Mental health and wellbeing
The global crisis has created new challenges for us all and it’s important to look after our mental health as well as our physical health. This page discusses some of the challenges you might find you have faced as a result of the pandemic and some advice on how to support your mental health and wellbeing.
Stress and anxiety
The global outbreak of COVID-19 may understandably cause worry, distress and anxiety. It's important to remember these feelings are normal and you are not alone in your experience. There are steps you can take to try and ease feelings of stress and anxiety:
- Acknowledge your experience - if you acknowledge that you are feeling anxious, and accept that it's normal, you will be in a better position to begin to overcome this anxiety.
- Stick to the facts - there is so much information online that it can be incredible overwhelming. Find a source of information that you trust, such as the government or NHS websites, and try not to use social media as your source of news or updates.
- Talk to someone - share how you are feeling with someone you trust. Anxiety can feel isolating and when we're all staying at home this feeling can be amplified. Pick up the phone and give a friend a call. If you don't feel you have someone you can talk to about this, there are many helplines you can call.
- Help others - helping someone else can have a profound effect on your own wellbeing and help you understand your own feelings. Could you text a friend or neighbour and support them with their grocery shopping? Do you have time to volunteer for any local community groups or initiatives?
- Sleep - it sounds simple but it works. Sleep is restorative and can make a big difference on our mood, mental wellbeing and physical health. Try to make sure you have a regular routine that enables you to get enough sleep each evening.
Anxiety can cause physical symptoms, in some cases feeling hot, increased heart rate and shortness of breath, among others. Symptoms like these could be confused with symptoms of coronavirus, which in turn might lead to more anxiety. If you're worried, try and distract yourself with other tasks and when you are feeling more at ease see whether you still have these symptoms. If these symptoms persist, always read the NHS guidance on what to do.
Stress and anxiety resources
Keeping healthy habits
It's important to look after your physical health and your mental wellbeing at a time like this when we are all facing unfamiliar challenges. We have some tips on how to keep healthy habits, as well as some resources and videos from students.
- Stay active - exercise is an important part of keeping physically healthy which in turn has a positive impact on our mental wellbeing. Try and go for a walk or a run once a day, or if you can't go outside try out a home workout video. Keep up to date with Move Imperial as they post workout plans and live sessions online. Visit our staying connected and active pages for more information.
- Keep it healthy - much like exercise, our diet impacts our physical and mental wellbeing. Try and make yourself healthy meals and keep to regular meal times. Its easy to allow yourself to snack while at home all day so structuring your mealtimes can help avoid temptation.
- Stay connected - it's much more difficult to meet-up with our friends and family at the moment, however virtual meet-ups make socialising possible. Whether you schedule in your usual Friday evening plans with friends, Skype your family at weekends, or have virtual coffees with your classmates, there's lots of different ways to stay connected. Visit our staying connected and active pages for more information.
- Take breaks - it's easy to sit at your desk all day without moving when you're concentrating on a piece of work but this can be mentally draining. Set an alarm to remind you to take some time away from your desk, even if it's just 10 minutes.
- Structure your day - when you are indoors all day it can be easy to lose track and fall into unhealthy habits. Before you go to bed, have a plan of how you will structure the following day. This will help you maintain a healthy balance between work, exercise, virtual socialising and relaxation.
Digital wellbeing during COVID-19
The move to remote learning and current restrictions on our movement mean that students are spending a lot more time at home - and a lot more time on screens! Student, Michael, talks about what he's learned about managing screen time as a student during COVID-19 and how to cope with the challenges is brings.