Six Ways to Wellbeing: Coping with Self-Isolation (Part 1)
The University of Manchester’s Six Ways to Wellbeing helps students and staff to make positive changes to keep feeling good and living well. We want to demonstrate how the different Ways to Wellbeing can be applied to these times of social distancing and self isolation.
Therefore, in the first of a series of three posts, we share ideas on how to stay connected with people and how to continue to learn and discover over the coming weeks.
Feeling close to and valued by others is key to our happiness. But how can we connect during self-isolation and social distancing?
Worried about loneliness?
Think about things you can do to connect with people. For example, putting extra pictures up of the people you care about might be a nice reminder of the people in your life. If your home feels too quiet, try listening to a new radio station or a new podcast.
Keep in touch digitally
As well as the usual phone calls and texts, make plans to video chat with people or groups you’d normally see in person.
When chatting with friends, it’s tempting (and completely natural!) to spend all of your time talking about COVID-19. However, this can be emotionally draining. Therefore, try to expand your topics of conversation. For example, why not organise a Netflix Party and watch a box set together or watch live gigs from artists such as Camilla Cabello, OneRepublic and Chris Martin, courtesy of Global Citizen?
Now is a good time to do a bit of life admin as well; check your contacts’ phone numbers are up to date and that you have current email addresses for friends you’ve not seen for a while. After that, why not contact someone you’ve not spoken to for a while and renew that connection?
Connect with others in similar situations
If you are self-isolating, you may be going online more than usual. Why not use that time to seek peer support and join a peer support community? Mind runs an online peer support community called Elefriends, where you can share your experiences and hear from others.
The University also has the Big White Wall, a 24/7 online community that is monitored by trained clinicians offering free mental health and wellbeing support for everyone at the University of Manchester.
The act of learning in itself is valuable and has been shown to boost self-esteem, resilience, social integration and more.
Stay engaged with your course
It is obviously important to keep on top of your studies by accessing podcasts of your lectures and using the online materials provided by your course leaders. Plan a study routine to give your day some structure and organise virtual group study sessions with your course mates as a forum to swap ideas and to keep you motivated.
Escape into a classic
You also need to regular breaks from your studies. Several companies and organisations have responded to social distancing by providing us with opportunities to broaden our horizons.
For example, Audible are allowing customers the chance to listen to audio versions of literary classics such as Frankenstein, Jane Eyre and Roots. Alternatively, you can discover magical Japanese fairy tales for the first time or hone your language skills by listening to Alice in Wonderland in German (Alice Im Wunderland, in case you were wondering!).
Take a tour
Why not pay a virtual visit to a world famous gallery or museum as well? You can wander around the Louvre and the Natural History Museum as well as countless other institutions via Google Arts & Culture. For more ideas of where to visit, see Bridgeman Image’s list of galleries.
Learn a new skill
The extra time that you might have on your hands can be used to learn a new skill. You could learn a language (see the University Language Centre for links to dozens of helpful sites) or swap skills with a friend via a video call. For example, if you cook amazing brownies, why not give a friend a video tutorial in exchange for a virtual guitar lesson.