Amid all the university-related work you still need to do in the current challenging situation, don’t forget to take care of your mental health.

The coronavirus outbreak has affected us in many ways, not least by taking a toll on our emotional well-being. Below, you can find tips for preserving your mental (and physical) health during this period of social distancing.  

  1. Create and maintain routine.

Now that your old routine has disappeared, it is time to establish a new one. Make a schedule and stick to it, even though it may be difficult at the beginning. Avoid staying in your pyjamas all day. Maintaining a routine sleep schedule is also important.

Read: The Importance of Graduate Students’ Mental Health

Also, make sure you designate a work space, if you don’t have one, and clean it after you finish working. And most importantly, take your assignments, lectures, and projects seriously, even though they are conducted online. Your courses have the same goals as before. The delivery is different, yes, but it does not mean that you can afford to slack off.  

  1. Help others

Taking care of others is one of the best ways to preserve your mental health and that of others. Think about people and groups who are vulnerable and may need assistance. You can offer your help to a senior in your neighbourhood or join the efforts of a voluntary organisation. Your help might make a big difference for them and will make you feel good too. It’s important to do this while sticking to the Covid-19 health guidance to keep yourself and everyone else safe.

  1. Stay physically active

Your physical health has a big impact on your emotional health. During a crisis situation like the current one, it’s easy to neglect your physical health, which in turn can make you feel worse.

Try to cover the basics – eat well, sleep well, exercise. Eat enough fruit and vegetables and avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs. Exercise inside and, if possible, outside. If you don’t know how or you feel that you need more ideas, check out YouTube or fitness apps for free tutorials and advice.

Since sleep impacts the way you feel, it is important to get enough of it. The constant talk about the coronavirus can make you anxious and thus affect your sleep. Try to stick to regular sleeping patterns and maintain healthy practices like avoiding screens before bedtime, staying away from caffeine and alcohol, and creating a restful environment.

  1. Keep your (social) media consumption in check

Do you know what will do wonders to improve your sleep? That’s right, setting limits on news watching and social media. Of course, you need to stay informed, but excessive use of media is unlikely to make you feel well. It is also important to get your facts from established, reputable sources. Avoid sensationalist websites which tend to predict doom and gloom and incite hysteria.

Social media could be a great tool for staying connected with family and friends while restrictions are still intact. If you care about your mental health, though, set some limits on how much time you spend scrolling through your timeline on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.  

  1. Social distance, but connect emotionally

Maintaining relationships with friends and family is crucial to your mental wellbeing. You probably cannot meet many of them in-person now, but you can connect with them via telephone, video calls or social media. Also, check if your university has thought of ways to enable you to stay connected with your classmates. Some schools have launched websites where students can socialise remotely and attend virtual events.

Read: Homesickness Remedies for Students Abroad

  1. Watch your mind

More than ever now it is important to avoid ruminating about imagined catastrophe, no matter how threatening or frustrating the current situation seems. Some of your favourite activities may be off limits, or your plans derailed to a certain extent by current circumstances. However, try not to dwell on regrets.

Instead, spend time each day thinking about what you should be grateful for. This period, however difficult it may be, will be fondly remembered for other ways of connecting, celebrating and caring for one another. Be active and stay committed to your education whether you are a student or applying for admission to graduate school.