A week ago I moved out of my student accommodation. So much has changed in this past week, and social isolation has become of utmost importance. There’s been a lot of uncertainty from the outbreak, particularly for those being made redundant, or the GCSE and A Level students. The country, the world, has felt a lot of anxiety. The Covid-19 outbreak has had the unexpected side effect of significantly worsening the world’s mental health. It’s hard enough worrying about catching coronavirus yourself, but the thought of spreading it to the vulnerable makes things all the worse. I’ve found a couple of things have really helped my mental health during this outbreak, and may well help yours too.
I never thought that studying would be an escape for me during this outbreak, but it truly is. With uncertainty around exams, I’m revising regardless as I’ve managed to forget a lot! Putting out a huge chunk of the day for work is a huge chunk of the day spent not thinking about the outbreak. I’ve enjoyed listening to some relaxing nostalgic music while studying and making cute flashcards for revision. It creates some sense of control in this pandemic, and putting my soul into work has helped my mental health a lot. If the thought of working more doesn’t make you feel nauseous, and is feasible in your situation, I really recommend it purely for the sake of distraction and having that routine from a study timetable.
I’ve also found watching films and playing video games to really help. Particularly video games. Animal Crossing has just come out on the Switch and it really couldn’t be a better time. Interacting with villagers somewhat helps with the isolation coming from social distancing, and activities like fishing and hunting for bugs create a sense of calm. I implore anyone who owns a DS to hunt for their copy of the game, or even just listen to the soundtrack or watch Youtubers play it, it puts your mind off things for a bit and there’s nothing as comforting or wholesome. Netflix also has put so many releases out – a lot of nostalgic childhood favourites such as Studio Ghibli films. When it comes to feeling better, I find nothing works quite like watching films or playing games I used to love growing up, and with social isolation there’s now a lot of time to binge the classics. One film I recommend for anyone in need of a digital hug is My Neighbour Totoro. Make some hot chocolate, cuddle in blankets, and watch it, I promise you’ll feel so relaxed after.
Connecting with people is important, but especially now. Just messaging friends, arranging phone calls, talking about things which make you happy, or venting, can be so nice and can provide a bit of solace during this storm. I’ve kept in touch with my friends and am even arranging a Netflix Party with one ! Did you know that’s a thing now?
I think the most important things to do during this outbreak to feel a bit better, however, are keeping a routine and limiting news reading. Setting some sort of daily routine, as well as things to look forward to in the day, has really helped me as well as my other family members and friends. I have friends who are rediscovering their passions, such as music or baking, and it’s been really nice to hear about. I’ve been doing the same, keeping things in the day to look forward to. Avoiding the news has really helped too. I now check in once a day after Boris Johnson’s daily update to hear about the current situation and stay informed, but checking more often has revealed little more to me in terms of updates and has just made me feel vastly worse. If the pandemic is frightening you too much, and making you struggle to think about much else, I’d recommend muting news apps and only checking occasionally for the sake of learning more about how to protect others and yourself, and to hear about if the situation has changed.
I hope all of you are doing well, staying inside, and finding some sources of comfort during these very difficult times.