Student Wellbeing after COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has been very difficult for everyone so, if you are feeling anxious and upset by the pandemic, or find that the pandemic is having a lasting impact on your wellbeing, you are not alone.
We understand that many people have had the services they use to support their wellbeing reduced and in some cases removed. We also know that for a long time, we were unable to meet up with each other in person, go to the gym or do many things that we relied on to look after our mental health.
As we reach a state of normality, albeit a new state of normality, we are observing a return for gyms, hospitality, and support services. We understand that GP surgeries and medical facilities are having a more delayed return to normal, and we believe this may be compounded by the ongoing demand on the NHS. However, we have noticed an increase in the availability of in-person support.
Nonetheless, it is important that you take the measures that you need to, in order to keep yourself safe. This page contains some advice, guidance and services that you may support you at this time.
- If you feel you are at imminent risk of harm to yourself and/or are experiencing suicidal ideation, dial 999. If you are in University owned residences, you can also call University security on 029 2087 4444.
- If you are concerned that you may be becoming a risk to yourself, email firstname.lastname@example.org. This inbox is accessed by a specialist team, who will respond where possible within one day, between 10:00 and 16:00 Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) term time only. If you email after 16:00, it will not be attended to until the following weekday.
- If you are not sure whether it is an emergency, but you need medical advice or support, then you can call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or visit their website.
Managing anxiety or low mood
Feeling worried is completely normal but can be especially difficult if you were already feeling anxious or depressed.
Additionally, it is normal to feel nervous about seeing more people and attending social events as restrictions have been eased. We have had a significant involuntary break from social interactions, and being thrown into a social setting may now influence new anxieties.
If you feel that your anxiety is becoming too much, try the following to see what works for you:
Other external resources you may find useful include:
- Mind Mental Health charity’s guidance on Coronavirus and your wellbeing.
- Calm Harm a self-harming prevention app that focuses on, “Comfort, distract, express yourself, release, random and breathe”.
- Stay Alive App a suicide prevention resources for the UK packed full of useful information and tools to help you stay safe in a crisis.
- Talk to me too a suicide and self-harm prevention website for Wales.
- E-DAS the Entry to Drug and Alcohol Service website.
If you are struggling to feel motivated, or to make in-person plans with your friends or family, we would encourage you to try making plans to have regular video calls with the people you may have normally seen in person.
Keep in touch with the people who you think are good at keeping you feeling positive. If you normally use social media, texts or instant message to communicate, try calling instead.
You may find that video messaging apps such as FaceTime, Skype, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp and Zoom are good ways of feeling connected and sharing some positivity, and if you’re ready to try something in-person, give it a go!
You don’t have to say yes to everything. If you’re not feeling comfortable in big groups of people yet, why not message your nearest and dearest to see if they fancy doing something low-key.
Eat well and stay hydrated.
You might find that your appetite changes if you are feeling anxious or if your routine has changed. Eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar stable can help your mood and energy levels. Keeping properly hydrated is also important for your mental and physical wellbeing. See Mind’s tips on food and mood for more information.
It can be very difficult but try to get enough sleep, eat regularly and healthily, drink plenty of water and make the most of your exercise. Keeping a routine can be challenging, especially if your time table changes week on week, but try to sleep at night and wake up at around the same time each day if you can. Getting enough sleep but also enough daylight is very important for your mental health.
Get the right amount of sleep at the right time.
There is a close relationship between sleep and mental health. Mental health problems can affect how well you sleep and poor sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health. Anxiety can cause your thoughts to race and make it difficult to sleep and depression can lead to oversleeping, or sleeping a lot during the day. It is not only important to get enough sleep but also to try and get it at night because getting enough daylight is also important for your mental health.
Again, keeping a routine can be challenging but try to go to bed at around the same time each night and wake up at around the same time each day. See Mind’s tips on sleep for more information.
Keeping active and getting as much sunlight, fresh air and nature as you can will provide a natural boost and can also really help your mental health. Motivation can be very difficult when you are feeling low but try to make yourself go for a walk around the park or a gentle jog. It really does help to relieve some stress, particularly when the sun is shining.
Many gyms and exercise facilities are returning to normal opening hours. Think about the activities you used to engage in before the pandemic and see if there are any opportunities in the Cardiff area to get stuck back in!
Get Creative, set some goals, try something new
Sitting in all day on your own can be really boring and not good for anyone’s wellbeing. Try to set some time aside each day to do something for yourself. Is there something you have always wanted to try? Perhaps you could learn a new skill, develop a hobby or do something creative. You could grow an avocado tree, learn how to knit, become a master baker, start drawing, or do some creative writing. Having a goal or project is a really good way to stay motivated and can help take your mind off your worries.
You might get some inspiration or guidance from Pinterest, Instagram or Youtube, and share your ideas on the isolation Facebook group to encourage your friends to join in too.
Get some peer support (and give some if you can)
Peer support is a great way of getting and giving help. Some suggestions include:
- Talk Campus a social networking site that you can download from the App Store or Google Play and register with your University email. It offers you a safe space to talk anonymously with fellow students experiencing difficulties too. It is monitored by a professional team who you can talk to about anything and without judgement.
- Elefriends a peer support website where you can listen, be heard and share your experiences.
We all need a bit of help sometimes and getting professional support early can stop things from getting worse. Knowing who to approach first can be tricky but here are some good places to start;
If you feel your mental health problems are getting worse, or becoming unmanageable, then you call your GP to arrange an appointment with them.
- If you would like to speak to Student Advice you can get in touch with the contact details at the bottom of this email. We can help you with University procedures, such as reporting Extenuating Circumstances and/or applying for an Interruption of Study.
- If you are struggling financially, then get in touch with the University’s Advice and Money Team or have a look at the Students' Union's Wellbeing Fund.
You can also contact one or more of the support charities below;
- Samaritans – Call 116 123 7 days a week, 24 hours a day (or 0300 123 3011 for Welsh language 7am – 11pm 7 days a week), or text 07725 909090
- Community Advice and Listening Line – Call 0800 132 737 or text “Help” to 81066
- Cardiff Mind – Call 02920 402 040
- SHOUT text Support – Text 85258
- CALM – Webchat; https://www.thecalmzone.net/about-calm/what-is-calm/ and Call; 0800 58 58 58
Contact Student Advice
+44 (0)2920 781410