As the world battles COVID-19, it can be a particularly confusing and stressful time for you as a student in Australia. But, it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together. Around the country, people are banding together to support each other during this uncertainty. On an individual level, it is important to remain happy and healthy. We’ve put together some easy ways to take care of yourself.
Start (and maintain!) a routine
Many education providers across the country are moving to online study, which may be impacting your regular routine. However, it’s important that you continue to stick to a timetable, even if your circumstances have changed. While regular routines can ensure you are completing all your necessary tasks, they can also help alleviate anxiety and stress.
Dr Kim Barbour, a Senior Lecturer at The University of Adelaide, outlined the best way to balance your routine if you are studying online, ensuring a productive and healthy study day.
“Make sure you’re getting up at about the same time every day, washing, eating. If you can, get outside. If you’re at home and you’re not allowed to leave, go on the balcony, or sit near an open window just to get some fresh air. Then, go to a specific study space when you’re working… make sure you’re breaking regularly, that you’re getting a little bit of exercise if you can – whatever you can do in your own space to look after yourself.”
You might be finding that supermarkets are quite empty at the moment, or, if you are in self-isolation, you may not be able to physically get to the shops. Luckily, there are several options out there to ensure you are eating well during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A number of different restaurants across Australia, even those that typically do not deliver, are starting home delivery services. Check the social media profiles of your favourite eateries and see if there is a way they can get their food to you. Meanwhile, traditional delivery companies, such as Uber Eats, are encouraging users to leave a ‘note’ in the app when ordering, asking the driver to leave the food outside your door so there is no chance of contact.
Despite the assurance that people in Australia should not be panic-buying at the moment, you might struggle to find items like pasta or meat products at major supermarkets. Luckily, fresh produce is in good supply – you might just need to be creative with your meal ideas. Supercook is a good resource if you’re looking for recipe inspiration. Just enter the ingredients you do have available to you, and the website will recommend a range of recipe options.
If you are in self-isolation and are unable to physically shop for groceries, reach out to friends and fellow students to help you out during this time.
While sleep requirements vary person to person, on average, an adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you’re struggling to fall asleep, it might be because you’re looking at a screen too soon before going to bed. The blue light emitted from electronics like your phone, TV or laptop delays your body’s internal clock, suppresses the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Try setting yourself a curfew for using your electronic devices as early as possible before going to sleep: an hour or two ideally, but even 30 minutes is good.
There are lots of other methods to help you fall asleep naturally, including mindfulness, medication or aromatherapy. Find what helps you achieve a long night of restful sleep.
If you are self-isolating at the moment, it is vital that you find ways to socialise and keep in touch with friends and family, whichever way possible. Your preferred messaging platform is a great place to start, or just a simple phone call. If you want some (virtual) face-to-face conversation, use Skype or Google Hangouts to chat to people.
For something more unique, why not try Netflix Party? It’s a Google Chrome extension that allows users to watch movies together in sync and adds a group chat so you can communicate throughout. Or, get gaming – there is a huge range of online games for all different platforms that you can enjoy with friends.
Maintaining your mental health
With all of the current uncertainty, it is completely normal to feel anxious and stressed. Know that there are Australia-wide support services available to international students. Services such as Lifeline offer telephone, text and web-chat counselling, while Beyond Blue has a dedicated COVID-19 forum for people to seek support.
Beyond Blue also recommends that to alleviate anxiety, you must ensure you have access to good-quality, accurate information about COVID-19, to help you maintain perspective and feel in control. You can find this information here:
- Australian Government coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert
- Health Direct – Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- smartraveller.gov.au – travel information for Australian citizens
- World Health Organization – coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
You might not feel comfortable going to a gym at the moment, or you may have to stay home while self-isolating. Not a problem! There are many equipment-free, in-home routines available on YouTube. For example, for HIIT workouts, try The Body Coach TV, or, for yoga, try Yoga with Adriene.
For something a little bit different, try an at-home dance party with Room 2 Radio, an online ‘nightclub’ out of Sydney. The party is streaming live from Facebook. As Room 2 Radio says on its social media: ‘Let’s boogie alone, together.’
Study in Australia is the Australian Government’s official resource for international students. Study in Australia partners are here to support the Australian international education community. Whether you’re in Australia or abroad, visit www.studyinaustralia.gov.au or follow the Study In Australia social media channels for up-to-date COVID-19 information for international students.