Well-being advice for pupils during the pandemic
During a time when the school structure is in flux and we’re absorbing the not-so-positive daily news, it’s important for pupils to maintain perspective and well-being. We recommend structure, exercise, gratitude and the occasional flex of the brain as essential tools to maintain a healthy mindset over the next few weeks.
Setting a structure for the days ahead can maintain both focus and motivation for students during this time. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean timetables. Instead, think about one or two tasks to complete each day - one in the morning, one in the afternoon - and tick these off each evening.
Try to avoid lockdown tedium by setting yourself a weekly study challenge. It could be that you keep to a learning schedule, and this might look different for everyone. Whether you’re reading books related to your schoolwork or you’re keeping on top of exercise questions and flashcards, stimulating your brain will prevent it dwelling on negative emotions.
Alongside studying, why not use this opportunity of extra-time to learn something new? You might not be able to get out to a dance class, there’s no reason you couldn’t learn breakdance or salsa from YouTube. Websites like Duolingo are perfect for language-learning, so try learning the basics of Spanish or Italian. Or how about honing your editing skills for all those video clips you have stored on your phone. Plus there’s always baking or developing a signature dish in the kitchen.
Home-workouts might sound uninspiring to begin with, but try out a few different YouTubers and you’ll soon fall into a routine you like. Popular ones include The Fitness Coach and Yoga with Adrianne, but don’t forget to prioritise a daily dose of fresh air. Connecting with nature has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety so make sure it’s on the list.
As well as daily exercise, eating healthily greatly affects our mood for the better. Try to have plenty of fresh veggies and fruit and keep processed foods to a minimum. If you fancy something sweet then why not bake home-made biscuits or indulge in a few squares of dark chocolate.
Being able to recognise when we are feeling low and allowing ourselves to acknowledge these emotions are valuable skills to acquire. Knowing that we are separate to our thoughts and that they are just passing through can help to maintain control in times of difficulty.
One of the most challenging aspects of isolation is not keeping up-to-date with friends and family. So get into community online! Meeting up for virtual fun, quizzes and laughs is a fantastic way of staying in touch, promoting social connection and inclusivity.
Lastly, one of the most helpful exercises for a positive mindset is perspective. Although we might be stuck at home, bickering between family members and with no grand trips planned, we do have access to supportive resources and the ability to keep our minds stretched and primed. Many people suffering this pandemic in other parts of the world aren’t so lucky. Studies show actively practising gratitude helps us to achieve contentment.
Recognising and acknowledging your feelings, accepting there will be not-so-great days, and looking after your body will all help you maintain well-being during lockdown.
Next week: Career aspiration disparity and how to solve it