1. Leave the house from time to time
This goes without saying but it’s so so so important to get out and about, even just the teensiest bit (of course, we need to be mindful about the regulations, but currently it’s quite relaxed here in Helsinki). Go for a walk. Meet a friend for coffee. Arrange a picnic. We need to be responsible but also not shut ourselves in completely. Do remember to take keep at a safe distance from others, and wear a mask if you can. It’s a balancing act, but we’re all in this together.
2. Seek help if you need it
It’s no secret we’re all struggling, but if you’re worried about your mental health, do seek help. The pandemic doesn’t mean you have to be miserable or anxious, and it’s a 100 % valid reason to seek help. Check out F.S.H.S’s mental health services if you’re a student at the University of Helsinki. You can also check out the MIELI Crisis Helpline – it’s open 24/7 and you can get assistance in English, Finnish, Swedish or Arabic. Do not hesitate to contact your local health station either, and in severe cases, seek help from psychiatric emergency services. If you experience any self-harming or suicidal thoughts, seek help immediately.
3. Focus on your hobbies
Remember to leave time for your hobbies as well. When working and studying remotely, it’s easy to let yourself slide into a working all the time -- just a bit more -- sort of state. Don’t let that happen. Instead, take out your calendar and write down all the fun things you want to do. Then, actually do those things.
4. Stay in touch with friends and family
If you can’t meet them in person, call or text, or arrange a Zoom meeting. Stay in touch with your loved ones, and if you feel alone, talk to people about it and consider seeking professional help. We need to be able to articulate our struggles in order to cope better. And remember, there's nothing shameful about seeking help.
5. Don’t be too hard on yourself
This is a really really sucky time for all of us. It’s tough. It’s exhausting. It’s stressful and mundane and all sorts of weird wrapped into one. So if you feel like you're underachieving a bit just now, it’s fine. Just do whatever you can, and if it’s less than usual, well – too bad! Talk to your professors and tutors if you’re struggling with your studies.
Note: the author of this article is not a mental health professional.