March 25, 2020

The Welfare Department Guide to Coronavirus

Gar-Hou Tran Gar-Hou Tran, Welfare

 We recognise that everyone will process events that have happened here and globally, and days to come, in different ways and at different paces 🌏 The most important thing is having a support network, whether that be friends, family or seeking out professional help 💙 This guide is only a recommendation of how to make the most of your time at home, and we encourage you to reach out to any of the sources listed in External Support if you would like some help from a professional 🤝 The Guild and Welfare Department stands by all students affected by COVID-19, here or abroad, and affirm to continue supporting your wellbeing as best we can 🥰

This week, UWA lectures, laboratories and tutorials will be moved off-campus and online where possible, making it easier for you to stay at home 🏡! However, this can be a difficult time for some, whether or not you’re self isolating, so we’ve put together a Guide to Coronavirus and will be sharing it over the next few days - we hope it helps you navigate your way through this new and uncertain time 💙   

External Support

To start it all off, we thought we’d share some super valuable and helpful external support sources if you ever have questions, issues or difficulty during self-isolation 👐🏼

☎️ The Federal Department of Health’s Coronavirus Health Information Line, reachable via 1800 020 080, operates 24/7 and is here for all your questions and concerns related to COVID-19. 

🧠 Headspace, an organisation dedicated to helping young people with their mental health has an article on coping with COVID-19 as a young person, so make sure to give it a read! They also offer online support via chat and telephone, if you want to talk to an eheadspace clinician 💚

💙 Beyond Blue have created an amazing resource full of resources, tips and strategies for your mental health during this time of isolation. You can also call 1300 22 4636 to talk to someone if you're struggling.

😊 Our own Student Assist team is contactable via [email protected]ld.uwa.edu.au and will be able to help you out as best they can, with any more campus-specific enquiries or issues. They have also put some self-isolation advice and resources together for UWA students!

👂🏼 If you’d like to reach out to our UWA Counselling and Psychological Services, they’re available online as part of the campus’ transition; click here to find out how to set up an appointment and what software you’ll need! 

📚 If you need help getting back on the grind, STUDYSmarter is still here to help out!

📧 Or if in doubt, email [email protected] if you’re not sure where to find the right support you need or if you just want to drop a line! The Guild Welfare Department will be running plenty of online events over the next few weeks to support your wellbeing from the comfort of your (and their) own home, so keep an eye out on their socials!

Hygiene

By now, you’ve probably seen plenty of guides to good (and simple) hygiene, but why is this important? 🤔  Hygiene is important to guarantee not only your own health and safety, but also those around you, especially the elderly and immuno-compromised 🤧  It’s easy to forget these things so try and do them as much as possible to build them up into habits!

We’ve split them into two categories: hands 🖐🏼 and personal space 👥.

Instead of sneezing and coughing into your hands, shield them with tissues 🤧 or your inner elbow, and always regularly wash your hands with warm water and soap or hand sanitiser 🧼. Avoid hugs and handshakes; maybe go for a fun foot tap instead! 👟 

When you’re in public, be mindful of your proximity to others and maintain 1.5 metres where possible 📏; dispose of your used tissues ASAP 🗑️ and avoid touching your face, nose, mouth and eyes 👀 

Small actions like these go a long way for our community health, so always be mindful especially after coming into contact with surfaces such as door handles, bus handrails, and make a habit of regularly cleaning down your phone and laptop 💻

Health

A strong immune system can protect you from, or at least minimise the impacts of, COVID-19 🦠! But minimising your time outside can make it harder, so here are some of our tips for supporting a strong, healthy immune system: 

1. Regular sleep is important in order to repair your body during the night and keep it running smoothly! 😴 This means having eight hours of sleep at a reasonable hour, and avoiding naps during the day, sleep-ins and late nights of course 🛌🏼

2. It’s hard to get out, especially if you’re staying in, but even 20 minutes outside on your balcony and backyard can give you the right dose of fresh air, vitamin D and greenery that will recharge your body ☀️. Going for walks in public is fine, but make sure to practice good hygiene and distancing when you leave the house 🚶🏼‍♂️

3. Even with all the supermarket chaos going on, be mindful of others and their needs when you go grocery shopping 🛒 If you don’t want to pop to the shops as often as you would normally, we recommend stocking up (in good measure) on: 

