The coronavirus pandemic has brought change and uncertainty that might make it feel more difficult than usual to take care of your mental health and wellbeing. Undergraduate student, Deborah shares her experience of accessing Warwick wellbeing support from home and describes the sessions that have helped her during these challenging times.
During my time at home, I experienced many difficulties which were all more or less related to the pandemic, and the Warwick wellbeing team have been a fantastic support system throughout. Not only have I attended one-to-one online consultations with them, but I have also participated in many online workshops which they have organised.
Workshops and online skill sessions are conducted on Microsoft Teams, and even though they were online, the consultants have always made us feel comfortable; I never felt that my experience was compromised by the fact that the meeting was online.
In the following post, I will talk about the various sessions I have attended and my experience of each:
‘Thrive during challenging times’ (Managing stress in the lead up to exams and deadlines)
This session truly helped me understand many things regarding stress and academic pressure. The course taught me that stress is an entirely normal reaction to pressure, and instead of trying to avoid it, we can use it to push ourselves to do better. During the session, we reflected on how our productivity varies depending on the amount of tension we are undertaking. We also conducted a plan on how to best deal with all of the upcoming stress we will be under across the next few months, and we even touched on issues about self-awareness and the connections between our thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
- ‘Taking thing in your stride’ (Managing stress and anxiety)
This session had some similarities with the ‘Thrive during challenging times’ workshop, but it touched on anxiety and stress from a psychosocial perspective. We learnt to distinguish between the two and were introduced to some techniques that we can apply when we experience anxiety.
- ‘Getting Things Done’ (Productivity and Procrastination)
The title of this session is very self-explanatory, yet it helped me tremendously to get through the whole exam season. I particularly liked that the course was interactive. While it had some presentation elements, the main focus of the workshop was on our, the attendees’, personal stories and future objectives. We were given handouts which contained all the relevant information and techniques that we had discussed during the workshop, and with the help of the booklet, I could always look back on the goals and objectives I set for myself during the session.
The Wellbeing Masterclass was the most accessible workshop in the sense that I was given the freedom to access the class material even after the session. I first took part in the Masterclass during term 2 in a drop-in session and then accessed the full workshop content on the Warwick Wellbeing Support Services’ website. Unlike the other workshops, the Wellbeing Masterclass was more generic and focused on overall wellbeing rather than specifically touching on a single issue, and I found this one of the most useful. It has given me an overall objective on how to live my daily life to be able to perform at my best, not just in an academic sense. The practices that I was given have helped me get through self-isolation; the Masterclass has introduced me to habits that I should incorporate into my daily life in order to be able to live my life to the fullest, and to keep my mental health under control.
- One-to-one appointments
Although I found the one-to-one appointments extremely useful, I would strongly recommend to anyone who is looking for counselling or psychological help to first participate in some of the group workshops organised by the team.
One-to-one consultations provide you with a full 50 minutes to talk to a skilled advisor and get professional advice on your situation. However, due to the high number of applications, they are running on full capacity; therefore, it might take 3-4 weeks for you to get an appointment. I would recommend requesting a one-to-one consultation if you truly need it, but while you do so, you should also take advantage of all the other health and wellbeing materials that the team provide. All the skills sessions and masterclasses provide you with the tools and techniques that will help you to take control of your mental and physical wellbeing.
In conclusion, I truly appreciate all help that the Warwick wellbeing team have providing us students, and the workshops and skill sessions have not only helped me get through my current problems, but have also given me the skillset I need to tackle difficulties I may face in the future.
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