We asked Sheffield students how they maintain a positive mindset in lockdown

‘I like to write down things that bring me joy’

The uncertainty of when lockdown three will end is taking its toll on the students of Sheffield. This particular lockdown seems harder than the previous two. Whether this is due to the dark nights or cold winter season, some are finding it difficult to maintain a positive mindset. With their social lives being put on hold, it’s no wonder students are in deep reflection about their future career prospects, appearance and body-image.

The Sheffield Tab spoke to current students about how they’re coping.

Julia, in her final year at the University of Sheffield, said: “I loved taking selfies and posting every day, now I feel rather limited in what to post which really upsets me. There isn’t much to capture and I feel down in confidence and freedom.

“I normally try to have spa days to wind down and relax, so I don’t slip into a cycle of negative thoughts. It helps me to embrace who I am and take care of myself mentally and emotionally.”

Another student added: “I didn’t know I had mental issues until now. With the gyms and fitness centres being closed, I feel low in self-esteem and struggle to view myself in a positive way. I keep thinking about when it will all be over.”

Alexandra, in her third year at Sheffield Hallam, said: “I think wearing make-up is a great way of expressing yourself and giving yourself confidence, but over lockdown I’ve found myself rarely bothering with it. Occasionally I’ll put on a bit of mascara and concealer but that’s as far as I’ll go.

“To cope with bad thoughts, I really enjoying reading and going out for walks. I feel like this is a really good way to take your mind off feeling rubbish about your appearance and looks, as well as taking care of yourself in a positive way.”

Vivian, a student at the University of Sheffield, felt the same. “I’m not too bothered about wearing makeup anymore. I feel like lockdown and the current situation has led many students not to get caught up about their appearance.

“Whenever I feel down or upset, I like to write down things that bring me joy to stop me from feeling upset or having bad thoughts.”

According to Rethink Mental Illness, a survey found almost 70 per cent of people said their mental health had gotten worse because they can’t see family or friends. Similarly, a survey conducted by the mental health charity Young Minds also recorded that 80 per cent of their respondents noted their ability to remain optimistic about the current situation had severely decreased. Although this is likely to change within the coming months, there is a certainly a call for help amongst students who are severely struggling with their mental health during this time.

If you are a student struggling with depression or anxiety, or know someone who is, you can contact the Samaritans for free on 116 123 if you need someone to chat to and act as a listening ear to your thoughts.

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