Looking After Yourself in Lockdown

According to Dr Radha Modgil, it’s important to maintain a routine and tackle your tasks during lockdown. However, she also recognises the need for self-care. A pandemic is a new experience for us all, so we shouldn’t be hard on ourselves for not adapting well. Having a routine could help your mental health but being hard on yourself for not having one will be a detriment. Fixing your sleep schedule and building motivation can be a lengthy process, but there’s little things you can do to feel accomplished at the end of a day, which I’ll scratch the surface of in this blog.

Keeping Contact

I used to hate face-calling. However, since doing it to reconnect with University friends, I’ve actually enjoyed it. It’s great, not only because I feel better reconnecting with them, but also because it’ll make online classes a bit easier. If anxiety makes answering calls difficult, try checking up on people with a text. Knowing people care is a great feeling in lockdown.

Get Creative

I encourage people to get crafty in lockdown. I’m working on a canvas and it feels great that I’m doing something that feels productive when I’m not working. Look around your house! You’ll never know what supplies you may find. Failing that, you can’t go wrong with pencil and paper. I’ve even drawn some diagrams for my course while bored, which I will hopefully use for the next five years.

Treat Yourself

Your options may feel limited as so many businesses are shut down, but you can still treat yourself. I’ve loved making Dalgona coffee and I encourage the coffee-loving readers to try it (all you need is hot water, sugar, coffee, milk!) Look online for some recipes. My family and I have baked cookies. They’re quick to make but I feel better knowing I’m improving on some cooking/baking skills. It feels great knowing I have the skills to bake for bake sales now, rather than buying muffins from the supermarket and calling it a day.

Closing Words

These are just a few examples but there’s more to do. If you’re able to walk, walk! It’s proven to reduce anxiety and gives you a sense of achievement. Most importantly, give yourself a break. If all you managed to do was get out of bed, that’s great! Focus on the small victories. While work is important, your health is your priority.

Mini Mood Boosters

The world is in a time of real crisis and it has been a tough, confusing week in the UK. I have been sharing some mini mood boosters on my personal social media channels and in various WhatsApp conversations with friends in order to help us all through this. This weekend, it dawned on me that these would be perfect for overwhelmed students at exam/assignment submission time! Take the phrase ‘Exam Season’ out of each one and replace it with whatever tough, overwhelming situation you find yourself in.

Write an ‘Exam Season Bucket List’

It’s a tough and stressful time but you can still find some joy in it and ensure you stay organised. For example, you may now be sat down indoors a lot to study and read. Why not vow to take your skincare more seriously by doing regular face masks and forgoing makeup? Other things could be: creating a brilliant playlist, gathering some good reading on XYZ topic as you study, making a list of XYZ resources for future assignments, getting into the habit of drinking more water, finally mastering Harvard referencing…

Write an ‘I can’t wait to…’ list

I have done this since I did my A-Levels 7 years ago! You know the scene, you are sat revising or typing an essay and you notice it is a gorgeous day. Your mind fills with all of the things you would rather be doing. You think about how much you miss going out for cocktails or having lazy days on the grass with a picnic. How much you miss reading for pleasure and not for research. Write all of these things down! Having a list of things I am going to do when I come out of assignment season makes all of the difference to my motivation.

Find your Small Joys

Have a little collection of small things that bring you joy at these times. This could be photos, quotes and poems that inspire or motivate you or it could be websites or social media accounts that you can always go back to for a pick-me-up. For example, I love watching the 24 hour live streams that zoos like Chester, Edinburgh and Melbourne broadcast for free online. Instant mood boosts that are tailored to you!

Sam xo

Keeping Your Plates Spinning: Help @ Edge Hill University

During university, you will be spinning a number of different plates: studies, work, family, friends, money, to name a few. Now and again, one may look like it’s about to fall off. Or two. Maybe even three. You have to work harder to keep these plates from falling, but sometimes, no matter how hard you tried, it will fall off. What then? Do you risk the others from falling by trying to pick the other one up? Is it worth the risk of everything else falling?

In my first year, I managed to keep all my plates up. Some of them got a little shaky at times, but I have a great support system underneath me and they helped me to keep balanced. This year, a couple of my plates have fallen off. This is nobody’s fault. Sometimes life throws curveballs at us and they knock our plates off and we have no other choice but to deal with it. Although this year is harder than the last, I am more thankful than ever for choosing Edge Hill Univerity as they have provided me with more support than I could have wished for. Asking for help is really hard, but they made it so easy.

