Living in a pandemic can be difficult. Whether you’re dealing with loss, loneliness or depression, having to deal with these things while you are in isolation can be extra hard.

Having a network of friends and family to fall back on can be helpful, but it is completely normal not to have such a network if you’re studying in a foreign city or country.

Because of that it can feel like you’re on your own in getting through this struggle.

But you’re not.

We’re always there if you need someone to talk to, and there are always other people in your area as well, if you’re willing to look.

If you don’t want to feel down or lonely all the time, it is important that you take the first step to help yourself.

We want to help you with that, so we have composed a list of tips to start feeling better.

1. Maintain a daily routine

Structure can play an important part in keeping your mental health in check. It might feel appealing to stay in bed long, or to stay up deep into the night, but on the long term this is not healthy. Chances are you’ll feel bad about staying in bed, which leads to more staying in bed, etc.

Get ahead of yourself by setting an alarm in the morning so you wake up at a regular time, and try to maintain a normal bedtime. It might be hard to ‘update’ your biological clock at first, but once you are used to it you will probably feel better.

2. Stay physically active

With the third wave of COVID-19, a lot of options to stay active closed down in the Netherlands. But now that things are getting better again, you should take advantage of the increasingly available options to exercise. If you went to the gym before, it can be difficult to find motivation to go again. Try to find a friend or other social contact to go with, or set a goal for yourself to find motivation. If you don’t want to go to a gym, there are plenty of other options to work out at home. Try watching a video on YouTube or download a workout app.

If you don’t feel like exercising, try to go on a walk every now and then (or better yet, make it a part of your daily routine). Sometimes it is best to walk without the purpose of the walk being to get from point A to point B, so you can clear your head and get some fresh air.

3. Stay socially active

Remaining socially active is also of great importance. Try to organize a socially-distanced get-together with friends or classmates, or if you don’t feel comfortable meeting in person you could always propose an online activity. If you feel like you don’t have a local network of friends to fall back on, try organizing an online meeting with family or friends. There are plenty of online activities, and plenty of streaming services have watch-along features nowadays.

4. Don’t overthink

While it is important to stay informed about COVID-19, all the news available can be quite overwhelming. Doing a lot of research about it might feel like a good idea, but it can actually lead to more anxiety. Try to gain some perspective and don’t over-analyze things. Instead of worrying, try to find something positive to focus your mind on.

If things still feel overwhelming and concerning, try sharing your concerns with a friend or relative. They can help you find a solution to problems or ease your mind.

These tips might help you feel better, but if you still want to speak to someone, don’t hesitate to contact us. Reaching out to someone is always a good first step in helping yourself.

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