Nursing in a pandemic: your mental health

Daniel Beglin, a student mental health nurse, shares his tips for looking after your wellbeing during lockdown

This time last year I was naïve about the effect loneliness can have on your mental wellbeing. But the pandemic changed that.

More than 50% of students from a survey carried out by the National Union of Students (NUS) said their mental health had declined since the pandemic began.  

Students have been hit especially hard with the effects of lockdown with many missing out on face-to-face lessons. And lockdown has made things even more difficult for new students as starting university can be a challenging time with few friends or family nearby.

Never could I have anticipated that a few months alone away from my support structure while at university would have such and impact on my mental health. Having remained in contact with my family they helped me massively during the Christmas holidays when I couldn’t be with them in person. 

If you’re struggling and finding lockdown tough, you’re not on your own. Feeling isolated and lonely are normal reactions to the exceptional circumstances we all find ourselves in. There is no normal response to the impact of the pandemic, especially after being affected by it for so long. 

Daniel Beglin

Daniel Beglin

Here are some of my tips to help with your wellbeing:

Keep to a routine

I know how hard this can be, but keeping a routine allows you to have something to look forward to when the days seem to come and go.

Stay in touch 

Your support structure is one of the best weapons in your armoury against feeling isolated and lonely. Keep in contact with your friends and family. 

Exercise 

Exercise can be a great way to de-stress and immerse yourself in something positive. 

Access mental health support at university 

Make use of student support and welfare services, most of them may be online at the moment but you don’t need to suffer in silence. 

Disconnect from the news 

The news can be a scary place. If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed about COVID-19 statistics, disconnect from social media.

If you’re struggling, I urge you to seek help. Don’t suffer in silence. 

Supporting you

The RCN counselling service is here to support all our members, from student nurses to those about to retire from a lifetime of service. We have lots of online resources and last year we provided counselling for over 1,700 members.

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