The spread of COVID-19 and the demand for social distancing has created a mountain of stress and anxiety amongst students.
But despite the fear and uncertainty of surrounding the virus, there are ways students can take care of their mental health.
Connect with friends
Self-isolation doesn’t mean cutting out friend groups. Friends are a good distraction in times of high stress, it might just mean hanging out digitally instead.
FaceTime, or video call over Facebook Messenger, is great if students want to chat “face-to-face” while chilling at home in their pyjamas.
Ranting about the struggles of online classes or the difficulties surrounding quarantine can be a great stress reliever.
Even everyday conversation about each other’s day can help since it’ll keep students’ minds off of the virus and add some much needed normalcy in their lives.
Students can also play games like Words with Friends and Trivia Crack with their friends to help distract them from the real world.
Not a people person? No problem.
Do what you enjoy.
Watch every season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, read the book that’s been sitting on your shelf for a year or lie in bed and listen to music.
This is also a time to take a break from COVID-19 news. Constantly bombarding yourself with information about the coronavirus isn’t good for mental health. Without any solutions or light at the end of the tunnel, anxiety and stress can increase.
It’s important to stay informed, but everyone needs a break sometimes.
Eating lots of fruits and vegetables has proven to increase a person’s well-being, according to a 2014 article by the Mental Health Foundation. A study showed that those who ate a Mediterranean-styled diet, which includes lots of nuts, whole grains and fish, saw a decline in depression-related symptoms.
Diets don’t need to see a drastic change, but a little more fruits and vegetables wouldn’t hurt.
With students trapped at home, it’s a good opportunity to learn how to cook something other than ramen. Even if the food isn’t the healthiest, it’s rewarding to sit down at the dinner table eating a homemade meal. Plus, cooking is great for meal prep and less costly than ordering Skip The Dishes every night.
The best thing about classes being cancelled is not having to wake up at 7 a.m. to prep for morning classes.
Take the opportunity to sleep in until noon!
People should ideally sleep seven to eight hours of sleep per night, according to a 2014 video by ASAP Science. Any less than seven hours, there is a risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and a 12 per cent increase in risk of death. But keep in mind, sleeping more than eight hours has a risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and a 30 per cent increase in risk of death.
The video also mentioned how those who slept for eight hours had fewer attention lapses or cognitive issues.
So get some sleep!
STU mental health coordinator Kelly Humber Kelly said the university is offering free and confidential counselling services through phone call or video chat for students. To book a daytime or evening session with one of STU’s two counsellors, students can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are some in-person counselling sessions when “deemed appropriate,” according to STU’s website.
Students also have access to the University of New Brunswick’s online counselling services, Humber Kelly said.
Talking about feelings with a professional can help relieve the pent-up emotions. While it’s good to talk with family and friends, counsellors provide a safe and confidential space where students can speak without fear of judgement.
Sometimes students just need someone who listens.