We’ve all been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in many ways. For me, it was in my first year at the University of Salford. Nobody really knew what was going on except there was a new illness spreading, and the whole world went into lockdown. All university work was cancelled for the rest of the year – great right?
After the studies were cancelled for most of first year, second year felt even more difficult trying to get back into the swing on things. The pandemic was still pretty serious when our second year came so everything was only being taught to us virtually through Zoom, Teams and Blackboard.
There where so many aspects to this that I found so difficult. The first being the work load. I had support from the University – but there is only so much support we can get virtually, it’s not the same as being there in person. The extra pressure of having to complete work to a certain deadline without as much knowledge on the subjects (as we would have got in person) made this more challenging again.
Not only was the workload a lot to handle during the pandemic, but the feelings of loneliness rose dramatically. I decided to stay at home during the duration of my second year, which meant I couldn’t see all of my friends at university very often at all. This made things increasingly hard on my mental wellbeing as I felt isolated and left out of the social side of being at university.
At the end of my second year, I decided for my third and final year of university, I was going to move back to Salford and finish my studies surrounded by my friends. Though the pandemic is still ongoing, being back in Salford is the happiest I have ever been. My lectures this year, have all been back in person, but now the Omicron variant threatens this again.
As the future of the pandemic is unknown, I decided to ensure I can take action to make sure my mental health is my first priority during the future of this pandemic. I have been through my own mental health battle with anxiety and low mood, the pandemic has had a huge affect on the way I was feeling but I found ways to combat and improve it for the better. I did a variety of things over the last few lockdowns that have helped my mental health hugely that I will share with you all.
Getting fresh air everyday was vital
The daily walks we could go on at the start of the pandemic was what helped me most, walking my dog everyday for at least 30 minutes with my mum and sister was something I looked forward to. Exercise and fresh air is vital for your mental and physical health, it clears your head and helps you feel more positive.
Finding new hobbies
Over lockdown, we all had so much free time on our hands. I discovered Yoga over lockdown, and I still do it to this day (almost 2 years on). It has changed my life, it allows me to find inner peace and just like walking, gets me to clear my mind. A lot of my friends found some new hobbies over lockdown including: working out more, painting or drawing, and baking. Something that can pass the time that you enjoy is vital for your mental health to thrive.
Now this might be a cliché one, but before the pandemic hit, my diet was awful. I was eating endless junk food, noodles, and microwave meals (student life). I decided to do something about it when we hit lockdown 1, I started trying new foods and got a new found love for avocados. It changed my physical health hugely but also mentally I was feeling better for eating better and looking after myself!
Skincare and Selfcare!
Probably fits in well with the eating healthy one, but my skin before the pandemic was awful. I had bad spots and oily skin. I never put my mental health first once – big mistake. With the free time we had on our hands, I decided to start watching lots of YouTube videos on skincare and what would help my skin. I discovered some amazing products (Garnier Micellar Water for Oily Skin was a game changer). This made me feel more confident in myself as I conquered my problematic skin, overall making me feel better in myself.
Keeping in touch with people
Though we were all dying to see our friends, family and loved ones, the closest we could come was facetiming them. Its vital to keep in touch with everyone, check up on each other and arrange fun activities to do on Zoom calls. Me and my friends used to call once a week, sometimes we would just have a chat about how we felt and other times we had a themed facetime call where we would dress up, do quizzes, and play games together. This was massively beneficial to all of our mental health, though we couldn’t see each other, it was nice to make an effort and was something to look forward to each week.
Our mental health is so important and should be our first priority, through the pandemic and forever.
My name is Katie Morgan, and I am studying in my third and final year at the University of Salford, Broadcast Journalism. I am originally from Liverpool, but I am living in Salford for uni. I enjoy yoga, music, spending time with my family, friends, and my dog – Maisie.
If anyone has any questions, advice or wants to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
My LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katie-morgan-661116221/
My Website: https://katiemorgannxx.wixsite.com/my-site
Note: 'Student Blog' articles highlight the student perspective on issues relating to ProtectED. Consequently, this article reflects the views of the author and not ProtectED.