10 ways to protect students’ mental health
10 ways to protect students’ mental health

Here at WJEC, we understand that this a particularly stressful time for all of us. Following the announcement made by the government that the summer examinations are now cancelled, our teams are working extremely hard with the regulators, other awarding bodies and the government to ensure that our learners are awarded fairly for all their hard work. 

 

Whilst our team is busy finalising these arrangements, which will be circulated in due course, we spoke with our Psychology Subject Officer, Rachel Dodge, about how students can protect their own mental health, support their friends and family during this time of uncertainty.

 

  1. Take a break

Whilst it is tempting to be constantly reading or watching the news either via the television, radio or social media, this can cause you additional stress. Take regular breaks, try other activities that will distract you, this could range from reading a book, to following an online tutorial on a different subject, such as mindfulness.

 

  1. Stay connected

Given the seriousness of coronavirus, it is extremely important that we all adhere to the rules of social distancing. However, social media and various other forms of digital communication can ensure that we remain in contact with our friends and family, regardless of location. Free apps such as 'Houseparty' are keeping us all connected, in new and innovative ways.

 

  1. Get into a routine

In this time, we are surrounded by uncertainty, so it's definitely worth introducing a routine to ground us, and help maintain a sense of normality. Set your alarm, plan your meals, consider making a timetable of activities, these will give you goals and a structure.

 

  1. Maintain a healthy body 

We are all guilty of turning to unhealthy snacks during stressful times, however, it's best to limit these snacks and maintain a healthy and balanced diet. The government still states that we can exercise outside, whilst adhering to social distancing, alternatively, there are great online tutorials for you to complete exercise within your house. You could also take this time as an opportunity to try new types of exercise, such as Yoga, which doesn't require any specialist equipment.

 

  1. Don't neglect your sleep

It is tempting to neglect or have too much sleep during this time, but it's best to stick to at least 7 hours a night - this will support your cognitive functioning, and can form part of your daily routine.

 

  1. Focus on control

Given the rate of change happening at the moment, we may feel that we have no control. In this case, it's best to focus on what we can control, from our routine to our choice of reading materials, keep in mind that you still have control.

 

  1. Learn something new

Why not take this time as an opportunity to learn something new? This could be studying a new topic or trying a new form of exercise. For example, the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) offer a wealth of free online courses.  Why not explore one of your current interests, or try something completely different?

 

  1. Take time to unwind

Always make time to relax with activities you enjoy, this could be reading a book, watching a boxset or playing a video game. Or, try something with those you are self-isolating with e.g. baking together; it will provide you with a healthy distraction.

 

  1. It’s good to talk

It is important that you connect with others, either in your household, or with others virtually - never feel like you are alone. Let people know how you feel, it's best to share, as you will feel better sharing your concerns. It may sound like a cliche, but a problem shared, is a problem halved.

 

  1. Help others

Despite the social isolation, we can still think of ways to help others, this could be something as small as a phone call to making a playlist for your friends - there are always ways to help.

 

Do you have any ideas on how you are maintaining your mental health during this time? Feel free to share this with us via our social media channels.

 

Helpful websites:

In addition to the advice by Rachel, here is a list of useful website that you may find useful: 

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/

https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/what-to-do-if-you-re-anxious-about-coronavirus/

https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/how-teenagers-can-protect-their-mental-health-during-coronavirus-covid-19

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/coronavirus-anxiety.htm

https://www.meiccymru.org

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/coronavirus-anxiety

https://www.drugwatch.com/health/students/

https://www.drugwatch.com/health/mental-health/how-to-deal-with-anxiety/

https://www.uwslondon.ac.uk/complete-guide-to-stress-management-and-time-management-for-students/

Arrangement for awarding - summer 2020
Arrangement for awarding - summer 2020
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Awarding of WJEC AS and Year 10 GCSE specifications in Wales
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