One of the main talking points for students during this pandemic has been the issue of mental health. As a student myself, I can honestly say that this “new normal” has affected my way of life in more ways than one.
The restrictions have made it necessary for me to tweak my daily routine. Some of these changes are easier to get used to than others but everyone deals with change differently.
Having meetings and lessons online saved us a lot of time. There was no longer a need to use up our precious time commuting. This was one of the advantages of the pandemic that I have enjoyed.
With the added time on my hands, I felt that I was able to take on more responsibilities and projects as a student. However, I often forgot my own limitations, as I got carried away signing up for more projects. In other words, staying at home made me complacent in the area of self-care, to the point where I bring unnecessary stress upon myself.
Having observed and listened to my friends’ concerns about the pandemic restrictions, I realised that I am not the only student facing problems like this.
As a student who is desperate to get my grades up and build my portfolio, I would throw myself at every project opportunity. In hindsight, I realise that this was a mistake. I recognised this problem after taking the time to assess my mistakes. Just because we have more time on our hands due to the pandemic, does not mean that we should drown ourselves in work. It is important that we take this time to think about where we are in life, where we want to be and how to get there.
Yes, the pandemic restrictions might have been the root cause of my stress. However, I am the one who is responsible for the choices that I made throughout the year and I am the one who had to bear the consequences.
TIME MANAGEMENT, LEANING ON FRIENDS
To cope with the stress I inflicted upon myself, I made it a point to try managing my time better. I learned how to prioritise the important tasks, schedule my time accordingly, and seek help when I needed it. I also found that I constantly leaned on friends and loved ones for support.
Still, the majority of the changes we go through revolve around staying home more as well as safe distancing measures. Therefore, there will be fewer face-to-face interactions with the people we have to work or communicate with. Limited face-to-face interactions make it increasingly difficult to reach out to people. This means that leaning on others for support would be more challenging.
The COVID-19 restrictions, while keeping us safe, have made it more difficult to seek emotional support from our peers. In order to cope with challenges like these, we should embrace an activity we are able to do within the comfort of our homes – rest.
Personally, I find that indulging in my hobbies keeps me calm, rested and happy. These hobbies include sitting down for hours to read a good book, crochet while catching up on my Netflix shows and watching one of my favourite films before going to bed.
Another way I have embraced the lockdown and restrictions is that I made full use of my extra time to really think things through. At first, I thought this meant sitting down and planning out my whole life on a piece of paper. After a few tries, I realised that this wouldn’t help the problems I was facing here and now.
I started to learn to pause before making important decisions, and take the time to pace myself and plan my work. It is important to remember that work done hastily could lead to problems in the future.
Sometimes, we just have to try our best to look for positivity amidst the negativity. When handling stress, it is important to take breaks and change the energy of our surroundings. Don’t be afraid to take a short walk around your neighbourhood, bring your laptop and notes to the library for a change of scenery, or just go out for coffee with your friends.
This pandemic has brought about new experiences for different people. It is important for us to understand that the restrictions are for our own well-being. It is equally important to be able to navigate this unprecedented situation by staying calm and seeking help when needed. Perhaps months from now, our generation would be a proud bunch to be able to say that we have lived through a pandemic and come out stronger.