Coping with the rough start to January 2021
Especially after last year, we hoped that January would bring a fresh start, and a break from the physical and emotional exhaustion we all felt in 2020. However, with the rise of COVID-19 cases worldwide, the usual January blues are accompanied by feelings of stress and uncertainty due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation. With limited sunlight, colder temperatures, and the rest of the academic year taking place online, it is only natural to feel down and unmotivated.
Here are some useful tips to help you survive January and the rest of lockdown:
Stay in touch with other people via social media, e-mail, or call them regularly. You can also arrange group video calls with your friends or family, play online games together or set up a book club to discuss books every month. During the coronavirus pandemic many of us experience similar feelings of insecurity and loneliness, so do not be afraid to acknowledge your emotions while talking to your friends or family – you may find they are feeling the same way. If you feel like you have no one to talk to or would just like to speak to someone impartial, LSE Counselling offers online sessions as well as a Peer Support Scheme that connects you to trained student volunteers, who can listen to you and offer support on whatever is troubling you.
Try to get into a routine
For many people, having a daily routine can be extremely beneficial for both their physical and mental wellbeing. If you have been spending most of your time at home during the pandemic, chances are that you already have a routine of daily activities. As the Lent term starts, it may be helpful to reconsider what worked and what could be changed so your days are more enjoyable and you have more time for yourself. Try going to sleep and waking up on a set schedule not only throughout the week but also during weekends. Set clear boundaries between the time you commit to your academics and leisure. This can increase your efficiency, and reduce stress in your personal life, preventing burnout.
Try to go outside
We all know the English weather can be unpredictable but try to incorporate daily walks or exercise outside into your routine as much as possible. Under the current rules in England, you can exercise outdoors once a day. Use this opportunity to breathe some fresh air between classes or start your day with a walk while listening to a podcast or favourite album. Walking is not only relaxing but comes with a multitude of health benefits, including increased immunity and lower risk of heart diseases in the future. Walking may also improve your mood, help clear your head, and accelerate your creative thinking.
Search online for activities
The idea of yet another video call may seem dreadful, but several activities are now being run online – from live exercise classes to calligraphy workshops, through meditation workshops and language classes with native speakers - there is a wealth of knowledge and experiences available to you online and delivered from all over the world. While the pandemic limits the choice of in-person activities, online opportunities are getting increasingly sophisticated, and many of them are free! Check out the list of LSESU Societies - many of them run weekly events for their members, which can range from career advice to yoga classes. Try to view this time as an unusual experience, that might have its unexpected benefits.
Try not be too hard on yourself
Do not ignore how you are feeling. Your feelings are valid and it is normal to feel anxious and demotivated. Due to the ongoing pandemic, we experience more stress than we realise and there is no right or wrong way to feel about coronavirus and its effect on your life. Always prioritise yourself and your wellbeing, and do not be afraid to reach out for help to a friend or professional.
Throughout, you can access a 24/7 out of hours mental health support line sponsored by the LSE via Spectrum.Life. All calls are answered by clinically trained counsellors or psychotherapists. You can talk to them about anything, including stress, anxiety, low mood, financial worries, loss and grief, relationship problems, and substance abuse issues.
· Freephone: 0808 189 01 03
· SMS or WhatsApp: 00353 873690010
They can also be reached via a live chat function or you can request a call back using this link.
You can also make use of other external services free of charge:
· Samaritans -116 123 (24 hours a day)
· Mind – 0300 123 3393 (9am – 6pm, Monday to Friday, closed on bank holidays)
· Shout - 85258 (text SHOUT) (24 hours a day)
· Young Minds (helpline for parents) – 0808 802 5544
And here are a few more, including specialised support on topics such as eating disorders, bereavements, LGBTQ+ support, domestic violence and many more.
Blog written by Dani Gruszka.
Dani is an Advice Assistant in the LSE Students’ Union (LSESU) and a member of the LSESU Advice Service.
THE LSESU ADVICE SERVICE
IMPARTIAL. SUPPORTIVE. CONFIDENTIAL.
The LSESU Advice Service is based on the 3rd floor of the Saw Swee Hock Building and we provide free, independent and confidential advice to all LSE students on academic and housing matters. We also administer the Hardship Fund, the Childcare Fund and the Graduation Gown Support Fund (GGSF).
Due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation, we are currently not on campus. However, we are still open and can instead be accessed by emailing email@example.com. You can also book a telephone or Zoom appointment with an adviser through Student Hub.