As we head into the 4 weeks of lockdown from tomorrow (5 November) until 2 December, it can feel daunting and frustrating for us all. It’s a tough situation, but we’re here for you. 

The University remains open and will continue to provide teaching in a blended and connected way, in line with government guidelines. The Library and student support services will also stay open and campus cafes are open for takeaways. 

Here are 4 basic tips for staying healthy and well through lockdown: 

1. Set up a virtual social routine

Put regular check-ins with friends and family in your calendar - weekly phone or video calls can help create structure when all the days feel the same, and will probably be appreciated at the other end too. Or you could set up a regular online games or quiz night with your coursemates, sports club, or friends from back home.

You could also check out the Welcome Ambassador Facebook page for news about friendly chat groups, including support if you're self-isolating.

2. Get out the house

Unless you need to self-isolate, you can still go out and enjoy the open spaces that Portsmouth has to offer, either with people you live with or with one person from another household. Aim to head out for fresh air once a day - to the seafront, park, or another nature spot. Lots of our local cafes and restaurants will still be offering takeaway food, so you can grab a coffee or snack to keep you going en route.

Two students walking down a street

Even a short walk with a housemate will offer a change of scenery, and the chance to stretch your legs and get a bit of fresh air.

3. Try a new exercise 

Any exercise, no matter how much, is better than none, and will boost your physical and mental health. Why not try the Couch to 5k running plan for beginners with a friend?

Or if you don’t fancy heading outdoors, the University’s Sport and Rec team have a series of free virtual workout classes that you can do in the comfort of your own room. Though the gym and sports facilities will be closed, you can still keep fit and healthy on your own or with a friend. Follow the team on Facebook for past classes and updates.

4. Learn a new recipe

Put your time at home to good use by learning to cook something new, whether healthy or a treat. You could try out one of the Catering Team’s recipes from their recent cooking demos. Or get together with your housemates for a rota, where everyone takes turns to cook something for the group each night. 

Other resources and getting support

You could also join the Countdown & Connect Challenge, to help your wellbeing strategies and win big prizes. It’s all online, so makes a perfect lockdown project, and you’ll be in with the chance to win Amazon vouchers worth up to £250, gym memberships, UoP hoodies, Just Eat and coffee vouchers.

It might still feel tough at times, and our Student Wellbeing Service is among the support services that are here to help. As well as registering for a full appointment, through the team you can:

  • Use an anonymous chat service to share how you’re feeling via the WhatsUp app, and talk with professional wellbeing staff
  • Request a free 20 minute advice session with wellbeing advisers. They’re bookable on the day, on a first-come-first-served basis - call +44 (0)23 9284 3466 in the morning.
  • Join free virtual workshops on everything from stress to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
  • Drop in to the weekly virtual Wellbeing Cafe to chat with fellow students. 

Student Space, from the mental health charity Student Minds, aims to help you find the support you need during coronavirus, including resources on wellbeing, and access to one-to-one support from trained volunteers.

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