Looking after your wellbeing during lockdown

There is a great amount of uncertainty about the Coronavirus pandemic and with uncertainty it is understandable that we can all feel unsettled and unsafe.

This can cause us to become worried and increasingly anxious.

Whilst the uncertainty may continue there are things that we can do to help manage our worries and anxiety.

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Take 5 steps to Wellbeing

Think about applying the Take 5 steps to Wellbeing to your day to help you enhance your mental and physical wellbeing during this unprecedented time.

  • Connect

    Connect with the people around you: family, friends, colleagues and neighbours at home, work, school or in your local community

  • Be Active

    Go for a walk or run, cycle, play a game, garden or dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity that you enjoy; one that suits your level of mobility and fitness.

  • Take Notice

    Be observant, look for something beautiful or remark on something unusual. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.

  • Keep Learning

    Don’t be afraid to try something new, rediscover an old hobby or sign up for a course.

    Take on a different responsibility, fix a bike, learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food.

    Set a challenge you will enjoy.

    Learning new things will make you more confident, as well as being fun to do.

  • Give

    Do something nice for a friend or neighbour, thank someone, smile (even from a distance), reach out to someone who may be feeling lonely.

    It can be incredibly rewarding and will create connections with the people around you.

Top tips

Here are some tips to looking after your wellbeing.

  • Establish a daily routine

    Routines provide structure and purpose and will help keep you motivated and focused.

  • Balance your weekly routine

    Balance your weekly routine so you have a good mix of work (activities that must be done), rest and leisure.

  • Think about the regular activities

    Think about the regular activities that are most important to you and how you can adapt them to carry out in the home? For example, instead of attending a gym class, go online and access free Les Mills fitness classes

    Or, think about some of your favourite drinks/foods you would usually buy from cafes or restaurants and try to recreate them yourself

  • Set daily goals

    Set daily goals to provide purpose and a sense of achievement. This might include working through that list of the things you keep meaning to do but never got around to doing.

  • Identify the triggers that make you feel low 

    Identify the triggers that make you feel low and look for ways to reduce or manage them. Talk with family and friends to help them understand how you feel and how they can help.

  • Take care of yourself

    Eat and drink healthily with plenty of fruit, vegetables and water, to help boost your immune system and energy levels.

  • Avoid staying still for too long

    Exercise and regular movement will maintain fitness and strength. If you are working from home, take breaks and eat away from your “desk.” There are a range of free exercise videos on YouTube and other sites.

  • Limit time spent on coverage of outbreak

    Try to limit the time you spend watching, reading or listening to coverage of the outbreak on the news and social media.

    You could set yourself a specific time each day as part of your routine, but make sure you use trustworthy sources such as:

  • Have a good sleep routine

    If you are struggling, try avoiding tea and coffee in the late afternoon and evening, take a bath, using blackout curtains, listening to gentle music or deep breathing exercises.

  • Keep in touch

    Keep in touch with classmates and academic staff. Arrange regular check ins to support each other both academically and emotionally.

    Try to include some digital face to face time as well, there are many apps you can use.

    Or, why not arrange an online quiz or movie night for your friends?

Its ok not to feel ok!

If you are struggling, please do not feel you have to do so alone. Even if you feel you need to self-isolate it is important to stay connected to others. Talk to classmates, friends or family about how you feel, or you can contact the Student Wellbeing team for support and advice for a range of issues.

The Student Wellbeing team is working remotely to support you and you can contact them:

There is also a range of information available on our website.

If you are in distress or despair out of working hours, you can contact Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 (Text phone users 18001 0808 808 8000) where counsellors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to listen and help in confidence.

You can also arrange for a telephone appointment with a counsellor through Inspire Wellbeing by

There are also a range of other helplines available on our website

Money matters

Spending time in isolation means some students may be able to save some money, especially if you are living at home and don’t have the same access to shops, bars, restaurants and other expensive social activities. If you can, work out a budget for your one weekly shop and any other essentials and see how much you can save, thinking about how you can treat yourself and have something to look forward to in the future.

However, others will not be in this position and may be struggling financially due to job loss, self-isolation or additional caring responsibilities meaning that they cannot work or do not have the income to pay bills.

  • I have lost my job due to the Coronavirus outbreak

    If your employer has told you not to work, you may still be able to be paid if they are applying to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

  • I’m struggling financially and need help to pay my bills

    You may be entitled to financial support through the Ulster University Student Support Fund.

    The fund is provided by the Department of the Economy and is specifically aimed at helping students in financial difficulty meet unanticipated costs and living expenses.

    If you have been negatively impacted by Covid-19 and are struggling financially, you should submit an application, with the documentary evidence required.

    If you are an international student or come from the Republic of Ireland, you may also be able to access financial support through a different fund.

    1. Go to Financial Support and select the option that applies to you ie: NI/UK student or ROI/International student. This includes PhD Researchers.
    2. Read the guidance on the application process and how to access the evidence required.
    3. Submit an application with evidence requested and keep an eye on your Ulster email in case we need more information from you.
    4. If you have any questions about this fund you can email sma@ulster.ac.uk or call the Student Wellbeing team on 028 9536 7000.

    There is further advice available online on seeking help to pay bills and dealing with debt:

Support for students with disabilities

We recognise that many of our students who have disabilities and medical conditions will be concerned about the current situation for a number of reasons, not only looking after your personal health and emotional wellbeing but also dealing with some pretty significant changes to your personal circumstances and academic delivery.

The Student Wellbeing team is working remotely and is available to support you during this challenging time, whether your need is relating specifically to your disability and the mode of teaching/assessment or whether you want to speak to someone about another wellbeing issue, stress or concern.

You can contact the Student Wellbeing team to arrange

  • Reasonable adjustment recommendations

    Your reasonable adjustment recommendations (RAR) are still valid during this period and will be taken into consideration by your Course Director and Module Coordinator when devising alternative arrangements for assessment. If your existing adjustments cannot be accommodated for online assessment e.g. non-medical help (scribe, reader and prompters) your Course Director will contact you to discuss this.

    If you have any concerns about your ability to complete the mode of alternative assessment put in place by your course team, you should discuss this with your Course Director or Module Coordinator in the first instance.

    You can also discuss this with your AccessAbility Adviser in the Student Wellbeing team, although they will not have access to the course specific information.

    You can email them directly or contact them via 028 9536 7000 or email studentwellbeing@ulster.ac.uk to request a telephone or Zoom appointment.

  • Support Providers

    If you are currently receiving one-to-one support such as a Dyslexia Coach, Mental Health Mentor, Study Skills Coach or Notetaker this will continue remotely via Skype/Zoom etc. where possible within your existing allocation of hours. If you need to cancel a planned session, please continue to notify your support provider with as much notice as possible.

    If you have Notetaker support, you need to ensure you have provided all of your module codes to the Register of Support Providers team, so that they can give your Support Providers access to the module content. You should also be sure to notify your Support Provider of any changes to online lecture times or cancellations with as much notice as possible.

    If you have any issues with your one-to-one support, you should contact the Register of Support Providers on supportregister@ulster.ac.uk