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UCAT Preparation During Coronavirus - Tip 5: Cultivate Wellbeing

CORONAVIRUS__UCAT_PREPARATION---Tip-5

The coronavirus pandemic and resulting social isolation requirements has led to significant changes in the way we live. This change occurred dramatically, and without warning. In response, it is natural to feel stressed, overwhelmed and anxious. However, if left unchecked, these feelings can have a detrimental impact on your wellbeing and UCAT performance in this crucial year. MedEntry’s aim is to provide guidance and assistance to you during this challenging time.

This blog series covers how to effectively prepare for UCAT during coronavirus and social isolation. The principles outlined in these blogs are also useful for your school and university study.

Our last four blogs covered tip 1: Optimise Your Study Environment, tip 2: Create a Routine and UCAT Study Plan, tip 3: Make the most of Remote UCAT Learning and tip 4: Keep up your Motivation. In this blog, we will cover tip 5:

Cultivate Wellbeing

Look after your physical health

It is vital to look after your physical health during the coronavirus pandemic. Ensure you are taking the basic, recommended precautions to prevent contracting COVID-19, including frequent handwashing and social distancing. If you become unwell or believe you have been in contact with anyone with confirmed COVID-19, seek medical attention immediately.

It is also important to look after other aspects of your physical health, including cooking and eating healthy meals and getting sufficient sleep.

Social distancing restrictions may have led to your usual sporting activities, gym memberships or social exercise routines being disrupted. It is therefore even more important that you take the initiative to engage in regular exercise. Try to do this at least once per day, and preferably outside. This will help clear your brain, help you study for UCAT more effectively and boost your wellbeing.

Look after your psychological health

When a significant change occurs in our lives, it is normal to feel anxious and stressed. This is particularly so in the current environment, where you may not be allowed to see your friends, engage in your usual activities or socialise as you usually would. Others in your household may also be stressed due to work or financial challenges.

It is important to acknowledge and be aware of these feelings, recognise that it is ok to feel them, and to speak to someone if you become overwhelmed.

Make sure you connect with your friends and family on a regular basis, at least once a day, via virtual means if necessary. Try to limit how much you talk about COVID-19 – it can be easy to focus your conversations on this, which can increase anxiety.

Other tips for looking after yourself emotionally are to:

  • Practice mindfulness, meditation and deep breathing. Take a few minutes each day to do this. There are some useful apps available to help, such as Headspace or Calm
  • Keep a gratefulness journal, where you record three things you are grateful for each day. This will help you cultivate a positive and optimistic mindset
  • Set yourself daily limits for screen time. It is easy to get absorbed in hysteria and panic on social media. If anything makes you feel uneasy, then delete or block it
  • Schedule regular breaks in your study or UCAT preparation, and reward yourself when you complete a task
  • Keep in mind that everyone is in the same boat. Focus on what you can do now, which is to prepare for UCAT, rather than worrying about what might happen in the future

Finally, remember that the current situation will not last forever. You will soon be able to start engaging in your regular activities, and you will come out of the coronavirus pandemic more grateful, more resilient and stronger than ever.

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