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Top 10 challenges you may face during coronavirus & how to deal with them

We know that the current coronavirus pandemic poses numerous challenges. We're to help you tackle some of the difficulties you may face with tips and advice.

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As coronavirus continues to affect large parts of the world, we’re faced with a unique set of challenges that some of us may never have experienced before. To help you tackle these obstacles, we’ve got some useful tips to get you through this time.

 

1) Social isolation

With governments around the world advising residents to stay inside and avoid unnecessary contact, many of us are unable to see friends, family or colleagues. This is known as social isolation and may cause people to feel lonely and disconnected. To overcome this, there are several recommendations. Firstly, we are all so digitally connected now and with video platforms like Skype, House Party and Zoom, we can connect with others online for free.

 

Although this isn’t quite the same as being face-to-face, you can feel as though friends and family are there in the room with you. You can also speak to multiple people at the same time. Why not have a dinner party over video? While it might seem strange at first, it will help with feelings of loneliness and stress. Don’t forget, you can also just call people on the phone to have a chat and stay in touch. The current situation is only temporary, so for now, try to make the most out of the options you have to stay in touch.

 

2) Stress & anxiety

It’s totally understandable that you may feel stressed or anxious. Coronavirus has caused a lot of change across the globe and everyone has felt the impact in some form or another. But, how do you deal with these often-overwhelming feelings?

 

Try to remember that this situation is temporary and that you won’t always feel this way. There are many ways to manage stress and anxiety and the effect of these may differ from person to person. However, here are a few useful ways to manage it:

  • Stay connected with others
  • Talk about your concerns
  • Look after your physical health
  • Avoid consuming too much coronavirus news
  • Focus on the present moment

 

While these might seem obvious or basic, they are proven to help with difficult feelings and should make your emotions more manageable during this time. For more detailed advice, check out every mind matters.

 

3) Lack of motivation

It’s ok if you’re lacking in motivation right now. As we’re all in this together, pretty much everyone will have felt this at one point or another, so you’re definitely not alone. However, without motivation, we tend to avoid work which may lead to you feeling deflated or purposeless. To avoid this, try to keep a routine and don’t set yourself over-ambitious goals. As you may have a lot to think about, be realistic as to what you can achieve, otherwise you’ll only burn yourself out.

 

A great way to improve your motivation is to exercise, as this gets you moving, releasing natural endorphins. Although it may be challenging, keeping active can have noticeable benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing. Even if you have to stay inside, you can do online, at-home workouts, many of them offered for free.

If the thought of exercise makes you want to take a nap, there are other ways to feel more motivated. You could try meditating to introduce more calm into your day or think of creative ways to engage your mind. For example, you could try painting or writing a journal. Another great way is to keep a tidy environment, as this can be therapeutic. This might be the perfect time to clear out your wardrobe and finally get rid of all that pair of jeans you’ve been meaning to throw out.

 

4) Disappointment

As cancelled plans pass us by, it would be hard to avoid feelings of disappointment and frustration. Maybe you had a holiday booked or you had tickets to a festival. It can be difficult to adjust to changes to your plans, particularly if you’ve been looking forward to them. The coronavirus situation has meant that everyone has to prioritise public health and safety.

 

One method of coping with disappointment is to think positively and plan for the future. Unfortunately, coronavirus is out of our control. This means that the first step is to accept the situation. Accept your present state and try to make the best of it. This way, you won’t be holding onto anger and disappointment for a missed holiday for years to come. You won’t always be in this position, so put your plans on pause and instead think about what you can improve during this time.

 

5) Homesickness

Coronavirus has had a direct impact on universities across the world, forcing them to close campuses and stop in-person learning. So, you might have flown home from your study destination to be closer to family and friends or you might have decided to stay put. If you fall into the latter group of students, you may be feeling homesick. This is a common challenge for international students under normal circumstances but will be heightened in the current situation.

 

To cope with this, our advice is to stay in touch with your family and friends and also with your university. If you’re living on campus, your university should already be aware of this and offering you support. For those living outside of campus, it’s of even more importance that you let others know about your living situation.

