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Advice for students because of Covid-19

Helpful advice for students because of COVID-19

The daily news regarding COVID-19 has probably been noticed by everyone. When there is such a broad effect on our society, it is understandable that many people experience increased anxiety, sadness or other difficult feelings. The assembly ban will most likely have a significant impact on most people's lives. We, the psychologists at UI's Student Counselling and Career Centre, have summarized a few things that can be helpful in dealing with these situations:

Daily routine
Now that the teaching will mostly be online, many will be rather isolated in their homes. It is important to focus on your well-being to prevent depression or anxiety. It is good to plan a daily routine, i.e. eat regularly, go to bed and wake up around the same time and exercise. Practicing your daily routine is likely to have a positive impact on your thoughts, concentration, and your well-being.

We recommend defining a specific time of the day for your studies. Setting goals for the day and creating a to-do list works well for many. In addition, it may be helpful to set boundaries regarding household work and home communication during defined working hours. This can help to reduce procrastination and also allow you to have a clearer cut between study and free time. This will help you to enjoy your free time better and to achieve better results in your studies.

Consider what has worked well for you before, to improve your well-being and reduce stress. For example, we recommend using mindfulness and/or relaxation exercises. Some people find it helpful to listen to good music to increase positive feelings, think back to good memories or make plans for the future. It is important to keep doing what makes you happy. You may even take the time to revive old hobbies, or learn new ones, such as singing, craft work, drawing or practicing Eurovision-dances.

Stay in touch with friends and family 
Some of us don't have many opportunities to be in face to face communication these weeks. It is important to seek support from friends and family as much as possible and needed, especially for those living alone. Loneliness can make us feel less motivated. Online communication might be the most convenient way to stay in regular contact with our closest social ties. Social support is invaluable as we go through periods of intense stress, uncertainty or other difficult feelings. 

Validate your emotions
Give yourself space to recognize and express your emotions. You can for example write down your feelings and thoughts in a journal and/or talk to people you trust about how you feel. Show yourself compassion and understanding as you would to others around you. When we deal with anxiety in a constructive way, it usually decreases as time goes by.

Excessive safety behavior
One of the things people often do to reduce anxiety is to engage in safety behavior. In doing so, we sometimes feel better for a short while, but over time the anxiety increases. This could e.g. involve checking the news many times a day or panic buying canned food and toilet paper. We recommend avoiding fake news and unreliable news sources. Follow the advice of the Directorate of Health and stay level headed.
We wish you all the best for the next several weeks and we look forward to seeing you again :-)

Warm regards from the psychologists at the UISCCC
Ásta Rún Valgerðardóttir
Guðlaug Friðgeirsdóttir
Katrín Sverrisdóttir