What can I do as I don’t want to go out or into a shop to get my shopping?

During the COVID–19 pandemic, many of us are practising social distancing and keeping indoors to avoid the risk of spreading the disease. For many of us it means studying from home, streaming workouts and films in our living rooms or taking online lectures, and classes. While our daily routines have drastically changed in the past week, one thing that hasn’t is our need for food. Thankfully, grocery stores and supermarkets have kept their doors open and shelves stocked so we can keep our fridges and cupboards well stocked.

Now it may look like you’re in a real life game of snakes and ladders but be assured that it is not the case! Many shops have introduced queueing systems and social distancing markers before entering their stores and also throughout the shops! However, people are being advised to limit unnecessary journeys outside, so if you're worried about going into the shop, why not opt for home delivery? Many of the supermarkets and local stores are offering delivery services, and there are still precautions that you can implement to reduce your likeliness of infection.

Here are some tips for conscious grocery shopping while social distancing:

  1. Ask for the groceries to be left outside your door
  2. Wash your hand before and after you pick up the groceries
  3. If contactless delivery is available ensure you avail of it
  4. Disinfect all nonporous containers, think cans, bottles and jars
  5. Wash any fresh fruit and vegetables and use clean hands to remove any soil or dirt
  6. Once you put away all your groceries, disinfect all services that the bags have touched

What can I do as I can’t go out for food?

The hospitality industry has taken a massive hit during this time. Since the announcement from the Government and HSE Advice about social distancing guidelines many of our local and favourite cafes, restaurants and food businesses have been affected in various ways and were forced to close their doors. While this has meant putting your weekly meals out and your post walk coffees on hold for a few weeks, in order to prevent the spread of the often-deadly disease, the good news is that many of our favourite places have since reopened their doors.

These testing times have pushed businesses to be inventive, and many have come up with new ways to deliver food and groceries to customers, and continue to do so. However, if you still cannot avail of your daily flat white, your classic ham and cheese sandwich or that famous chicken fillet roll, you can still learn how to make it yourself with some online resources. There is the perfect time to perfect your cooking skills, if you haven’t mastered them already!

Check out the website links below:
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/recipes-2/
http://www.hub.nuigstudents.ie/recipe-section/
https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/student


I'm a healthy adult, is it OK to visit my friends and elderly relatives?

Older people are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 if they contact it. It is important to help slow the spread of the virus, which is done by minimising contact between individuals. The government have stated that those aged over 70 and the medically vulnerable need to ‘use one’s judgement’ as normal life needs to resume.

In order to protect our older relatives and neighbours, it is essential that we adhere to government guidelines when visiting.  It is important that both they and those around them maintain physical distancing from visitors and when visiting, use face coverings during indoor visits and while out shopping or in busy places. These groups are encouraged to follow the 3 C’s simple rule- avoid crowds, avoid too many contacts and avoid closed environments that are not well ventilated.

We are still encouraged to stay in touch regularly with them, so they don’t feel isolated. We can still video call them, or how about you pick up the phone and call them? Or speak to them through an open window of their house? If you have some time spare get creative and create a memory box for your older relatives with photos, letters or their favourite sweets!

How can I stay active during social isolation?

The thought of staying at home for a long period of time was overwhelming and scary for many of us, especially those who were accustomed to keeping fit and active while hitting that daily step count! Rather than worrying about all of this, we embraced the unusual situation we found ourselves in and become creative, signing up to online zoom sessions, taking the dog for a walk- to the point that they began to refuse to go or would hide once the lead was brought out!. Many of you used this time as an opportunity to try out one of those new, at home workouts you’ve never tried before, put away that pile of laundry or incorporated more healthy habits into your daily routine. Remember, staying active has been scientifically proven to benefit your mood and overall well-being.

Now that society is beginning to return to normal, it sees the reopening of gyms across the country, however for some many gyms remain closed. There are many sessions being held in outdoor areas now also. So, if you’re longing to get back to some routine, make sure to check out what your local sports clubs, gym or partnership has to offer. If you’re still unsure about returning to large events check out our tips below on how to keep moving from the comfort of your own home.

1.    Stick to an active routine

2.    Stretch in the living room

3.    Try an at home workout

4.    Maintain/ take up hobbies that keep you moving!

5.    Up your bodyweight workouts

6.    Take the stairs (if you have one)

7.    Get creative and re-create walks

8.    Remain in touch

9.    Keep the mind active

What can I do if I’m self-isolating and worried that I won’t see people for a long time?

