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Student Wellbeing in Lockdown – Niamh’s Story

Living in lockdown does take a toll on your well-being, and like many people I sometimes feel overwhelmed. I think the first thing to remember is that it’s completely normal to feel like that in these strange times. Other people are also feeling the same, something that became apparent to me when I attended the Bath Mind workshop.

I am a second-year student at the University of Bath, and like everyone else in the UK, is currently ‘stuck’ in a lockdown. I recently attended a one-off session, Wellbeing Essentials, by Bath Mind and wanted to share some of the tips that have helped me overcome some of the challenges in this lockdown.

One of my biggest challenges that I have faced during this time is missing family and friends. I am very fortunate to be living in student accommodation in Bath with housemates, who are some of my best friends. However, this is different to the first lockdown when I was living at home with my family. This lockdown means that I miss my family and other friends from home a lot.

Attending the Wellbeing Essentials workshop by Bath Mind made me realise I needed to continue and make more effort to ‘connect’ with people I don’t live with. For me, it’s always been harder to connect over the phone or over text and I was allowing this to stop me from chatting with the people I cared about. I have since tried to integrate facetiming my family more, organising TV and film nights with my sister and other friends. One of the things I love about facetiming my family is when they’re all eating, it feels like I’m at the dinner table with them. I think it’s so important to keep connecting and keep talking and having moments where you’re laughing with your friends on facetime can really make you feel loved.

Niamh attended a two hour Wellbeing Essentials workshop with Bath Mind

Another challenge of being a university student in lockdown is the feeling that “you’re missing out on experiences”. A lot of university life is focussed on the experiences you get from forming new friendships and meeting a variety of people. During these COVID times, it can be upsetting to think about the “expected experiences” that you feel you are missing out on, so I tend to focus on creating some different but still unforgettable memories. I believe as a student house, we have adapted very well to keeping safe and having fun, for example we often have games nights; we have a vast collection of games from Jackbox to board games like Cluedo. We are all very competitive so our games nights can involve a lot of shouting and laughing even when we’re working together to complete an escape room.

We also love to watch TV shows and movies together, some of my favourite nights are where we have watched mind-boggling movies and we’re all discussing theories afterwards. On my ‘lockdown’ birthday, my housemates organised a treasure hunt across two whole days and a ‘party’ for our household where I spent most of the time in shock about when they had actually planned it. All of this made me realise how fortunate I am to have such amazing housemates and I am thankful for the experiences I have been able to have during lock down. Whilst they may be different to what I had planned, I am grateful to have these nights that feel different, when the routine of every day feels the same. 

Living in lockdown does take a toll on your well-being, and like many people I sometimes feel overwhelmed. I think the first thing to remember is that it’s completely normal to feel like that in these strange times. Other people are also feeling the same, something that became apparent to me when I attended the Bath Mind workshop. The workshop showed the importance of taking notice, and this resonated with me in terms of taking notice of how I am feeling. If I am feeling overwhelmed, I try to bring the focus back to one day at a time by going out on a walk, making a to-do list for the day, and taking part in on-line exercise classes.

I also try to be kind to myself and for me, this consists of chatting with my best friend who I am lucky enough to live with, having a bath and watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race. These simple things help me to slow down, take notice of how I am feeling and what is happening in the present. Being kind to yourself is the beginning of helping your own wellbeing and that was the one take-home message from the workshop.

The Wellbeing Essential Workshop was a quick 2-hour long session where we explored a lot of important wellbeing tips both for yourself and for supporting others. I really enjoyed that it was a small interactive group as I felt like I took more from the session and contributed more in discussions. I would recommend this course to anyone – lockdown is undeniably challenging in a lot of different ways and finding out how to look after yourself mentally can be so helpful and important at this time!

A huge thank you to Niamh for your honesty in sharing your experience of looking after your mental health during lockdown, and how our mental health workshops helped. University of Bath students can sign up to a session here.

Posted on: 23rd February 2021

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