The UK Government has advised that the single most important action we can all take in fighting Covid-19 is to stay alert to control the virus and save lives.
It can be an unsettling time, but looking after your physical and mental wellbeing can help make things a little easier. Below you will find some general advice and information that you may find helpful.
If you are a BU student you may also want to take a look at the BU Student Wellbeing pages of our website as these include information and resources specifically for you.
Member of staff?
Visit the staff intranet for additional information specifically relevant to BU staff.
Stay in touch with family and friends
Think of creative ways that you can stay in contact with friends and family:
- There are many ways to stay connected in the digital world we live in. You could use What's App, Facebook Messenger, Facetime, Skype or Zoom - to name just a few!
- Make a phone call or send a letter/card. Sometimes the simple things in life are the best.
- Set up shared online activities e.g. virtual film or book clubs, coffee mornings, games nights using the apps mentioned above.
- Explore local online neighbourhood groups to see if there is a way you can be involved in helping your local community. For example the BCP 'together we can' community response scheme.
Sign-up to local e-newsletters and groups
Signing up to local newsletters and groups will help you keep in touch with news and information relevant to the place where you live. This can include Coronavirus updates, council service updates plus ways to look after your wellbeing and activities to do at home. You could try:
- Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole (BCP) Council e-newsletter
- Dorset Council newsletter
- Nextdoor - a neighbourhood app
Set a routine
If you are spending more time at home it is important to continue with a regular routine:
- Maintain a regular time for waking up and going to bed. See the 'Try to get a good night's sleep' section on this page for tips on how to fall asleep faster and sleep better.
- Eat at regular times
- Get dressed and ready for the day ahead each morning
- Use a timetable to give structure to your day
- Balance activities that give you a sense of achievement, those that help you feel close and connected with others and those you can do just for pleasure.
Keep busy with activities
- These could include cooking, reading, online learning and watching films - or, if you are in a household with several family members, play board/card games.
- Create an ‘activity menu/to do’ list – like this one created by Psychology Tools Limited.
- We've put together some creative, and eco-friendly, ideas for the home - from upcycling furniture to growing your own vegetables.
- Virtual tours and performances can allow you to explore the world and enjoy cultural activities from your own home.
- As our academic year kicks off, there are a host of events taking place both virtually and physically for new and returning students alike. Check out the What's On calendar for a full list of upcoming events being run by BU and SUBU.
Try and do some form of physical activity
Physical activity can be great for both your body and mind so try to include some form of exercise in your daily routine. There are lots of (free) online classes or courses that provide guidance on exercising at home:
- Our SportBU gym is now open, with a range of measures in place to help keep users safe. From bookable gym slots to exercise classes, you can find out more on the SportBU web pages.
- The Body Coach – if you enjoyed his hugely popular PE With Joe live sessions (which are still available to view), there are plenty of other short and effective workouts on Joe Wicks' YouTube channel to get your heart pumping.
- The NHS gym-free workouts provide illustrated guides designed to help make your workouts effective and easy to follow - plus they count towards your recommended 150 minutes a week of exercise and muscle strengthening activity.
- We are lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world. Head outdoors for some fresh air and a walk or run along Bournemouth's seven miles of golden beaches, or travel further afield for a hike along the coast or through the countryside. The National Trust has complied a collection of walking routes from across Dorset.
Try to get a good night's sleep
How to fall asleep faster and sleep better
To improve sleep and support adult mental wellbeing, Public Health England’s (PHE) Every Mind Matters website now includes new NHS-approved expert tips and advice on improving your sleep.
Sleep plays a critical role when it comes to maintaining mental wellbeing: long-term sleep loss can lead to issues such as anxiety and depression.
To help the nation improve their sleep, expert Professor Colin Espie features in a new short film which highlights the simple steps you can take to ease those restless nights.
For more information and resources, please head to the Every Mind Matters website.
At times of uncertainty, developing a gratitude practice can help you connect with moments of joy, aliveness, and pleasure:
- At the end of each day, take time to reflect on what you are thankful for today. Try and be specific and notice new things each day, for example, ‘I am grateful that it was sunny at lunchtime so I could sit in the garden’.
- Start a gratitude journal, or keep notes in a gratitude jar. Encourage other people in your home to get involved too.
Take some time out to relax and unwind. Meditation and breathing exercises may help to focus your mind and body.
BU Media Production student Bensu Boran, who is trained in Reiki - a Japanese technique for relaxation and stress reduction - has created the below podcast to guide you through a meditation session:
Notice and limit worry triggers
It can feel like we need to constantly follow the news or check social media for the latest updates. However, you might notice this also triggers your worry and anxiety.
- Try to notice what triggers your worry. For example, is it watching the news for more than 30 minutes? Checking social media every hour?
- Try to limit the time that you are exposed to worry triggers each day. You might choose to listen to the news at a set time each day, or you could limit the amount of time you spend on social media for news checking.
- You may find this mental health care video useful.
Get support if you need it
These are challenging and unusual times for everyone – it’s normal to feel uncertain and anxious about things. There are various sources of support and information that can be accessed, from support for children and young people to looking after your mental health and wellbeing.
Our list is not an exhaustive one and you may find it useful to visit other sites such as Gov.co.uk - Coronavirus (COVID 19) guidance and support or Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole (BCP) Council, who provide information on local support available.
Help reduce the pressure on the NHS
If you do have questions that you would normally phone the NHS about, one or more of the following services may be able to help you so you can reduce the pressure on the NHS:
Ask NHS provides you with improved access to NHS services. You can talk through your symptoms in complete confidence with Olivia, a virtual health assistant. If needed, Olivia will arrange for a call back from a 111 nurse to discuss symptoms further. The app also allows you to search NHS approved healthcare advice.
Pharmacy2U allows you to order and manage your NHS repeat prescriptions whenever and wherever they are needed. Pharmacy2U takes care of everything, from requesting prescriptions from your GP, to the delivery of the medication directly to you, for free.
Health Help Now lists common symptoms and offers suggestions for treatment, so you can find the right health service to use. The app also includes details of several useful websites and helplines for a variety of health problems.
Be considerate of others and their wellbeing
As restrictions are eased we may have mixed feelings and, as with any period of change or uncertainty, this can have an impact on our physical and mental health.
It is common to experience some anxiety while coping with stressful events or changes, especially if they could have a big impact on your life. However we all react differently to events and changes in the way that we think, feel and behave and this will vary between people and over time.
It is important to be mindful that different people may respond in different ways - while you may be excited about returning to campus, others may feel anxious or apprehensive. Be considerate of others' feelings and personal situations.
Listen to the Being Well with BU podcast series hosted by BU staff member Ella and two of BU's resident wellbeing and mental health experts, Kerry-Ann Randle and Karen Butters.