The best way to help you feel that you’re still in contact with people, is to redefine ’see’. Before all this started, we were dependant on remote communication to keep in touch with many friends and loved ones, so the only real thing that has change now is the physical proximity. 'See’ now means we have to connect through our phones, screens or even windows!

Why not set aside three to five times each day where you contact a friend or loved one, to ’see’ them for a catch up. Focus fully on them during that time. This will give that sense of connection we all need. 

The SocBox have gone live and are holding shows weekly on Zoom where people can drop in for a chat and hang out, play games or chat to other people. The best thing is that they’re recorded so don’t worry if you miss it! You can find out more information or view previous programmes here.

The NUI Galway Virtual Summer Festival will also take place from August 26th- 29th so make sure to keep an eye out for more details.

What can I do if I’m feeling lonely?

Loneliness during the recent outbreak of COVID-19 has become a major concern for everyone as more people as setting up in their homes in isolation. Why not try out some of the suggestions below.

  1. Hang out with some non-humans – Animals are great at making us feel connected and cared for. Pets, especially dogs and cats, can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and ease loneliness. Ask your neighbours, family or friends if they have a dog you could take for a walk occasionally
  2. Use technology for social interaction. Don't retreat from social interaction – regular phone and video chatting with close friends and family is important for mental health. Video chat with grandparents, friends and/or cousins.

Remember: everyone has times when they feel lonely. Trying even a few new things can help reduce your isolation and should help you start to feel better.

What can I do without leaving my home?

  1. Exercise
  2. Read a book
  3. Doodle/Drawing/Painting
  4. Make a list of all the positives in your life
  5. Take an online course

How do I stay connected while practising social distancing?

Firstly, you need to think about how you interact with others without putting your (or their) health at risk. Check out some of the tips below:

  1. In Italy we have seen that they have managed to stay connected by speaking to each other from over a fence or across balconies. Can you speak to your neighbours/friends/ family members from over a fence or across a balcony?
  2. Use technology to stay in touch, if you have access to it. If you have a smartphone, use it to video call other, as by seeing someone’s facial expressions, it can help increase connection
  3. Check in with your friends, family, and neighbours regularly. Wherever you can, assist people in your life who may be more vulnerable (for example, those with no access to the internet or who cannot easily use the internet to shop online)
  4. Spend the time connecting with the people you are living with
  5. Manage your stress levels through exercise, meditation, and keeping to a daily routine as much as you can
  6. Remember, it’s not just your family and friends who require support, but also others in your community. Showing kindness towards others not only helps them but can also increase your sense of purpose and value, improving your own well-being.

I’m not leaving the house and lots of anxiety is giving me issues with my sleep, what can I do to get a better night’s sleep?

Many of us aren’t used to being confined to the house, which can be problematic for our sleeping patterns. Are you struggling to get a good night’s sleep? Well, try starting your day early, making sure you take aerobic exercise for at least 20 minutes at the same time each day, and ensure you eat your meals at set times. This will help you avoid grazing and overeating.

In the evening, take 10–30 minutes of the last hour of your bedtime routine doing something that relaxes you, such as taking a bath or doing some gentle stretches. You should make sure your bedroom is cool but not cold. Once in bed, read from a book, not a screen.

How can I stay positive and healthy during this time?

It’s important during this time not to be too hard on yourself. As the coronavirus is changing daily, sometimes even hourly, the need for social distancing is clear. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. We are social beings, and this is something we’ve never been asked to do before. We have an entire system that responds to touch and social proximity that contributes to our sense of well- being and connection in the world.

Here are some suggestions on how to stay positive and healthy:

  • Maintain a connection with people that you care about- social distance does not mean no social contact. Face to face conversations are not possible right now, so instead video call, chat or phone each other.
  • Schedule your interactions- Figure out what interactions are most important for you, this could be a virtual happy hour with friends, family members, nieces or nephews. Set up virtual dates and add them to your diary! Thus, it’s more likely to happen.
  • Use social media actively- Don't just sit there. Research has found that restricting your total time on these can decrease depression and loneliness, particularly if you are using your time actively by connecting with family and friends.  Active use and less time just scrolling is important!

Is it important that I keep a routine?