Edge Hill University has a vast range of support systems to help you.

The first person who helped me was one of my tutors, who had noticed that I needed someone. She sat with me for an hour and we talked basics of what was happening – she referred me to speak with a team member in the Catalyst. They spoke to me briefly and made an initial appointment with the wellbeing team, which was only a few days away. They gave me a few websites and apps to engage with for the time being. As a student, you are entitled to 6 fifty-minute counselling sessions, which can be daunting if you have never experienced it before – but they make the whole process very easy.

With the help of Edge Hill, I have managed to stay on top of my work, visit my family more and learned that it’s okay to let some plates slip. My tutor sends me weekly emails to check how things are and if I need anything. I know if things get too much, I can speak to someone almost immediately. It is incredibly comforting knowing that I am supported by the university.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment box below. Thank you for reading.

Amy

The Beautiful Campus

Hey everyone, I hope you’re doing well.

One of the things that I love about being a student at Edge Hill is how beautiful the campus is. This was especially something I counted as an advantage to this specific University last year whilst living on campus, and something I also count as an advantage heading into my first clump of assessments for this year, because if I ever felt or feel stressed, down or just wanted a walk, there’s nowhere better than the Edge Hill Campus!

As I live in Ormskirk town this year, the campus isn’t as close as it was when I was living in Back Halls last year, but I still sometimes like to just come and walk around the campus if I just need a breath of fresh air and maybe some time to think about coursework or stress. Last year, there were a couple of times when it started to get darker in Winter that I went to the little beach there is on campus nearby one of the ponds and built a sandcastle, or went up to the outdoor gym equipment on the way up towards Ruff Woods and just sat and looked at the University in it’s beauty at night, with the lights on and the atmosphere calmer than during the lecture-filled day.

The campus has two ponds, which are where you’ll find our lovely ducks! Sometimes they take wanders around the campus which is super cute to see! There are also 3 cats who like to stick around campus, and they’re the friendliest cats you could meet. If you’re like me, it’s always nice to stroke one of the cats if you spot them on campus, and it helps with stress a lot! And, back to the ponds, there is a bridge near one of the ponds that gets lit up at night, and is absolutely beautiful to look at!

The campus is definitely one of the best things about the University. If you happen to come to one of the Open Days then you’ll see this for yourself (click here for more info on the open days!). When I came to my audition and went on a campus tour, I fell in love with the campus, and I knew that I’d feel happy living and being here. It was one of the biggest selling points for me really! So I’d definitely recommend you came and checked it out for yourself. If not, you can follow the University’s Instagram to see all the pictures of the campus they post!

Looking After Yourself at Uni

University tends to be where most people learn to become independent and start fending for themselves. However, this can be a shock to the system for some people and prove to be incredibly difficult. It is very important to keep yourself healthy and happy, especially at university as poor health can affect your participation and performance, so I’ve compiled a few tips that will hopefully help you look after yourself.

Register with a GP

Whether you are a relatively healthy person or have an on-going illness, it is important to register with a local GP when you start uni. This way you don’t have to keep going home whenever something happens and you can have all your prescriptions where they need to be. Information about registering with Edge Hill’s local surgery – Beacon Primary Care – can be found here. The health and wellbeing centre also offer a lot of health support, including mental and sexual health, this information can also be found on the health section of the Edge Hill website.

Seek emotional support when needed

Following on from the health side of things, it is also important to seek emotional support when you need it. University can be very stressful at times and being away from home doesn’t always help. Always make sure you have someone to talk to whether that’s a friend, family member or a counselling program. Edge Hill also offer a range of workshops, relaxation sessions, support group and one-to-one counselling if you’re struggling with personal problems, or any aspect of uni life. Further information can be found here.

Cook proper meals

Moving to uni means that you will have to cook for yourself. Come on, we all know take aways are not a sustainable way to live, as yummy as they are. If you’re nervous about what to cook why not get together with your friends and take it in turns to cook for each other? I did this with a friend throughout first year and I picked up so many new recipes that have now become the things I eat on a regular basis. It’s important to keep a balanced diet for physical health, as well as concentration reasons, Rhiannon Thomas has recently written a great blog post on this subject and I urge you to check it out. 

