Illustration by Hannah Robinson
You probably feel the same way. Uncertain about the future, anxious about your health and gutted about having to abandon any sense of normality. The outbreak of Covid-19 is unlike anything many of us have had to face before and it has come at a time when the stress of the final weeks of university just starting to creep in. Over the past week, I have consistently woken up in a state of unease. Take me back to two, even three weeks ago and my prospects looked very different. I had made preparations for graduation, was looking forward to a summer of travelling and was gearing up to say a long goodbye to the city which has been my home for the last four years.
Indeed, everyone is in the same boat. No matter how small or large the impact of this situation is on you, is it is still valid to feel a sense of dread at the prospect of an uncertain future or weeks of self-isolation. If, like me, you are finding this an especially challenging time, here are a few tips to help you get through it. While I do not profess to be an expert, some of these small actions may make a big difference.
First, try not to look at the news too much. I have definitely fallen into this trap. I wake up to the Today programme, I am often on Twitter and podcasts make up a massive part of my daily routine. Since being pulled down the rabbit hole of over-thinking as a result of the constant barrage of negative information, I have made the decision to delete Twitter from my phone. My alarm has been turned off from Radio Four and I will only listen to podcasts that are not related to Covid-19.
That being said, it is still important to stay informed. So, rather than allowing myself a constant trickle of bad news, I give myself a ten-minute window each day to get the latest updates. That way, the issue – while still in the back of my mind – is not something I am reminded of every waking second.
Second, stay in touch with friends. Now, this is where social media really demonstrates its virtues. Support each other over WhatsApp, send memes on messenger and of course, indulge in the wonders of FaceTime. Checking-in with one another is vital at a time when the words ‘isolation’ and ‘lock-down’ are on everyone’s lips. Even if it is just a quick phone call or message, engaging in our support networks should be a top priority.
Third, take this time to get around to doing something you’ve always wanted to. For me, the prospect of a long period of time at home has many avenues for opportunity. There are so many books on my bookshelf waiting to be read, yoga positions to be practised and new recipes to try out. Once we have made it through our university exams, the world of self-isolation will be our oyster.
Finally, try and maintain a sense of routine. Now, this does not have to be rigorous. But assimilating some sort of normality into life in isolation will allow you to feel more settled. This is a situation in itself that is inherently abnormal but by giving yourself time each day to fall into a pattern of action might make it a little bit easier to manage. This is not the way I hoped to spend the final few weeks of my degree. But I am trying to look at it this way: perhaps if I have to self-isolate, the great British novel may be written.