Maintaining a routine is critical during this time of social isolation/distancing. Wake up at the same time, get dressed every day and treat the weekend as the weekend. Ensure you plan your daily tasks and schedule regular stretch and food breaks. These breaks will allow you to be more focused at the task in hand and they will also prevent you from mindless eating. Make sure to have nutritious and healthy snacks.

By developing a routine, you will feel more in control everything, and help you make room for all that’s important. Routines will help you cope with these changes that we are experiencing, to continue with healthy habits, and reduce stress levels.

What are some strategies to cope with feeling lonely?

This is an uncertain time for everyone so staying in touch with family and friends is more important than ever. Thankfully we live in a year where technology is at hand so we can maintain social connections.

Technology such as FaceTime, zoom and other resources are our friends right now. We use them every day and now we should be using them for less formal interactions. When we are present with people, we don’t expect every interaction to be productive. We mess, laugh and gossip and these moments are vital to feel a sense of connection, so now we need to find ways on how to replicate them online.  

If you meet up for your friends or families daily or weekly for coffee, why not create a zoom channel to take your coffee breaks online. Likewise, consider cooking the same meal or doing a workout with your gym partner on FaceTime.

  • If you live in an area where you can go outside, while still maintaining the social distance of 2 meters (six feet) between each other, head out for a walk or a run.
  • If you're working on assignments at home, create an online group with friends. Meet for a video lunch: just turn the camera and eat ‘’together’’
  • Text messages are quick and easy ways to stay connected, you can set up a WhatsApp group and chat throughout the day, this contact will really make a difference
  • Plan to watch TV shows with friends at the same time or explore Google Arts & Culture or Chatter Pack for free online boredom resources.

How do I overcome this feeling of loneliness?

Finding ways to overcome loneliness can include things you do yourself, and finding things to do with other people. Some of the tips below may be useful for you.

Relaxation- techniques such as writing in a journal or diary, listening to music, yoga or meditation can help you to relax when alone.

Talk- with people who you interact with every day, this can be a family member, college friend or sibling. Start a conversation around the topic of favourite TV or Netflix show, what’s happening in your area, or even just about the weather.

Connect- Reach out to friends and ask them how they are doing. Stay in touch and check in with them regularly. Who knows they might be feeling the same way!

Joining- Get involved in online classes, check out some volunteering opportunities in your local community or join a society club or society on campus. Not only will you meet new people, but more than likely these people will have the same interest as you. Take up a new instrument, learn a new language or even do an online cooking class! The opportunities are endless.

I prefer talking to people in person as I'm bad with talking over social media, what can I do?

Let’s face it we’ve all been there! When pressure arises, we find ourselves struggling with what to say and experience being ‘lost for words’. These situations can be deemed awkward and nerve- wracking, but it’s perfectly normal to feel that way.

Here are some simple tips to help you out.

  • Listen- We know, you're reading but you still must pay attention. Take an interest in what others have said.
  • Show up- Check in daily and participate in the conversation. Don’t just show up once a week and mass comment on everything that people have said, be present every day.
  • Ask questions- The best way to get people to respond is to ask them a question something simple as ‘’I’m looking for a good movie to watch, any recommendations?’’, or, ‘’ How are you spending your days?’’.

I miss people I used to hang out with in college and I feel like I'm being annoying contacting them, what can I do?

Right now, we have been through self-isolation, lockdown over the past few months, and yes as we continue to social distance, it may feel like we are annoying people by contacting them on social platforms. But it is important to remember that during this time we need to emphasise the importance of social interaction for our mental health and well-being.

Below are some suggestions to help you stay connected to your college friends in the days and weeks ahead.

  • Set up a schedule where ye arrange to Facetime, Zoom or WhatsApp at a set time during the day
  • Decide to meet up once this is over
  • Download Discord and make voice or video calls on your phone or laptop
  • Set up a Netflix party
  • Use Watch2Gether where you can watch YouTube and other online videos with friends
  • Play Cards against Humanity with your friends online.

I’m not sure where to find information for online resources that I can use?

If you’re unsure why not check out https://www.nuigstudents.ie/which has plenty of information on how to stay connected and find things to do during isolation!
The useful pages are linked below:

Self- Care during Isolation
COVID-19 Information
Covid-19 FAQ
Entertainment in Isolation

These will be updated daily so be sure to check back, answer polls and watch the videos that we are putting up for you all!