Keep things clean

Cleaning is, unfortunately another essential part of looking after yourself. Keeping your room tidy and dust-free can have so many health benefits from reducing allergic reactions to making you feel cleaner and happier. Leaving your bathroom to stew in its own filth for a month is not only disgusting but detrimental to your health. I recommend putting aside a couple of hours a week to do a full clean of the areas of your flat you’re responsible for, it won’t take all day and it will leave you feeling happier and more productive.

Until next time! 🙂

How to Adult- Part 2!

Hi guys! Hope you’ve had a great start to May and a great start to a new week.

I recently made a post about some of the things that are important once you come to Uni and become a more independent young adult (click here to see that post). There was a lot I could talk about, so I couldn’t fit it in one post, but here’s another post where I’ll focus on such things! I’ve chosen to discuss more personal issues you might come across at Uni in this post, but there will be further posts on this topic in the coming weeks!

Homesickness

Sadly this can happen at any moment at Uni, and was especially prominent in Freshers’ Week for me. I have never been away from my home and family (including my dogs and cats!) for more than a week, so upon moving in to my accommodation and spending more than a week living independently I got quite homesick. I still occasionally have times when I get homesick even now, 8 months on, but this is totally natural, especially if you have a close-knit family.

Although it’s not the most pleasant of feelings, there are many things you can do to combat homesickness:

  • Lean on your friends: once you’ve made friends with your flatmates, coursemates or anyone you meet in September (read my tips on making friends here), talk to them! If you’re feeling homesick, they probably know the same feeling. After all, you’re all in the same boat. They can hang out with you and help cheer you up. So don’t be afraid to say when you’re a little down about missing home! Strength comes in numbers.
  • Skype/phone your family: of course, when you’re homesick you’d rather have your family with you in person, but hearing their voices or seeing them really helps. You could make this a regular thing, maybe phone your parents every weekend or two if that helps you.
  • Speak to the support team at the Uni: the University has a great support system for students who are feeling homesick. The Health and Wellbeing team (click here to see their webpage) are located on campus and are there for any issues surrounding your wellbeing, so if you’re feeling especially bad, talking to them might help you. They might give you more tips on how you can feel less homesick too. If it gets really bad, there is also a counselling service which operates both on a requested appointment and drop-in basis (click here to see a webpage on the Milton House councilling team).

Dealing with living in Shared Accommodation

Although many Graduates talk about how living in University Halls was an experience they wouldn’t have wanted to miss, living in shared accommodation has it’s highs and lows. Firstly, it’s unlikely you’ll be in accommodation with someone you already know. On the one hand this is great, I’ve made some friends for life despite worrying about making any friends at all. However, on some occasions there are going to be people that you don’t click with as well. My biggest tip for situations with people in your accommodation that are maybe causing issues is to just keep your space from them. Of course, you’re living in the same building, but if you just keep to yourself and say hello when they’re in the communal areas with you and be polite you should both be able to come to a happy place within the accommodation. If this isn’t working, or if you are having further issues, maybe speak to them in person and discuss what it is that isn’t going right between you. As long as you stay polite and considerate of their situation then you shouldn’t have any major issues with the people in your flat.

Any other issues, more of the serious kind, within your accommodation can be solved by firstly speaking to your Student Assistant. Each type of accommodation has a Student Assistant, a 2nd or 3rd year student that works in co-ordination with the University support staff to ensure that any issues are dealt with appropriately and swiftly. SA’s are brilliant when you’re having issues within your flat, as they are in a similar position to you and can sometimes speak to you on maybe a more personal level than a member of staff, as they are someone you are living with/near too. If your issue is not resolved by your SA, you can speak to the Campus Life staff, who will usually take a more formal approach to solving the issue but are there for more serious issues if you need them. So there’s the support system there if you do come across any issues!

Victoria Loftus recently posted a great blog on Shared Accommodation which you can read here:

Sharing Accommodation

 

I hope you all find this information helpful! These are only 2 of the topics I could speak about, but I will be posting more on independent life in the coming weeks so keep your eye out! Hope you have a wonderful afternoon 🙂

Support at Edge Hill

I’ve found that the support available at Edge Hill has been incredibly useful, particularly in my second year. Last year, I didn’t find myself homesick at all; I enjoyed my newfound freedom and university was was a whole new experience. My second year is when I found myself missing home more often; I was with completely new people in a house and the stresses of the course were just… different.

