Written by Amelia Slater, Grace Oh, Marcus Piva, Margaret Tran, Shannon Robinson-Hore and Vi Huynh. Image by Margaret Tran (taken on placement in Mildura).
Everything starts with self-care! If we’re not OK we can’t perform at our best, be there for our family and friends or stay on top of uni. Prioritising self-care can also allow you to discover some techniques and methods that you can then pass on to others.
Here are some tips and ideas from La Trobe’s Peer Learning Advisors (PLAs).
1. Keep a regular chat going over Messenger with classmates to check in, vent, get emotional, support each other, and lighten the mood with some funny gifs.
2. A phone call or video chat can be a great pick-me-up during lockdown. It brings a smile to my face whenever I can see the other person or hear their voice!
3. Go for walks with those living in the same place. I use my daily walk with my dog to invite a friend along and catch up.
4. Have virtual book clubs or game nights. Last year, a group of students in my English class invited me to a weekly Zoom get-together. We would discuss our favourite books and play games during the semester. We were all able to support each other in lockdown and I didn’t feel so alone.
5. I talk to my friends or family each day and try to stay social. I also journal and debrief with trusted friends/family about things that happen that I find emotionally taxing.
6. If you’re struggling with your academic work, you can ask a friend (or a PLA!) to help you break down the content or assignment. Sometimes another pair of eye/ears is really helpful to get through the content.
Make time for yourself
7. Practice mindfulness, meditate or do breathing exercises.
8. Have a routine to help keep you structured and motivated throughout the day. I use the hours of 9am – 5pm to study and outside of those hours I make sure to include leisure time.
9. Carve time out of your daily or weekly schedule for self-care. Before assessments, before anything else, your health is the first priority.
Exercise and eat well
10. Try to exercise in some way each day – walks, gym, yoga, etc.
11. I cook most of my meals myself and include fresh/frozen vegetables, fruits and whole foods.
12. Share food with friends – food always makes things better!
Look after each other
13. The difficulty of the situation we are all in can help move important conversations surrounding mental health forward. It’s more important now more than ever to ask, ‘are you okay’?
14. Don’t try to fix a friend’s problem right away, but be a listening ear. Most people just want someone to listen to them.
Come see a PLA!
16. For help with study skills and time management, drop-in for a chat with a Peer Learning Advisor.