Coping With The New Normal
With the commencement of first term rapidly approaching, the usual excited energy is undercut with the ever increasingly uncertainty of the new normal. I understand that things are up in the air for many of us, and while we are all trying to get to grips with shifting goal posts, I wanted to write something that could be of use to our student community here at Warwick over the coming weeks. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I hope these ideas give some food for thought.
If there are things in your life at the moment that are causing you stress, look at them with a clear head and ask yourself: are they expendable? Recently I was listening to an incredibly insightful Q&A with food and fitness blogger, Flora Beverly (@foodfitnessflora), and guest speaker, wellbeing, and motivational coach, Chevy Rough (IG: @thewellbeingceo). The conversation was mainly centred on running, but Chevy shared an interesting perspective on energy and energy deficit. He explained that people do not have ‘separate energy tanks for work, exercise, managing your emotions, or creating habits.’ Essentially, we only have one tank and when that tank is drained, we cannot ‘drink from an empty cup’. In plain English, we can only handle so much, we are not superhuman. Right now the country is facing some tough issues, and we have all heard about how the term normal is being redefined every day. With that in mind, to protect our wellbeing, we could remove things in our lives that take up our energy and time without giving us any benefits. So, the first part of incorporating this practice into your life, is becoming aware of what might be draining your resources, and then from there you can look at how to put yourself first.
Check your following
A very clear example of removing stress in your life, is to check your social media and unfollow, remove, mute, or block any accounts that are not positive for you. For instance if you regularly follow news accounts that bombard your feed with overwhelmingly pessimistic media, and you struggle to switch off, unfollow to instantly reduce your intake of such material. I am not suggesting cut out news entirely, but simply look at how and what your consuming online, and whether or not it is necessary or positive.
Focus only on what you can control
Aside from letting go of things in your life that are weighing you down, monitor what is within your control to change. This could be as simple as reading your timetable for the coming year to get a sense of what your week may look like. You do not need to go any further than that if module information has not been released. You can only work with what you’re given!
Seek out the good things, and keep them around!
Also, on arriving at university, find what makes you feel good and stick with it. If you find a friendship group you like, invest time into it, if you decide you enjoy online meet ups with friends from home, keep doing it, if you get a real sense of joy in cooking, make time for that too. In a world where things can seem so dystopian, keep the lighter things in your life close to you, and don’t be afraid to make time for them, or even finance them. If for instance you really enjoy reading: buy books. You should not feel guilty for investing in your wellbeing!
Check where your energy is going
This point really underpins all of the above suggestions. If things seem overwhelming it is really important to be mindful of what you are thinking, the habits you practice, who you are spending time with, even the music you listen to or the programmes you watch. I know it goes without saying but, all of your everyday behaviours have an effect on your mood. Now is a good time to be very clear about how you want to feel or what you want to do and be decisive in making your life the right environment to welcome it.
Seek out support
Finally, I would like to mention that support is never far. Warwick is dedicated to supporting their students, with a Wellbeing Support Services that offers online support such as email counselling, self-help resources, one to one appointments, therapy groups and mentoring. The link to their website is here (https://warwick.ac.uk/services/wss/) As well as this, there is always the option of seeking guidance through your personal tutor, who are trained to consult with students. Finally, don’t hesitate to reach out to friends and family, everyone is affected by these uncertain times!