The spread of COVID-19 has caused devastating ripples across particularly so on the higher education sector and the international student community in India and across the globe. With India going into a 21-day lockdown to curb the spread of the virus, it’s natural for students to feel stress, anxiety, fear and loneliness during these days. Here are some tips for international students in India to deal with the stress of staying home, away from the hustle and bustle of busy student life.
Managing Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19
Avoid Checking the News Obsessively
It’s important to stay updated with the latest news during the crisis. However, when you’re constantly glued into sensationalistic news coverage, it increases the feelings of anxiety and fear. Instead of reading and forwarding messages from untrustworthy sources on WhatsApp and drowning in news coverage, limit your exposure to media content and try to stick to a couple of trusted sources such as CDC and the WHO.
Focus on Hygiene and Safety
During the pandemic, it’s important to focus the ways to reduce your risk and the risk that you may unknowingly pass to others. Some steps to keep the coronavirus pandemic at bay include:
- Wash your hands with soap and water frequently
- Stay at your hostel room or PG during the lockdown and avoid non-essential shopping
- Do not touch your face too much, particularly eyes, mouth and nose
- Keep a distance of 6 feet between yourself and others when you’re stepping out
- Get plenty of sleep and exercise regularly
- Avoid alcohol and drugs
It might be hard to meet your friends and other students face-to-face during physical isolation. However, isolation and loneliness can only exacerbate feelings of depression and stress. This is why you need to stay connected to your family and friends through regular phone calls, chat and Skype calls.
Maintain a Routine
The pandemic has disrupted your routine. This might break old habits, thus reducing your stability and focus. When you’re stuck inside, it’s important to form new habits and routines. Focus on realistic things that you can solve or change and then draw a plan of action.
Plan your day, whether it is waking up on time, doing exercises, studying online, eating regular nutritious meals or connecting with others, it’s important to create a schedule that you can follow. This helps in maintaining a sense of normalcy in your day.
Try a New Hobby or Skill
Read the book that you always wanted to, keep learning new skills, listen to good music, play board games, try a new recipe, enjoy video games. This lockdown, focus on the little things that bring you joy instead of focusing on the negativity.
At the end of the day. It’s up to you to find new and healthy ways to cope with the stress, worry, irritability and apprehension of a pandemic. Look out for friends and fellow students who are facing a difficult time as well. It is in the times of crisis that your resilience and your ability to cope with adversity will help you get through these tough times and allow you to emerge as a stronger, better person.