Welcome to Reggie Responds! Our advice column isÂ taken over by Positive Peers this month, as part of Take Time In, which is KCLSUâ€™s campaign on 4-21 May to support positive wellbeing for students online during this exam period.
Q: I like my own company so the pandemic did not affect my social life very much, but my work mates complained that they were adversely impacted. What advice do you think I can give them?
CK: I am in the same boat as you, as I enjoy my own company and so my social life has not been drastically affected by the pandemic. My initial advice for those who prefer to go out would be to remind them that it may be best for their health and the community at large to simply stay home and minimise face-to-face social contact, but Iâ€™ve learnt that such suggestions only prompt responses like: â€˜Well, it’s easy for you to say, you enjoy staying inâ€™. The truth is, some people like to stay in, while others like to go out. But all of us must make the best of our circumstances.
We cannot control how our friends, family and colleagues spend their days, but we can help reshape their perception of social distancing and staying at home. Instead of it being a chore, they could view it as an opportunity for them to pursue personal hobbies. Perhaps it is time for them to show off their artistic abilities; perhaps they might enjoy some time to self-reflect and start journal writing; or, perhaps they would enjoy a simple walk in the park. There is a whole range of different activities for them to discover, and they may continue to enjoy them beyond the pandemic. Who knows? Soon, when things settle down and they look back at this time, they may be grateful for the hobbies they took up rather than the ones they lost.
Q: Iâ€™m so anxious about next yearâ€¦With everything opening and changing, Iâ€™m not used to studying or doing anything in person anymore, and Iâ€™m so scared about the next academic year, with having to move to London again, meet in person, etc. It feels so overwhelming.
Andrea: Change is never an easy process. If you look back on your past, you will always find situations where change was inevitable, yet you managed to pull through. Just like how you have previously adapted from in-person to online teaching, I am sure you will be able to reacquaint yourself with face-to-face lectures and going out in general. Of course, that will take some time to get used to again. After all, most of us have been so limited to the online environment for a whole year of studies, so it is completely normal for you to feel a bit overwhelmed. But please remember that you can take your time to feel comfortable with that change. You are not expected to just go back to the â€˜normâ€™ immediately and not acknowledge the impact of the pandemic on all our lives.
I totally understand the anxiety you are feeling, too. Sometimes I find myself overthinking and worrying about what the future holds. But I think it is important to remind ourselves that the feelings we have are never permanent â€“ they, too, will change. Rather than worrying about the future (something we canâ€™t control), try to live in the present moment. Take baby steps in everything you do and reach out to friends or course mates who might be in a similar situation as you. Oftentimes, it is nice to have company and support while going through shared experiences. Anyway, all the best in everything, we (Positive Peers) believe in you!
If you want to submit a question, you can do soÂ here.
If you’d like to pick up more tips and tricks to look after your wellbeing, join the Positive Peersâ€™ Thrive sessions! You can also check out the Positive Peers website and the KCLSU Wellbeing Hub to explore what’s on offer.