your own pace.
If you’re feeling anxious about the relaxing of restrictions, talk to someone. Though it can be easier said than done, opening up to a housemate, friend or family member at home about how you’re feeling, will make them aware that you’re struggling so they know not to pressurise you into plans. The chances are that by opening up, you realise that others may be feeling exactly the same as you.
Throughout lockdown, we’ve been forced to enjoy the natural beauty of our local areas. Going out for a daily walk became a luxury that we latched on to and helped us maintain a little bit of sanity. So why stop now? Continuing to weave in some exercise into your daily routine will help keep your mind refreshed and reduce anxiety.
Try to maintain a routine
During lockdown, we all had to develop new routines. Although your daily habits might now be changing it’s important to remember that some things don’t need to. If you feel there are parts of your daily life where routine works for you, then try and stick to this. Having no structure to your day can be mentally draining, so try and maintain the routines that you do have control over.
If you’re struggling with your mental health and feel there is no one else to talk to, Syndi is here to help. We can guide you to readily available resources that can help support you through this uncertain period.