Return to campus: how do you feel?
Updated: Jul 17, 2021
Regent’s has announced its intention to return to teaching on campus from September 2021. Does that make you feel thrilled...terrified…unsure? There is no right way to respond and it’s ok to feel uncertain or anxious. I can guarantee you won’t be the only one feeling like that.
We all had to get used to a new way of living in 2020 and it had a huge psychological impact. A survey by the National Union of Students (NUS) in November 2020 found that 52% of respondents described their current mental health and wellbeing as worse than before the pandemic.
Remember when lockdown began, and we missed our friends, family and freedom? The world went online then everyone got Zoom fatigue and it became kind of normal, with what originally felt like a prison almost becoming a comfort zone. You may worry that you’ve forgotten how to socialise, have worries about travelling, health or just prefer the less hectic pace of life. Your concerns are all valid but with the social aspects at least, maybe we're just out of practice and it may not be as difficult as we expect?
Regent’s is striving to keep the campus Covid free and you can find out more about how we’re doing that. We're also working with the NHS to ensure any students who wish to can be vaccinated. Come find out more at the Freshers' Fair on 23rd September between 12:30 - 3:30, or in Knapp Gallery between 10:00-13:00 on 7th October.
How to cope when returning to normal seems anything but?
·Acceptance. The first thing is to accept that it’s ok to feel this way, be kind to yourself and remember that many others will be feeling the same
·Self compassion. Increased self-compassion can give us the resilience we need to cope with stressful life events. Check how self-compassionate you are with this quiz and learn how to build resilience
Take it easy. It may take time to readjust so keep things simple, so you don’t become overwhelmed. Humans can often struggle with change and this is a big change, so don’t feel obliged to go from isolation straight back into your old routine. Build up slowly at your own pace until you feel comfortable
Learn positive coping tactics that you can use whenever you start to feel anxious. Breathing techniques are very effective and can be done anywhere…without anyone noticing. Try this one from Headspace or this Grounding Technique
Be prepared. Which situations or things are worrying you the most? Try writing these down. If you can, plan for these. What could you do to help you to cope?
Self care. These small steps won’t remove the cause of the anxiety but can help you to cope. Making sure you sleep well, reduce alcohol and caffeine are good places to start. If you have trouble sleeping, The Sleep Council and The Sleep Charity can help you understand and resolve the issue
What’s worked before? I’m sure you, like most people, have had difficult situations in the pre-pandemic days. How did you cope? Which techniques were helpful?
Talk to someone you trust. This can really help ease the pressure. You may find they have similar concerns and can offer support and understanding. If you’d rather, talk to a professional for confidential advice and remember Support & Welfare are here to help
Fact or fiction? Remember that your thoughts are simply electro-chemical impulses in your brain and are not facts. They can be very unhelpful and unkind. Try to reframe the thoughts to help you manage anxiety.
Digital detox. Knowledge is power but too much Social media can increase feelings of anxiety and depression. We may be trying to feel in control by watching every news update but because there's a lot of misinformation online together with humans' natural tendency to focus on negative information, it can leave us feeling more vulnerable.