The Wardley Wellbeing Hub is the central area for the ACTNow campaign.
Student stories: Communicating with friends and family to gain a new perspective
My name is Vishnupriya and I am a third year Mpharm student. Although I grew up in Kenya, I’m studying at the University of Nottingham. Moving across the globe and leaving behind family and friends to pursue university in England was what I thought would be the most challenging part of studying abroad… until the pandemic arrived!
I had been working on my four-week laboratory sessions in preparation for my dissertation when I started to receive an influx of emails advising me to return home before the international travel ban was announced. Following countless numbers of phone calls with airlines to get me a flight, I finally arrived back in Kenya but then had to self-isolate alone in my room for two weeks.
The current situation is everything but peaceful and when I first arrived home I spent the weeks worrying about how I could possibly cope with the uncertainties around me. At some point, I decided that it was in my best interest to embrace the situation.
Before the outbreak, deadlines, extra-curricular activities and even laundry made it challenging to keep in touch with friends and family. One lesson the current global health crisis has taught me is the importance of staying connected with loved ones.
In these times of uncertainty, communication has reduced my stress levels and permitted me to remain optimistic, which I would urge everyone to do. Communicating regularly with friends and family enabled me to gain a different perspective on my struggles. Whether it’s sitting at home and watching a series on tv, participating in online quizzes or impromptu video calls – my self-confidence has been boosted and I’ve facilitated an overall healthier mindset.
Although my experience during lockdown had a rocky start, it eventually found its course and now I can acknowledge that people have faced different struggles. Excessive stress, anxiety, depression and feeling low made this challenging time difficult to cope with, so my advice to get through times of uncertainty are:
- Connect with loved ones – take advantage of this unprecedented time when you can be even more so in the company of those who lift your spirits and make extra memories to treasure
- Set yourself a routine – waking up knowing that there is no urgency to be anywhere is difficult so setting a routine keeps you motivated and away from lethargy
- Exercise – setting aside 30 minutes every day to exercise keeps you physically fit, healthy and keeps your mind at ease
- Move beyond social media – use this time to minimise screen time and try something different like learning a new language, reading or maybe even updating a playlist
- Therapy sessions – if you’re finding these challenging times particularly stressful, there are various online counselling sessions that you could engage in to share your issues and overcome your struggles.
I started off with reading a book, catching up on shows that I had left mid- way, practising yoga and spending a lot of quality time with my family. I witnessed a shift in mentality from feeling trapped to being glad that I have finally been able to focus on myself, embrace my flaws and work on aspects that I wish to improve. If there is anything this pandemic has ‘gifted’ us – it is time. Time to do the things we have always enjoyed but never had time for, time to broaden our knowledge and plenty of time to introspect!