 

Homesickness can be related to new food, a different culture or missing your home comforts and familiar faces. To reduce this feeling, look into having food delivered that you know will boost your mood and make you feel more at home, if this is what you’ve been struggling with. You could also try making your room as comfortable as possible. Keep a window open for fresh air and make your bed. These little things can really help you feel more at ease. Try to remind yourself that these circumstances are only temporary and that you’ll be able to return home at some point.

 

6) Visa issues

As countries adapt to the present challenges posed by coronavirus, you may be confused or unsure about your current or future visa conditions. It really depends on where you are studying abroad or planning to go, as each country has its own visa rules. To make sure you know exactly what you’re entitled to, check the government website of the country you’re interested in. You will find all the information you need there and can find contact details if you require further assistance. You can also check out our coronavirus FAQs for more information.

It’s important to make sure that you are adhering to the terms of your visa. However, amidst coronavirus, travel restrictions are causing challenges for international students who can’t get home or are unable to travel to their study destination. To help people during this difficult time, countries are being more flexible to reduce some of the stress, so there’s no need to panic. For example, in Canada, international students with a valid study permit awarded on or before March 18th, 2020 can still enter the country for their studies. The UK is also offering visa extensions for people who cannot leave the UK but have expired visas. These people can remain in the UK until May 31st, 2020.

 

7) Access to food

You might have already experienced a change to how you would usually purchase food and other necessities due to coronavirus. In some countries, stock piling is an issue as people are trying to make sure they’ve got enough supplies. However, this means that there are shortages of essential items for others. You might be finding it more difficult to get food at the moment, whether that’s because of long queues at supermarkets or because you’re worried about the risk to your health. If you are struggling to get hold of food try and contact local organizations, community groups or try to make use of online delivery options. 

 

Remember that if you think you have the virus, you should stay home for at least seven days at which point, if you still have symptoms, remain inside. Not sure of what symptoms to watch out for?

 

 

8) Studying online

As people are being encouraged to study and work from home, many of us are having to adapt to spending more time online. This might mean attending lectures through video conferencing platforms or sitting an online exam. While this might not be your learning preference, it is proving effective for universities to continue to provide education to its students during this time. If you’re struggling with this change, you can adopt methods to cope with online learning. For example, make sure you take regular breaks from looking at the screen and keep a window open for some fresh air. Instead of resisting this form of teaching, embrace it for this time and get the most out of your experience. Don’t forget to participate!

 

Want to know more about online learning?

 

9) Financial stability

Money can be a worry at the best of times and the coronavirus has meant that some people are facing financial hardship. There are many scenarios that you might relate to and various solutions and advice. But the important thing to remember is that a lot of people will be feeling the effects of the virus on their finances. As this pandemic is out of our control, many governments around the world are trying to take some of the financial pressure off its citizens. For example, in the UK, homeowners are being granted ‘mortgage holidays’ to help residents to keep their houses. Meanwhile the Spanish government is investing EUR 200 billion to help businesses and protect workers.

 

Want to know what other countries are doing to financially support their residents and economy?

 

10) Planning for the future

While there are many challenges arising from this virus, we can all look towards the future. Although the situation is still somewhat uncertain for many parts of the world, China provides an encouraging example. Although life has not fully returned to normal, the general consensus is that China has reduced coronavirus transmissions to a lower level, enabling people to step outside. Hopefully this provides you with some reassurance that lockdown will not last forever.

So, think about what you were planning to do before coronavirus. If you want to study abroad but you’re unsure now, email your university of interest to find out what their plans are. This will give you a clearer indication of what to expect from the institution and their timelines.

 

Would you be willing to start your degree online? Want to defer your place for a year? Or maybe you’ve changed your mind about where you want to study? Use online research, speak to family and friends and get in touch with universities to help make an informed decision about your future.

 

If you want to research courses and institutions, use our search tool to filter results according to your preferences and find university contact information.

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