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Looking after your Mental Health whilst in Isolation

Hi, my name is Em and and I am studying Sports Development here at Leeds Beckett. In this blog I am going to talk about the importance of looking after your mental health, particularly during lockdown and I have put together some of my top tips.

Looking After Your Mental Health Whilst in Isolation
I am in my final year, so I am currently back home with my Mum, Dad and girlfriend, in a small village just outside Harrogate working on my dissertation along with other module assessments. I am very fortunate in that I am in a good size family home with a garden, while our local area is very quiet and secluded.

Top Tips For Looking After Your Mental Health

The current situation, COVID-19, is going to have an impact on people’s mental health – especially if you suffer with mental health issues already. So, it is really important that we take the time to look after our mental health in this difficult time. To help you, I’ve put together some of my top tips that I find useful.

Stay Physically Active

Try and make sure that you are doing something that gets you physically active each day, whether it’s a walk outside, an indoor workout, a run, a gym session (if you have the equipment), even just a walk around the house. Physically activity is really good for your mental health, and I swear by it now. The positive effects doing exercise everyday, if I can, has had on my mental health is life changing. So, try your best to do something little or big each day, because I promise you, you’ll feel the benefits! 

Stay in Touch With Your Friends

A massive part of the isolation for me and I know a lot of you will be the same, is not being able to have social interaction. Suffering from a mental health condition can make you feel very lonely and often social situations are hard to get to but make us feel a lot better. COVID-19 has made it really easy for us to isolate ourselves from the world, not have to go out and see people when we don’t feel like it. But it’s important that we do keep in contact with our friends, because it makes us feel a lot better.

So, try and schedule in Facetime calls, Whatsapp calls, Skype sessions, with your friends each week. This will help to not only add a bit of structure to your day, having things scheduled in your calendar, but will also help to keep in contact with your friends. Fun things I’ve been including within calls:

  • Pub Quiz
  • Gym Workouts
  • Games night
  • Coffee Mornings
  • Drinks on a night

Whatever it may be, try and make sure you are scheduling in calls with your friends!

Uni Work

In terms of your Uni work, it could be very easy for us to be doing either too much work or not enough work during isolation.

It is very easy, as we are not leaving the house all day, to sit inside and just do uni work all day every day. This is going to really impact your mental health, because everyday is going to feel the same and we are going to feel very tired, low and bored after a while – having a negative impact on our mental health. It is also very easy for us to feel very lethargic and down in the current situation, staying inside all the time looking at the same walls each day – it’s understandable when we can’t be bothered to think about/do Uni work.

Here are some tips that I use to help me find the right balance…

  1. Set yourself working hours for the day (for example 10 – 4pm, 9 – 3 pm, 1 – 5pm, etc…). Whatever hours you want to work, you decide…but make sure it’s not the WHOLE DAY (7/8 hours max!). Having these set hours will help you keep to a schedule and stop you from working ridiculous hours and will also help motivate you. Some days you may feel better than others, that’s ok. On the bad days, work a little bit less, look after yourself. On the good days, see if you can do an extra hour or so!
  2. Schedule in breaks – in your working day make sure that you are having breaks throughout the day to ensure you are not just sitting at your desk all day every day. Take these break times to walk around the house, go outside and get fresh air, get some water to stay hydrated, go talk to someone else in the house, ring a friend, etc… Make use of the time.
  3. Set up a working area – if you can, try and set up a specified working area in your house. Somewhere where you know that when you enter the space, you work and when you leave it, you forget about work and think about other stuff. Don’t spend all day, every day thinking about uni work – it’s not good for your mental health.
  4. Book in Skype calls with course mates to discuss the work. Not only seeing familiar faces, but discussing ideas with others, will help motivate you to do some more work. Also having calls scheduled in, aims to motivate you to get up and do work, because you don’t want to let course mates down.

There are plenty more tips and habits that you can adopt to help you in this current situation of isolation, but those are just a few of the ones that I have been using to help my mental health during this difficult time.

Please remember just how important it is to look after your mental health, as its very easy to ignore it and let it get out of hand…but that’s not the best thing to do! So, please use some of these tips to try and manage your mental health and continue with your university studies. Use the situation as a positive way to help you challenge your mental health issues and develop ways to help yourself in the future.

Stay safe. Stay inside. Stay healthy.

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About the Author

Emily T profile picture

Emily T

Hi, I’m Em and i’m a second year student at Leeds Beckett currently studying Sport Development. I was born in Leeds and then grew up in Harrogate. My hobbies match my course; I love football, going to the gym, going on walks and seeing my family & friends.

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