With COVID-19 numbers on the rise across the UK, the chances that someone in your university halls or student accommodation in Lancaster will receive a positive COVID-19 test result are high. If this happens, you and your entire household will need to self-isolate for fourteen days.
When self-isolating, you must not leave your accommodation and travel anywhere, including going out for exercise. You cannot go to any university lectures or seminars, or any events or appointments.
Self-isolating can be challenging for anyone, but it’s especially hard for students, many of whom will be living away from home for the first time with a group of people they may not know very well. So, if you need to self-isolate, or worry you may have to in the coming months, here is some advice for self-isolating students.
Preparing for Self-Isolation
It’s important to prepare ahead for self-isolation, so you don’t run into problems. Fourteen days is a long time to go without being able to leave your accommodation, so you will need to know exactly how you plan to get food, any medicines required and how to keep yourself busy and active, so you don’t go stir crazy.
Speak to a friend or family member that lives outside your household and ask if they would be willing to help bring essentials to your door during your self-isolation. You could offer to do the same for them if they also need to isolate, creating a buddy system that ensures you won’t be left without provisions.
Check your university procedures for who to contact if you need to self-isolate; you will need to let all your tutors know you won’t be attending any in-person seminars for the duration.
Set up an account with a supermarket for online delivery, this will save time when you inevitably need to order a food delivery. You can also set up an account with the various takeaway delivery services like Deliveroo and UberEATS, as they can also deliver general groceries as well as takeaways.
If you are not currently self-isolating, on your next food shop, consider stocking up on some long-life items like canned goods and dried food like pasta and rice. There’s no need to go mad, but having an adequate supply of food that won’t go off will ensure that you won’t go hungry if you can’t get a food delivery for the first few days of your self-isolation.
Food and Deliveries
Ensuring you and your household have enough food for the fourteen-day isolation period will be the most important thing. You cannot go out to the supermarket yourself, but you likely won’t be able to live on takeaways alone, as this will seriously drain your bank account.
It would be best if you asked others for help, other students close to you or even members of your local community. Facebook has plenty of resources, including local COVID-19 groups where you can post where you are and ask if anyone is willing to do your food shopping for you. If collecting shopping from a friend, ensure you wash and sanitise your hands before going outside to pick up the shopping, wear a face covering and do not get close to or engage with the person dropping off your delivery.
Alternatively, you can order shopping online from any major supermarket, and they will deliver to you. They should leave your items outside your accommodation for you to collect. If you’re struggling to get a delivery slot and can’t find people to help, contact your university, they should have provisions in place to help struggling students who are self-isolating.
Now that you’ve got your meals sorted, you need to take care of yourself during isolation. Fourteen days locked in a house can take its toll on anyone, so it’s essential to look after your mental health just as much as your physical health.
There are plenty of ways to connect with others during your self-isolation. University societies are running lots of events online, so you can get involved and chat with people over the internet. Don’t forget to call home to your parents and your old school friends to keep loneliness at bay.
You and your housemates are all in the same boat, so why not engage in some activates together? Film nights, game nights or even just communally cooking a meal together are all great ways to socialise and enjoy your time indoors.
However, being stuck indoors with the same people with no way of avoiding their company can be draining, especially if you find you don’t get along very well. So make sure you take some time for self-care, whether that’s by taking a bath, listening to some music, reading, watching your favourite show curled up in bed or engaging in some much-needed exercise. There are plenty of workouts you can do at home, no equipment required. Check out the plethora of workout videos on YouTube to get started.
If you’re struggling, contact your university. They will have mental health facilities available, including counsellors and online resources that can help you.
If you need any guidance about the Coronavirus situation in Lancaster, take a look at the Lancaster GOV website to find out what’s going on.