Dear doctoral students,
Let us talk about mental health.
Around the world, studies have shown that one in ten people suffer from a mental health disorder. Unfortunately, we are in trying times. The COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertainty and anxiety all over the world. The current situation has the potential to aggravate existing mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. It could also contribute to the onset of new mental health problems. Humans are social animals and even though some of us may enjoy staying indoors, there is a difference between a choice we make ourselves and a choice that is made for us.
While we #stayhome and help mitigate the spread of the #covid19 virus, we also urge you to pay attention to your mental health. Here are some tips as to how you can improve your mental health.
1. Watch out for your sleep. Ensure a regular sleeping routine and try to get at least 8 hours of sleep daily.
2. Exercise regularly. Physical activity decreases stress and anxiety. Try taking walks outdoors, running, jogging… There is a long list of physical activities to choose from.
3. Stay connected. Even though we are unable to physically connect with our friends and loved ones, we can still connect with them socially. Now is the best time to use social media and all the video conferencing platforms available.
4. Manage your stress. Pay attention to your stress levels. It is OK to disconnect from anything that will stress you out. The situation is already enough stress. Do not add more to yourself. It is OK to disconnect. It is also OK to not be overly productive during this times. Do not put unnecessary expectations on yourself. Being able to survive these days is enough.
5. Avoid substance abuse. They can trigger mental health problems and exacerbate existing situations.
6. Talk! Talk!! Talk!!! Talk to someone you can trust. Talk to your friends, colleagues, supervisors and anyone doing better than you at this moment. It helps to talk about how you feel.
7. Get help. If you still feel overwhelmed even after practicing all the above mentioned, please, get professional help.
The University of Luxembourg has a dedicated office that provides psychological support to students. Please find them here. They are very helpful: https://wwwen.uni.lu/students/student_advice_and_support_services#Mental%20Health%20Service. They can arrange a meeting over Skype.
In addition to this, the government of Luxembourg has a hotline that also provides psychological support. Find here: https://coronavirus.gouvernement.lu/en/actualites.gouvernement%2Ben%2Bactualites%2Btoutes_actualites%2Bcommuniques%2B2020%2B04-avril%2B01-soutien-psychologique.html .
We wish you all the best in these trying times. We can do our bit to combat the situation by staying home and staying safe. Feel free to write us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any help. We can point you to who can help.
Stay home and Stay safe
DSAiL – Your Doctoral Students’ Association