Our social media ambassador Yasmeen gives her tips on looking after your mental health while working and studying from home.
Date: 17 April 2020
Staying at home is difficult for everyone, but when you have depression like me, it can be a lot harder to get your work done – it’s easy to go into a downward spiral.
In the first week of social distancing, I could barely get any work done, and sometimes I still can’t. I stayed in bed until noon and when I did get out of bed, I just watched TV and ate cereal. I sometimes read a book and barely moved. I’d just lie in bed and stare at the ceiling. I had people to talk to, but I felt I didn’t have anything to say
I’m not sure when it happened, but one day I decided to start moving again because I knew it would make me feel a lot better and give me a sense of accomplishment if I was being productive.
I believe the key to managing your mental health, especially whilst studying from home, is balance. I came up with some tips and techniques that I’ve found to be extremely helpful and I hope they help you too.
Have a schedule.
It’s extremely important to plan your time. If you have coursework, plan plenty of research time. However, don’t make yourself work for hours at a time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re so focused but remember that your brain and your body need a break, so be sure to carve out lots of time for yourself.
If you take medication, book your appointment with the GP to renew your prescriptions two to four weeks in advance.
I’m guilty of leaving things to the last minute, especially when it comes to renewing my antidepressants. I also misplaced a month’s supply of medication last month and I had to wait two weeks to get an appointment to renew them. My severe mood swings came back, so I’d be crying one minute and completely fine the next. If you take antidepressants or any other form of medication for your mental health, I highly recommend staying on top of them.
Have a self-care day.
Sometimes constantly working, despite having breaks, can become quite overwhelming, especially if you’re having a mental block and have no idea what to do. It can help to have a day completely dedicated to you. Do whatever you want – stay in bed and read, do your skincare routine or binge on your favourite show. Do what makes you happy and helps you clear your mind and be at peace.
Take a shower for motivation.
What helps me become a little more motivated is taking a nice hot shower. The freshness and cleanliness that I feel helps my mindset so much more than I can describe.
Take a bubble bath for relaxation.
Conversely, when I feel extremely overwhelmed, it feels so good to sink into a hot bath and play with the bubbles to help become more relaxed and content.
Make time for your family and friends.
I miss going out and spending time with my partner, my friends and my grandparents. However, the blessing that is the digital age means that my loved ones are only a call away. If you live alone, FaceTime or call the people you miss, because they definitely miss you too. If you live at home, spend time with your family – cook with them or play board games. We’re all alone together.
If you find yourself in a rut or a downward spiral, remember that the University also has counselling services that they are now offering online. Talk to your professors too and let them know how you feel because they definitely care about you and want to help you in any way they can.
I hope these tips help you the same way they’ve helped me. Always remember to talk to someone if you’re feeling unhappy in any way.
Stay safe everyone!