Students across the UK have now been in a COVID-19 lockdown for some time, both in student accommodation and at home. While some may be thriving, others are struggling.
Whether you’re alright, having up and down days, or struggling most days — this article is for you.
Of course, if your mental wellbeing is severely compromised right now, it’s essential to reach out and get help from a professional — we’ll list some options for you at the bottom of the post, so scroll down if you need them.
However, if you’re just a bit bored and sick of being indoors, read on and discover some new forms of entertainment you may not have tried yet.
Have better video calls
While standard video calls are commonplace among students, there are plenty of new options to try. Instead of FaceTime or Skype, why not give the Houseparty app a go? It’s a group video chat app where you can play games together, such as Heads Up! And Quick Draw! and easily share things from your phones with each other.
If you have a large group of mates at uni or home, you might find Google Hangouts easier for video chat, however — it can host up to 50 people on any one hangout. All you need is a Google account, which you’ll already have if you have ever signed up for a Gmail email address or created a YouTube account.
While the host needs a Google account, anyone can join the hangout via the link you send, whether they have a Google account or not.
As a handy little bonus, you can stream a hangout to your TV using a Chromecast, meaning you and your housemates or family don’t have a crowd around a laptop for an hour!
Play some games
While solo gaming is fun, if you’re feeling a bit lonely, you might want to add a social element. There’s an app called Bunch which has games inbuilt but also works with specific other game apps. Through Bunch, you can play games and see little live videos on your screen of all your friends’ reactions to moves you make.
If silly games are your distraction of choice, then Drawful could be a good option for you. It’s multiplayer, so it’s social as well as fun. One player is told to draw something, then the rest of you have to guess what it is. The answers are pooled, and then each player chooses which they think is the correct answer. Simple but often hilarious!
If you and your mates like to get competitive, there’s an app that’s made a game out of the lockdown itself. Download Zenly, and it will track how much time you spend at home then create a leaderboard between you and your pals for who is ‘better’ at lockdown.
Create shared playlists
Music is emotive so why not prepare for your down days by setting up a new Spotify playlist and asking each of your friends to contribute a few uplifting tunes to it? Then, when you are feeling a bit low or lonely, you can stick the playlist on and maybe even have a little boogie. Of course, your friends can do the same, so it’s win-win.
Start a diary
A creative outlet can be helpful in times like this, so why not start a journal? It could turn out to be a future bestseller, or it could just be something for you to look back on in 20 years and make you more grateful for your freedom.
Likewise, you could write your future self a letter or an email to open and read on a set date in the future. A time capsule, of sorts.
Reach out to others
If you’re bored or feeling lonely, so are others. While you may have been in regular contact with your close family and friends lately, why not take this opportunity, look in your phone and contact five people who haven’t been in touch for a few months — see how they are doing. They’ll appreciate the thought, and you’ll have someone fresh to talk to.
Learn a new skill
Learning a new skill may not sound like much fun, but it doesn’t have to be an academic skill. It could be anything at all! Here are a few ideas:
- Learn to crochet or knit
- Learn how to juggle
- Learn a new language
- Learn sign language
- Learn to cook
- Learn how to edit videos (you could start a YouTube channel!)
- Learn how to grow your own fruit and veg
- Learn how to edit photos
- Learn a poem off by heart
- Learn to draw
- Learn to code
- Learn to play an instrument
- Learn how to do make-up looks or hairstyles
Enjoy being creative
If you’re a creative type, why not learn more about your hobby? If you like photography, you could venture into macro photography, for example. If you’re a knitter who usually knits scarves, why not give a jumper a try?
If you’re a creative writer, you could dip your toe into an autobiographical piece. Or, if you’re passionate about painting, try using a different medium or perspective.
Alternatively, you could use what you already know and enter a competition in your field.
Where to find help
If you’re struggling with your mental wellbeing, don’t suffer in silence. Instead, confide in one of the below:
- A family member or friend
- Your student support team:
- Your GP (via a telephone appointment)
- Leeds Mind (0113 305 5800 / firstname.lastname@example.org)
- The Connect Helpline (0808 800 1212, 6 PM – 2 AM daily, local service)
If you are in crisis, The Samaritans are there for you 24/7. Call them on 116 123 at any time of day or night. If you feel it might help to write your thoughts down instead, you can email them at email@example.com, but please bear in mind that the response time can be 24 hours.
We realise it’s a strange time we’re living in but if you need to find Leeds student accommodation for the next academic year, please get in touch and we can help you to find the perfect property via virtual tours.