The COVID-19 situation has rapidly developed over the last three weeks and we understand how stressful this can be for many of you with your schools, colleges and universities now closed. What’s likely to be most concerning for you is that exams have been cancelled, postponed or moved online. We want to take a minute to let you know that there is lots of help out there to keep your mind and wellbeing healthy during this tricky time. Hopefully you’ll find these resources helpful amongst the waves of news updates coming through your phones and on social media….
Support & keeping up to date
For those in school and college who have been preparing for GCSE’s and A-Levels the government have stated that predicted grades made by teachers will determine what grade you receive. For some of you, this may create comfort but for others uncertainty.
We want to support you as much as possible and we recommend that you check out this thread on The Student Room where you can discuss your concerns with other students and advisors, as well as stay informed on updates to your education. If you are applying to a university we’d also suggest you read up on this page. For those in apprenticeships, you can stay updated on the Governments response to COVID-19 and apprenticeship programmes here.
Minding your Health and Wellbeing
Understanding and accepting that the situation is out of your control is important, so that you don’t create additional stress for yourself at home. We’re certainly not the mental health or wellbeing professionals but we’ve found some advice that we think could be of help.
Mind is a leading charity for mental health in the UK and they have covered a range of topics that will be helpful for looking after yourself. Especially if you are anxious or worried about coronavirus or even self-isolating due to you or someone in your household showing symptoms. Here are some of their top tips:
Eat well and stay hydrated: With most restaurants closed and the Government telling people to stay home unless you are getting groceries, it’s even more important to make sure you are eating properly throughout the day. You might be able to order groceries online through Amazon or Tesco which means you don’t have to leave your house to stay stocked up. Eating often ensures your blood sugar doesn’t drop as well as improving your mood and energy levels which you’ll need to get you through the day. Your mental and physical health will also be impacted by being dehydrated so keep drinking water as frequently as you can, we want you to stay fresh!
Take care of your immediate environment:
The cleaner your environment, the clearer your mind. With more people at home, it’s going to be more important to make the best use of the space available. This could mean some extra tidying. Cleaning up will also prevent the spread of germs, probably the most important reason to do this
Check out more tips from Mind here.
Young Minds is a mental health charity designed to support young people. They have also given their own advice to help you stay mentally healthy right now. They talk a lot about social media which is a big part of your day to day life – if not the first and last thing you check in your day. The problem with social media is that the top trends are all related to #COVID-19 or #Coronavirus and it’s fine to stay informed but you don’t want to ‘overexpose yourself to the news’. Young Minds suggest taking a break, muting words or unfollowing accounts that are sharing too much content that is worrying you.
Young Minds have also listed coping mechanisms which can help you to keep calm during self-isolation.
- Find something to look forward to
- Find a way to get the worries out
- Share your struggles with people you trust
- Stop and focus on breathing
They also gave some tips on how to deal with self-isolation. One key aspect of that would be staying in contact with people and using apps such as Facetime, Zoom or WhatsApp to video talk to people that you trust about how you’re feeling during this time. Another important part of life that they highlight is keeping a routine by waking up and sleeping at the same time each day and filling your days with meals, breaks and activities.
Now if you’re wondering what activities you can do during your free time The Mix has got you covered. Our top three picks from their list are:
- Learn a Tik Tok Dance (check out the video below)
- Learn a language with Duo Lingo
- Watching the list of Netflix recommendations.
If you hadn’t heard of The Mix, they offer online support for under 25’s, from Group Chats, helplines, 1-2-1 chat’s and a special Crisis Messenger (delivered in partnership with Crisis Text Line and Shout) which is available to contact 24/7 for free. We recommend you check them out and look into other services available on their site here.
Staying Motivated, Maintaining and Boosting your Productivity
Changing the environment that you’re working in whilst being under difficult circumstances can lead to a decline in not just your productivity, but also your motivation. You’ll probably have coursework to be doing or you’ll be doing remote work with your colleagues, and you may be struggling to focus. Fortunately, there are lots of resources out there that you can dive into if you want to get better at working from home.
On BT’s Skills for Tomorrow page they highlight a LinkedIn course for improving your productivity. Here’s one of the lessons that we think would be most helpful at the moment.
Time Management. When working from home you’re presented with lots of distractions, your TV, social media, family and more. You’ll have certain pieces of work that you’ll want to finish and although multi-tasking is an option, it will mean that you finish everything later and it will probably disrupt that you’ve been trying to maintain. This short course from LinkedIn will cover
- How to create a productive environment by limiting distractions.
- Being able to evaluate and choose the best technology to increase your productivity.
- Differentiating between constant effort and a healthy working rhythm.
- How to Define expectations around communication while remaining responsive.
- Identifying the benefits of relationship building.
- Learning how to manage interruptions and emergencies at home.
The Mix also has their own tips for managing your time and motivating yourself to study. Including:
- Identifying what your goal is
- Writing stuff down
- Making a five-step plan to getting a task done
- How to curb procrastination.
Procrastination can be one of the most frustrating aspects of our lives and they suggest that you give yourself a deadline using the five-step plan. If possible you’ll want to create a schedule that fits around your five-step plan and into your daily routine, as this will help keep you on track to finishing each task. If your phone is your biggest distractor then you can put it on flight mode or do not disturb. Lastly, make sure you reward yourself for completing tasks it will give you the motivation to complete the next one!
Follow Government Advice
We know this is troubling for everyone right now but we’d just like to remind you to follow government advice on staying home unless necessary to get food, to stay 2 metres apart from other people and to wash your hands once you get home. Read more from the government on COVID here and make sure you stay safe, calm and smart about your future. Don’t forget we have other resources on our Go Far page.
We know events have been cancelled and postponed to help slow and stop the spread of this virus and we’ll update you on social media when we have an announcement to make about our next Apprentice Nation programme.