In a recent study conducted by YourDOST, it was found that the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent extended lockdown has had a significantly high impact on the Indian population. Even more alarming was the discovery that it was the future of our country – college students – who were the most affected.
From the very onset of the pandemic and lockdown, students reported the highest rise in stress as well as feelings of anger, loneliness and anxiety, among the various segments of respondents.
As the lockdown progressed, students were the worst hit by a ‘Lockdown Fatigue’. They continued to struggle with their mental health particularly in terms of their anger, anxiety, loneliness, hopelessness, and happiness.
There were a number of reasons for this collapse – students have been facing difficulties in adjusting to life at home. They miss college, they miss their peers, and they miss the string of activities that keep happening on campus. For those who had been living away from home for long – reconnecting with their parents was also an obstacle that they faced.
There also continues to be a lack of clarity on when and how their exams will be conducted. Exams in general are tremendously stressful. According to an earlier study conducted by YourDOST among Indian college students, 60% report experiencing high to severe stress from exams. The pandemic added an additional element of uncertainty to this whole situation which of course has been tremendously distressing for individuals.
There is no question that these are trying times for all of us but this has been especially arduous for the students which is why we want to extend a helping hand. Here are some things you can do to fight these lockdown blues and emerge stronger!
Be Kind to yourself
This is a completely new experience and while it may seem like you are completely cut off from the outside world, that’s not true. Try to find some interesting things to do and also interesting people to connect with. Take out time to connect with your family and friends as well. Speaking with loved ones helps overcome feelings of loneliness & isolation brought on by the lockdown and social distancing. In fact, according to Psychologists, just hearing the voice of a loved one, even if it isn’t saying much, is soothing to the mind.
Adapt to new ways of learning and seeking help
The pandemic has forced everything online – be it conducting classes, personalized mentoring sessions and even virtual live concerts, institutions are trying to keep students engaged and productive. At the same time, they have also introduced online counselling sessions for their students. It is important to make use of such resources and adapt to the new normal. YourDOST too has experienced a significant rise in the number of sessions. This goes to show that students are reaching out and help is just a click away.
This was one of the top preferred coping mechanisms for students, according to our study. Mindfulness comes in many forms: meditation, self-affirmations, breathing techniques and journaling, to name a few. These practices are helpful in shaping a more positive mindset. Mindfulness and meditation are an excellent way to destress and improve focus. A deep muscle relaxation mindfulness exercise called Progressive Muscle Relaxation aka PMR, can help you release stress from the whole body, thus relieving you of stress and boosting your immunity.
Here’s a companion guide for you to practice PMR with:
Staying fit and healthy
It’s well known that physical health and mental health go hand-in-hand. Multiple studies state that physical exercise makes the body release a set of hormones called endorphins into the brain and nervous system. Endorphins also have anti-inflammatory effects, and give a boost to your mood, among other things, thus reducing stress.
Stick to a routine
Following some form of routine, such as getting up at a similar time each day, is widely recognised as one of the best ways to protect your mental health. One study, for example, found that routines could help people better manage stress and anxiety. Getting necessary tasks out of the way can also help you find more time for your studies, healthy behaviors like exercise and leave you more time to enjoy fun activities and hobbies.
Most importantly, remember that however frightful this situation is, it is temporary, and it will end. While these tips help you manage aspects of your mental health, absolutely nothing can be a substitute for one-on-one counseling.
To access resources for self-help during this pandemic, please visit our COVID-19 emotional wellness page for FREE resources.
Would you like to read the full report of YourDOST’s study on “Mental Health Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic & Nationwide Lockdown in India”? Click here to download your copy today.