  • Rice, pasta and noodles as a base for all your meals 🍚
  • Protein, whether that be tofu or meat
  • Fruits and vegetables, frozen, fresh or tinned; if you can’t find frozen fruits or veggies but have freezer space, then buy an amount of them to set aside in your freezer for later! 🍅🥫
  • Whether you’re a gym junkie or not a big fan of exercise, there are plenty of opportunities for indoor fitness to strengthen your immune system! This could be yoga 🧘🏼‍♀️, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or even learning Tiktok Dances! 💃🏼

It can be easy to forget these simple things during a time like this, but if you incorporate them slowly into your daily routine, they can help strengthen your immune system against COVID-19 and make your time in self-isolation much more interesting and enjoyable! 😊

Wellbeing

Being alone can be hard, but with so much technology around it’s never been easier to still keep in touch with your friends (or make new ones!) 📱. Most chat apps have built-in group video call features, so take advantage of that to schedule in ‘group lunches’ for when you usually would have met on campus 🥪

Even better, use services such as Netflix Party or Rabbit to stream your favourite films together or start new TV series together 📺. Other services like Discord could be great if you want to game together or multiplayer games such as Words with Friends can be a great way to interact with your friends throughout the day if you don’t have time for a video call! 🎮

Most importantly, limit your intake of news to an appropriate amount 📰. It’s important to monitor the situation but sometimes it can overwhelming, so limit your intake to trusted and official sources like the Federal Department of Health and check once in the morning and once in the evening . 

And don’t forget to keep up with the good news! 💙 There are many accounts out there who publish the good news coming out of the COVID-19 situation, and also in general. Our top recommendations are @goodgoodgoodco and @goodnewsmovement but we’d love to hear yours too! 

Reflection

This time in self-isolation could also be a great time to reflect on a lot of things positively. Things to think (and write) about include: 

What you’re grateful for in this world, and what you’re looking forward to when the situation eases. This can be the small things that are consistently part of your day or the big things (or people) in your life 🥰

Use this opportunity to reconnect with family, friends and loved ones 👯. If you’re still living with family, despite the opportunity for technology to stay connected with friends it could also be a great time to put down the devices and check-in with your family 🏡

And it’s also an exciting chance to pick up a hobby that you’ve always wanted to try, but have never had time for. Some suggestions from us are: trying out music, whether that be with an instrument you already have or playing around digitally with applications like GarageBand 🎸; art, again whether that’s with materials you have around the house or trying online design and illustration 🎨; and learning a new language, either verbal or non-verbal, i.e. sign language! 💬

There are tonnes of online resources and videos out there to learn all these cool and neat things, so get out there and explore! Tag us in all your learning journeys in the quest to pick up new habits, we’d love to see them! @uwaguild_welfare

Productivity

For some, this will be a great time to bring some focus to their work and use it to their advantage to boost their productivity ; and for others, it’s a time to regroup, relax and reflect 😌. It's okay for you to deal and use your time at home in a different way and at a different pace than others. Whether you’re either of those people or somewhere in between, that’s all good and you shouldn’t feel any pressure to work any harder than you have, or need to

Regardless, you should still stay on top of your units; here are some tips from us on how to maintain your productivity, especially with everything moving online!

Maintain your regular routine as much as possible, by waking up and going to bed when you usually would, keeping your regular meal times and intakes and also attending your online classes like you usually would!

We’re not saying you have to dress to the 9s for your in-home campus 👔, but switching out of your PJs into something else can help to distinguish your work-time from your regular home life, and maintain a sense of routine; in addition to this, work from a desk and chair 🪑 versus your bed (save your bed for Netflix!). 

And keep an eye out on all your emails and LMS to stay up to date with how your coordinators will be running your in-person classes , as well as how assessments and weightings will be changed 📥

 ✊🏼 Make sure you know your rights for assessments and remember: 

Read all about it in our Assessment Policy Guide or contact [email protected] for any questions or concerns!  

  • That group assessments still have a maximum 30% weighting
  • Any one exam still cannot be weighted more than 60%
  • You can now self-declare special consideration for up to 14 days without the need for a medical certificate (in Semester 1 or equivalent non-standard teaching period)!

The sudden transition to online university can be overwhelming but take a day to reflect on how you previously have gone about your university week, what worked for you ✅ and think about how to incorporate that into your new uni week 💭

Stay safe and healthy everyone, and reach out if you need to!

💙 The Welfare Department
IG: @uwaguild_welfare  
FB: @uwastudentguildwelfare