Dealing with stress and uncertainty
So 2020 has really been testing us huh…
I don’t need to talk about why. Anyone who’s had a conversation with anyone lately will know why. I can barely go ten minutes without thinking about it. I can’t even go into a supermarket without seeing the effects of it. So I’m not going to talk about it, but I am going to talk about what I’m doing to look after myself mentally. Lately there’s been so much focus on our physical health that it seems easy to overlook our mental health.
I realised a few years ago that one of the things I’m most scared of is uncertainty. I’m the kind of person who likes to make plans and stick to them. I’m only at university for a short time and I want to make the most of it. I have so much I’m looking forward to, so when that’s all thrown up in the air, I get pretty scared. But I know it’s good for me to admit this. Now that term is over and people are going home, it’s really hit me just how happy I am at university and how much I care for the great community I’ve built here. The prospect that it may be cut short breaks my heart ☹ I’m sure that I’m not the only one feeling this way, and I’ve been thinking about how I can get through this:
Take a break from social media if you need to. The internet is rife with misinformation and fearful talking. It’s hard to resist picking up your phone though – it’s how we stay connected, and where we can go to find things that make us laugh. Taking a break doesn’t mean cutting it out of your life completely. You can limit the time you spend on it per day, or keep your phone on the opposite side of the room overnight so you’re not tempted to go on it as soon as you wake up. Alternatively, if there’s a particular subject of popular discussion that’s causing you distress, it’s possible to mute certain words on Twitter so you don’t see anything related to it (I do this a lot to prevent myself from seeing spoilers for a new movie that I really want to see).
You don’t need to feel guilty. Health is one of those things that no matter how careful you are, getting ill is just something that happens. It doesn’t mean that you are worth any less than others. Be kind and patient with anyone around you who is suffering.
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, just make sure to come back to yourself. Sit in the dark with some fairy lights or a candle, take deep breaths, listen to relaxing music, cry for a bit, whatever works for you.
Talk to people. I had a deep chat with one of my housemates last night about everything that’s been upsetting me lately, and I feel better for it. Return the favour to your friends when they need it to. We’re all here, away from our families, and we need to look after each other. I’ve always felt comfortable at university because of that. My friends here are like my family away from home. Laughing together and having fun is the greatest distraction from the amount of fear abound in the world.
The university also offers a number of wellbeing services if you feel like you need to reach out for more help. I’m not the best person to give advice about where to go since I’ve never used any of these services, but more information about where to go can be found here: https://warwick.ac.uk/students/supportservices/