Maintaining mental health and motivation during lockdown

Maintaining mental health and motivation during lockdown

We are living in unprecedented times and the global COVID-19 pandemic is affecting us all in a multitude of ways. One of the concerns associated with a long quarantine period is how it affects mental health. Italy, home to one of the longest enforced lockdowns, has seen a significant toll on its population’s mental health. Staff at the Red Cross have stated that they are “overwhelmed by calls from people struggling”. Given that the UK seems to be following Italy’s timeline, it is likely that similar experiences will occur in here. 

As a BPTC law student whose exams have been postponed until late summer, I have found myself in a unique position this year. Instead of preparing for exams, I now have several months before my final assessments with no guarantee that they will go ahead as planned. Here I am sharing my tips on the best ways to help you stay positive, healthy and motivated during this challenging time. 

Exercise

It is well-known that exercise helps to maintain both your mental and physical wellbeing; relieving tension and stress through the release of endorphins. Don’t feel you have to limit yourself to the more traditional forms of exercise though. Personally, I find it difficult to motivate myself to run. Why not try something a bit different like rollerblading, jump roping, playing hop scotch or just dancing in your room? There is no one ‘correct’ form of exercise, and as Joe Wicks has shown us, you don’t even need to leave the house to do it either! 

Keep motivated

I struggle most when I have no goal or purpose. When you are in education, it is easy to know what your goal might be – gaining a first in your course modules, for example. When there isn’t much to do at university, however, you might be left feeling goalless. So, set your own goals! This will keep you preoccupied during the day and will help you to avoid just sitting in front of the TV. Sit down and write a list of things that you would like to achieve. Your goals could include:

  • Knitting a scarf
  • Running a difficult distance
  • Baking a soufflé
  • Learning a new language 

Stay connected

It may seem lonely in lockdown, but it doesn’t have to be! Thankfully, we have technology to help us stay in touch and connect with people, so that you never have to feel alone. Why not try using apps such as:

  • Zoom (you can even split screen, so that you can play your video game, and show your friends) 
  • House party (this has access to games)
  • Skype 
  • FaceTime 

Whilst you are connecting with people, you can do online quizzes, play articulate, and even online bingo! It is quite mentally stimulating to create a quiz in itself – and fun! I made a “name-the-place” quiz asking people to guess which geographical locations the emojis represent. 

This quiz was especially fun because I was able to simply upload the next question as and when I wanted on Instagram and my followers had to reply to the upload with their guess! (You can find the answers at the end of this article.)

Suffering from too much screen time? 

While it is great that we have access to technology which enables us to stay connected and keep us entertained, it is also easy to get into bad habits. It is very easy to spend too much time in front of a TV screen, watching TV, playing video games or even just scrolling through your phone. However, a piece of advice that I found helpful is to detox: set yourself a goal of no screen time once a day and try to do something else instead. You can set yourself up with a “rewards-scheme” where if you do one hour of work, you are rewarded with 15 minutes of screen time either immediately, or at the end of the day. 

It is important to stay healthy and look after your mental wellbeing during this period. Hopefully these tips will help to keep you motivated to complete your own goals!

The answers to my quiz are: 1) Antarctica, 2) America, 3) Spain, 4) Peru. Did you get them all?

 

If you do feel like you need to speak to someone, contact the Samaritans by calling their confidential 24-hour helpline on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org.

 



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About the author:
Sarah is a LexisNexis Student Associate currently studying the BPTC at City, University of London.