Yet I wasn’t alone.

Edge Hill has a whole host of support networks to help you out when you’re feeling down.

First and foremost is your personal tutor. This is someone who oversees both your academic and personal progress, and can help you out with any worries you may be having. My personal tutor and head of year have both been absolutely fabulous this year in help me work through my stress, including granting extensions when necessary, and helping me prioritise the work that needs to be done, over work that can wait a little longer until I’m of better health – both physical and mental.

Secondly, there is the team in the Student Information Centre who can help you with Health and Wellbeing in general. They’re based on campus, and are there for you to talk to and give you advice on where to go to next, based upon your worries. For example, if it’s money troubles you’re having, there’s someone you can speak to about that. If you’re falling behind in work because you’re ill, there’s someone you can speak to. They’re sort of a first port of call for advice.

Another great source of support are the student workshops which Edge Hill offer both on campus and over at Milton House. These range from advice on dating, to overcoming homesickness, to avoiding procrastination. Check out the link for the full range of workshops Edge Hill offers.

Finally for this list, there is counselling at Milton House, which is just behind campus on Ruff Lane. Appointments here tend to last between 6-8 sessions, unless the counsellor believes there is a need for further sessions. These can be really useful if there is a further issue that needs to be addressed, and usually you’ll be able to see someone within a week of contacting them, unlike if you go to your GP surgery.

This isn’t by any means an exhaustive list, but hopefully it highlights to you just how much support there is available here at Edge Hill and make you feel a little more comfortable about your choice to come here.

Coping With University Stress

Although I have found university to be a freeing and joyous experience overall, it can be a tad stressful from time to time. When you first experience stress at university varies (if you even experience it at all), it may come shortly after moving into halls; halfway through the first semester; or perhaps during one of your exam periods. Luckily, it’s not the end of the world. It’s very common to have some form of worry whether it be because of your course, the new environment, or new people, and Edge Hill University is equipped to deal with this scenario.

Student Services have a branch dedicated to the wellbeing of students: Counselling and Wellbeing Services. They offer free sessions and workshops on relaxation and stress management, as well as support groups for things such as bereavement or loss. Their dedicated page to relaxation can be found here.

There are also personal things that you can try to reduce your stress levels during times of worry. Here are my main three that help me keep calm in moments of panic:

Blogging

Specifically two forms – active and passive. My active blogging is similar to what I’m doing as I type this, and the result is similar to what you’re reading here right now. Simply writing down all the thoughts in your head – a brain dump – can alleviate a lot of stress, whether it’s posted on a public blog like this, or a private one more akin to a diary. Instead of having things constantly occupying your mind for attention, you can separate yourself from any troubles and take a fresh look at the world (and hopefully see it isn’t as bad as you thought).

What I mean by passive blogging on the hand (if you can even really call it that), is using sites like Tumblr. Whenever I scroll down my dashboard on a typical day, anything soothing, cute, reassuring or funny gets tagged by me, and sorted into categories on my blog. Then, whenever I’m having a rough day, I can scroll through all these lovely posts – be it pictures of cats, funny test posts, or calming art.

Meditation

Something else that helped me a lot though my years of sixth form, was meditation. Admittedly, I’ve fallen out of practise in recent times, but it’s worth mentioning – since it even helped with my anxiety at the time as well. I personally used an app called Headspace, which has an unlimited free trial but also a paid subscription for more directed sessions. Headspace essentially is like a podcast, in that you listen to it from your phone or computer and are spoken to (if you’ve ever listened to Welcome To Night Vale, think of Cecil’s soothing tone). They also run a Get Some / Give Some scheme, which is a lovely way of giving back and supporting those who have gone through a whole manner of hardships.

There are of course other permanent, free, meditation aids. Two more that I myself have not tried, but have downloaded at some point or another are, Calm and Stop, Breathe & Think.

Friends

Of course, there’s nothing like having friends to fall back on in times of stress. A close few who you can rely on to back you up when you’re feeling down are always nice. Plus, if the tables turn and they’re the ones who are stressed, there’s not much better than being able to make someone feel calm again.