Blog post

How I Look After my Wellbeing

Completing her degree during the pandemic took its toll on Kieya. Here, she explains the steps she took to support her wellbeing.

By Kieya Tabingo - 2 March 2021

I am a freshly graduated student from the International Tourism Management course and am still awaiting the ceremony. We are all waiting to celebrate something right now, and good things come to those who wait.

For the time being, I’m allowing myself to celebrate how far I’ve come in my wellbeing. When the coronavirus was classed as a pandemic back in March 2020, I began to study from home; staring at those same four walls every day can be tough. Finishing my dissertation drained me emotionally, physically, and mentally. It was a tricky time to be a student, and still is to some degree. These are unprecedented times for current students, and I hope that you’re still managing to look after yourself.

As students, the majority of us feel pressured to perform well in our degrees. As a result, we end up having tunnel vision, a one-track mind to success if you will. Then we get to the end and we see all the things we ignored along the way. Last summer I gained what I set out to achieve. Yet my wellbeing had taken a backseat during that time and I felt I had lost myself along the way.

Start from within

We need to take into account that looking after yourself has to start from within. You need that driver and that want. I was super burnt out. When the pandemic hit, I had to accustom myself to a new way of living, a new environment for learning. It threw me off-course a little. In those moments  I was going through big stages in my life and discovered that my wellbeing was last on my list of priorities.

How I began to take care

So how did I start taking care of myself? I think the biggest thing that I had to do was to rewire my brain to understand that I cannot be in control of everything. I had a tight grip of my day-to-day life before lockdown, I planned every minute of every day. So, I took more days off, I did things that I enjoyed. I was easing my way into learning how to relax. I played Animal Crossing since its release, and still do every day (I have an emotional attachment). I read books that were gathering dust in my room, I was cooking new dishes that I had seen on Facebook. I found my way back to God.

Goal setting

Next, I set goals for myself. Small at first, then gradually bigger. I tried to manage my emotions, the best I could, so I didn’t bottle them up. To manage the stress of not being able to travel and visit friends, I wrote. I bought a notebook and titled it The Graduate’s Solitude in hopes that at the end of lockdown I would be less alone with my thoughts.

For anger, I bought an electronic drums kit to thrash out the anger I felt about all this madness – and finally jam to tunes. I hope by the next post I can update to tell you I can master Knights of Cydonia by Muse.

Second year student, Kieya looks outwards towards the sea.

Reaching out

Finally, the biggest combatant was – is - loneliness. I am fortunate enough that through a new job we were offered counselling services. I tell you about this because seeking help really shouldn’t be a taboo topic. I hope that people in this difficult time have reached out for help in some way. To be alleviated from the burden has helped me with my wellbeing in every aspect. It helped me, even more, to understand my body, and importantly my mind.

One of the things that I was told is that right now we are all living a monotonous life, every day being very similar, and not being fully able to do all the things we love. With the little freedoms we have, let’s use this time and shake it up. Take a different route when walking, dance embarrassingly to your guilty pleasure playlist, get the endorphins up and running. Trust me, in the long run, sleeping happily is better than staying in bed all day.

Health is wealth

Finally, try not to over-exhaust yourself by doing too much, even if it is the things you enjoy. Everything you do, try and do it with moderation. In other words, take it one day at a time. Your health is wealth, be sure to remember that when writing a 3,000 word essay.

About the author

Kieya Tabingo
Third year student in International Tourism Management

I'm a third year International Tourism Management student at the University of Derby. I'm a little bit from everywhere, and your amateur connoisseur of food and travel.