Congratulations to the graduates of 2020! You all worked really hard in some of the most uncertain times in modern history (which is an accomplishment in itself) and you should all be very proud.
Some of you may be thinking about future steps and we all know that at the best of times graduating and looking for a job can be a really stressful and ambiguous time. Post-graduation uncertainty has always had an impact on new graduates, but adding in an ongoing global pandemic that puts many people’s health at risk, prevents you from properly finishing your degree and throws whole careers into uncertainty and the impact it can have on your wellbeing gets infinitely bigger. Everyone at KCLSU wants to do what we can to support you through this turbulent time, so we’ve put together a short list of some tips you can use to look after your wellbeing and manage stress.
Get Some Space
After studying and working late nights and tight deadlines, it can be difficult to switch off. It is important to remember to give yourself a break when things are getting overwhelming. Tasks like completing job applications can take a lot of mental energy and, unless the deadline is imminent, taking 15 minutes to recharge is going to help you reset and come back with a fresh approach. Step away from the screen and do something you enjoy to help your brain and body rest. It is easy to book yourself back-to-back when you’re working online but you can be your most productive self when you have taken a break.
Creative hobbies are a great way to take your mind off something that’s bothering you. Tasks like drawing, painting and even baking are all great ways to shift your focus away from any stress (and in the case of baking end up with a tasty snack at the end of it!). Learning to do something new creatively or even doing a course in a subject you are interested in is a great way to gain a sense of achievement and discover a passion you may not have realized you had.
Get Back to Nature
Spending time outdoors is a great way to get away from screens and emails for a while and has been shown to help improve your mood and reduce stress and anger. Have your lunch in your garden, go for walk in the park (following local social distancing guidelines), spend some time hanging out with a pet or, if there isn’t a park nearby, buy some houseplants and bring some nature into your house for a wellbeing boost.
Post university it’s easy to feel isolated and alone, especially if you’ve been living with your friends or in halls surrounded by people. Add in social distancing restrictions and a focus on planning your future after university, and making sure you are getting enough time with friends in can be even more of a challenge. So take the time to organise a video call with people you care about, go for a socially distanced picnic or even just message back in the group chat – whatever is going to help you feel connected!
Taking care of your physical health can have a very positive effect on your wellbeing. Making sure you drink enough water, are eating a balanced diet (without being afraid to treat yo self if you need it), giving yourself time for self-care and trying to include some physical activity throughout your day can all do wonders for improving your mental health.
Sleep is another hugely important aspect of your wellbeing that often gets overlooked in times of stress. Setting yourself up with a good routine involving a regular bedtime, some screen free time before sleep and making your environment as comfortable as possible (such as with black out blinds, weighted blankets or, particularly during the current heatwave, plenty of fans!) can all help improve your rest and make sure you’re waking up fresh and ready to take on the day.
Whether it is 15 minutes or 1 hour, it is important to remember and prioritise your mental and physical wellbeing at a time like this. Keep active, keep safe and keep connected!
Here are some useful links you can use to access wellbeing support: