General advice for students, staff and visitors

Advice and information about coronavirus Covid-19 that is relevant to everyone. If you have immediate concerns for your own health please call NHS 111 or use the NHS online coronavirus service.

Covid-19 (coronavirus)

Typical symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste (anosmia)

Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

For the latest information see the UK Government guidance on Covid-19.

The University has implemented enhanced cleaning regimes, which means there will be a greater focus on the cleaning of surfaces and touch points in communal spaces, and hand sanitisers have been placed in high traffic areas across campus.  

There are general principles everyone can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • If you feel unwell, stay at home, do not attend work or school
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment
  • If you are worried about your symptoms, please call NHS 111. Do not go directly to your GP or another healthcare environment

You can visit the Public Health England blog for more information.

Working with teams across the University, we have been developing a comprehensive plan in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. All of our planning and decision-making has been informed by risk assessment, following the guidance from the UK Government and the Health and Safety Executive, together with our own University policies.

  • Signage

Bespoke Covid-secure signage – including wall and floor markers outlining social distancing requirements, one-way flows to reduce congestion and occupancy protocols in lifts, laboratories and teaching rooms – has been installed across campus, as well as signage indicating the need to keep hands clean and the requirement to wear a face covering.

  • Enhanced cleaning/hygiene protocols

In addition to more frequent and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of touch points, toilets and kitchen facilities, we have also installed over 200 disinfectant wipe dispensers in teaching areas, social spaces and large offices, and more than 450 perspex screens at many teaching lecterns, computer labs, catering facilities and reception points. Where necessary, and following our risk assessed protocols, colleagues in EFCS will use disinfectant fogging machines to clean larger areas.

  • Social distancing

In accordance with UK government guidance, the University has taken action to reconfigure spaces to create appropriate social distancing at 2m (where this is viable) or at 1m with added risk mitigation measures in place. All measures have been implemented following formal risk assessment.

  • Face coverings

Everyone is required to wear a face covering in all University shared indoor spaces, including while moving through buildings and within teaching, learning and study environments. There are a number of exceptions which can be found in the face covering section of the University Covid-19 policy.

Although we expect that most people already have their own face coverings, the University will provide all staff and students with a high-quality face covering.

We take this opportunity to ask all of our staff and students to be mindful and respectful towards members of our community who, due to exceptional circumstances, may be unable to wear a face covering; their reasons for this may not be visible to others.

As part of the building re-opening procedures, following UK government guidance the EFCS maintenance team have already taken steps to improve ventilation, including increasing fan speeds and stopping the recirculation of air in mechanical ventilation systems. Please familiarise yourself with the actions you can take every day to support good ventilation in your areas of work.

  • Risk assessment of measures

The University Health and Safety Directorate has undertaken a number of reviews of potential precautionary/risk mitigation measures, such as the use of face visors/shields and temperature screening for the detection of Covid-19.

Based on the current research and evidence available, the use of temperature screening does not provide any significant benefit and may reduce personal responsibility. It is therefore not recommended for use at the University. If you are unwell, we need you to stay at home.

Face visors/shields are classified as PPE (personal protective equipment) and may be required when working in very close contact with others and whilst also wearing a PPE face mask. These may be recommended/provided following a specific risk assessment.

You can read the full details of the Covid-secure measures that we have implemented in the University Covid-19 health and safety policy.

Yes! The University recognises the UK Government regulations on the wearing and advice/guidance on the safe use of face coverings. There is evidence to suggest that, when used correctly, face coverings may reduce the likelihood of someone with the infection passing it on to others, particularly if they are asymptomatic.

It is a requirement to wear a face covering in all shared indoor University spaces, including whilst moving through buildings and within teaching, learning and study environments. Although not an exhaustive list, here are some common examples:

  • In a University vehicle when necessary to travel with a passenger
  • In a meeting, when it is absolutely necessary to meet face-to-face
  • When walking through buildings and corridors
  • When in one of the catering outlets (can be removed if you are seated to eat/drink)
  • Walking round an open plan office
  • During a fire evacuation and at the assembly point
  • Collecting or delivering post from/to Central Distribution
  • In a kitchen or pantry*
  • In a toilet/washroom facility*

*If these areas are located in your home (i.e. University residence) then wearing a face covering is required if you are self-isolating and only within the common areas of your shared flat.

In some exceptional circumstances a face covering will not be required: these circumstances are outlined in the face covering section of our Covid-19 University policy. Please be mindful and respectful towards members of our community who may not be able to wear a face covering and that their reasons for this may not be visible to others.

We have arranged for all staff and students to receive one reusable face covering, which will be available as you return to campus. Staff will be contacted by their faculty or department administration team with details about how to collect their face covering.

New students will be invited to collect a face covering when they attend registration in University Hall during Welcome Week.

All returning undergraduate and postgraduate taught students are invited to collect their face covering between Monday 28 September to Friday 2 October. To help us maintain social distancing and reduce queuing, please visit during one of your faculty timeslots detailed below. Please note: you are required to wear a face covering in all indoor University spaces, so you will need to wear one while collecting your University face covering. 

FEPS: University Hall  

  • Monday 28 September, 9am-12noon 
  • Tuesday 29 September, 3pm-6pm                           
  • Wednesday 30 September, 3pm-6pm                    
  • Thursday 1 October, 3pm-6pm                            

FASS: University Hall  

  • Monday 28 September, 3pm-6pm                 
  • Tuesday 29 September, 9am-12noon 
  • Wednesday 30 September, 9am-12noon 
  • Thursday 1 October, 9am-12noon 

FHMS School of Health Sciences and School of Vet Med: Kate Granger building 

  • Monday 28 September, 9am-4pm 

FHMS School of Biosciences and Medicine and School of Psychology: University Hall  

  • Friday 2 October, 9am-12noon and 3pm-5pm 

On Monday 14 September the UK Government made informal social gatherings (indoors and outdoors) of more than six people illegal in England, with some exemptions for organised gatherings. Gatherings can be more than six if it is for work or education purposes, or Covid-secure weddings, funerals and organised team sports. 

This is against the law and the police will have the powers to enforce these legal limits, including to issue fines (fixed penalty notices) of £100, doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £3,200.

Announcing the new measures, Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked universities for their cooperation and planning efforts, and also had a direct message for students, saying they should follow the guidance for the sake of their education and relatives, and reiterated that they should not gather in groups of more than six. He also stated that reopening universities was critical for students’ life chances and that the health risk to individuals in the student age group is low.

 

What to do if you think that you might have Covid-19

Phone NHS 111 or visit the NHS online coronavirus service so that you can access free advice and treatment. You can book a test online or by calling 119.

You'll find specific advice about how self-isolation works in accommodation on our students page, and you can also read about how to access our support services on our dedicated MySurrey self-isolation support guide.

For advice about how self-isolation works for employees, please visit our staff page.

You are required to self-isolate in these circumstances:

  • If you have any symptoms of coronavirus 
  • If you've tested positive for coronavirus
  • If you live with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive
  • If someone in your support bubble has symptoms or has tested positive
  • If you're told by NHS Test and Trace that you've been in contact with a person with coronavirus
  • If you’re arriving in the UK from a country not currently on the travel corridor list 

You must self-isolate as soon as you feel unwell, and contact the NHS on 119 or visit the NHS website to arrange for a test. Continue to self-isolate while you wait for your results.

The University is fully supportive of those who have been advised to self-isolate. 

  • Students should use our online self-isolation form
  • Staff should inform their HR contact – ask your line manager if you are not sure how to do this

You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days, contact NHS 111 online or call NHS 111.

Students should also visit our dedicated MySurrey self-isolation support guide to find full details of how we can support you throughout your 14 days of self-isolation.

If you are self-isolating, please follow the advice given by Public Health England. You can also find out more about staying at home and the Government's guidance for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus (Covid-19) infection.

As part of our wider contingency plans to support our campus community, we have created two simple flow charts so that you can see the steps we will take when you notify us that you have received a positive test or that have Covid-19 symptoms.

Please familiarise yourself with the process so that you know how to report and to whom, so that we can offer the right support, take the appropriate actions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our community, and follow appropriate contact tracing procedures. 

The NHS test and trace service forms a central part of the government’s coronavirus (Covid-19) recovery strategy, which seeks to help the nation return to normal as soon as possible for as many people as possible, in a way that is safe and protects the NHS and social care sector.  

The NHS test and trace service: 

  • Provides testing for anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus to find out if they have the virus 
  • Gets in touch with anyone who has had a positive test result to help them share information about any close recent contacts they have had 
  • Alerts those contacts, where necessary, and notifies them they need to self-isolate to help stop the spread of the virus.

We all need to play our part to protect ourselves to protect others. As soon as you develop Covid-19 symptoms, you must self-isolate immediately and call 119 or visit the NHS website to book a test to find out if you have coronavirus. You can read more about the NHS test and trace system.

If you become unwell and develop symptoms while on campus, you must go home, self-isolate and book a coronavirus test, and follow the instructions in the next FAQ.

If a member of staff or friend has helped someone who was taken unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, PHE advise that they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves. They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell with symptoms consistent with coronavirus infection.

Follow the advice you have received from NHS 111 and let the University know you are being tested/have tested positive so that we can support you.

  • If you are a student: please use our online self-isolation form to update us.
  • If you are staff: please contact your HR representative (or ask your line manager if you don't know how to do this and they will then make the appropriate contact with HR).

In addition, anyone can contact Security on +44 (0)1483 683333 if they need immediate assistance.

If a friend or colleague develops symptoms, they may want to tell people they've been in close contact with in the past 48 hours that they might have coronavirus.

Examples of close contact include:

  • close face to face contact (under 1 metre) for any length of time – including talking to them or coughing on them
  • being within 1 to 2 metres of each other for more than 15 minutes – including travelling in a small vehicle
  • spending lots of time in your home, such as cleaning it

If your friend tells you they might have coronavirus, you do not need to self-isolate unless you're contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service. But you should take extra care to follow social distancing advice, including washing your hands often and you must avoid individuals who are at high-risk of contracting Covid-19 (for example, because they have pre-existing medical conditions, such as respiratory issues).

If you have had close contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19, you should stay at home and self-isolate for 14 days from the day you were last in contact with the person – it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear. Please let the University know:

  • If you are a student: please use our online self-isolation form to update us.
  • If you are staff: please contact your HR representative (or ask your line manager if you don't know how to do this and they will then make the appropriate contact with HR).

If you develop symptoms yourself, you need to book a coronavirus test as soon as possible and let the University know.

You can find full details about what to do in this scenario on this designated NHS webpage.

Travel advice

Visit our students and staff pages for specific advice if you are on a study or work placement abroad, an exchange or on a work trip.

It is now mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport, as an added layer of protection will help to keep you and others safe when travelling. It is also now compulsory to wear face coverings when using indoor public transport hubs in England.

Stagecoach has compiled some helpful advice for passengers to consider before using public transport on their frequently asked questions page.

There are other social distancing measures in place for added safety, so you can download the 10-steps to staying safe when you travel document (PDF).

We have also received guidance from local train operators Great Northern (PDF), Thameslink (PDF) and Southern (PDF).

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Travel to some countries and territories is currently exempted.

As the University’s Personal Accident and Travel insurance policy is led by FCO advice, no cover is available for new trips made during the currency of this advice by any traveller regardless of nationality unless it is for ‘essential’ business – authorised by the University. Please contact insurance@surrey.ac.uk for further information.

If you are a resident or visitor travelling to the UK, you must:

  • Provide your journey and contact details up to 48 hours before you’re due to arrive in the UK, by completing the public health passenger locator form
  • The FCO travel advice is being kept under constant review. Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice, so check the FCO travel guidance for specific information about the country you are travelling from before you depart.
  • If quarantine measures apply, you must self-isolate for the first 14 days you’re in the UK. Please follow government guidance on how to implement this.

If you are a student or member of staff abroad (to study, for a work placement or a work-related trip) the expectation is that you would have applied for cover under the University’s Group Travel policy, via Travel Cert, which covers standard risks for travel.

If you are abroad and need advice on insurance please contact the University’s Insurance Officer at insurance@surrey.ac.uk or call +44 (0)1483 689008. If outside working hours, please contact our insurers directly on +44 (0)20 8608 4100 (or email rsa@healix.com) for medical and emergency assistance or +44 (0)330 102 4093 (or email glasgow.accidentalandhealthclaims@uk.rsagroup.com) for non-medical/general claims quoting the University’s Group Travel policy number RTT306251.

If you have travelled abroad to visit friends or family, then you would not be covered by the above insurance, but you should have personal travel insurance, and should contact your provider if your travel arrangements are affected.

If you have made plans to travel for work, study or a placement which need to be cancelled, please be aware that cancellation is only covered by insurance when in line with current FCO travel advice restrictions. Please therefore discuss the optimal timing of your cancellation with the Insurance Officer and your Head of Department.

View more insurance information for staff on SurreyNet.

Please advise your family or friends to check travel restrictions in the country they are travelling from, and also to check the current FCO travel advice.

Health and Wellbeing advice

Looking after your health and wellbeing is so important, and the University has a number of support services that are available for our staff and students:

Service What's available Contact Hours
Chaplaincy  All services as normal (remotely) See the Chaplains' contact details Chaplain dependent
Wardens All services as normal (remotely)

manorparkwardens@surrey.ac.uk 

campuscourtwardens@surrey.ac.uk 

unistagwardens@surrey.ac.uk 

hazelfarm warden@surrey.ac.uk

 
Disability and Neurodiversity All services as normal except diagnostic assessments and some social groups (remotely)

disability@surrey.ac.uk or 07970 647721

9am to 5pm
Centre for Wellbeing All services as normal (remotely)

centreforwellbeing@surrey.ac.uk or 01483 689498

9am to 5pm
Peer support (Student Life Mentoring)   peersupport@surrey.ac.uk  

Please remember that Report + Support is your online tool for reporting an incident of harassment or abuse, and the website is also home to many support resources. You can find information on a range of topics, including mental health, wellbeing, bullying, relationship abuse and addiction.

Mental health

Mental wellbeing is about your thoughts and feelings and how you cope with the ups and downs of everyday life. Right now might feel nothing like ‘everyday life’ and more like a very difficult or stressful time, but there are still many things you can try that could help your wellbeing.

On 29 March, in recognition of the unprecedented challenges that the outbreak and extended periods of self-isolation can pose, Public Health England published new online guidance setting out principles to follow to help people to manage their mental health during this difficult time, such as:

  • Maintaining contact with friends and family via telephone and video calls, or social media
  • Keeping a regular daily routine 
  • Focusing on a hobby or learning something new
  • Looking after your sleep
  • Managing your media and information intake

To learn more about these topics and lots more, please take the time to read the full guidance at your leisure.  

We recognise that many people are feeling anxious or concerned about their wellbeing and the risks being posed by the current outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19).

Here are some tips on how you can help ease your worries around Covid-19:

1. Recognise where the fear comes from

It’s completely normal to fear something that we are unfamiliar with. Our bodies react with a “fight or flight” response when a threat, like coronavirus, is identified which helps us to ensure that we are ready to react to or defeat that threat.

Sometimes though, we respond disproportionately to threats that don’t require a ‘fight or flight’ response. In the case of coronavirus a rational and measured approach is much more appropriate, taking away the messy complications of panic.

2. Curate and limit your newsfeed

In the world of 24/7 rolling news and social media updates it can be easy to get drawn into speculation and hype. Consider turning off automatic news alerts on your phone and limiting the amount of time you spend online.

3. Stay connected to your support network

Seeking out support from others is key in helping us to function during times of stress. Personal relationships can help us to maintain perspective and elevate mood as well as providing helpful distraction.

Consider checking in with others who you know may be struggling. If you can’t see someone in person, video calls, telephone and text work just as well.

4. Take practical steps and develop an action plan

Often a feeling of being ‘out of control’ is at the root of anxiety. These times it is helpful to recognise what you can control and put into action.

We can follow the advice of WHO and PHE by washing our hands thoroughly and regularly. We can try to avoid touching our face with our hands, but can also maintain our normal routines where possible.

5. Retain perspective

Yes, Covid-19 is serious and the outbreak is concerning however amongst all the noise it is useful to remember that there are reasons to be reassured.

Scientists are discovering more and more about the virus as time goes on, vaccines and treatments are being researched and people are recovering.

6. Practice good self-care

Eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep and engaging in activities that help to reduce your stress levels are key to helping you remain as healthy as possibly - physically as well as psychologically.

Try to avoid unhelpful coping strategies such as smoking, increased alcohol consumption or other drugs. In the long term these can worsen your physical and mental health.

7. Seek professional help

If your mental health is being significantly impacted upon then you may want to seek professional help. The Centre for Wellbeing is well set up to support staff and students, and there are a number of other services that you can access for free:

For some, working from home may be part of the normal routine, but for others it is something totally new to get to grips with. Either way, it’s unlikely that most of us have experienced working from home for such a long duration before. 

Here are some top tips that have been put together by the University’s Disability and Neurodiversity Team:

  • Get up at your usual time 
  • Stick to your normal pre-work routine (i.e. have breakfast and get dressed) 
  • Try to stick to set work hours 
  • Take regular breaks and stretch your back, legs and arms 
  • Go for a walk 
  • Have lunch in a different room to where you work 
  • Keep hydrated
  • Listen to music 
  • Meditate if that’s something that works for you

We also recommend packing away your computer/laptop and anything else relating to work at the end of the day, if you have the space.  

Although the Centre for Wellbeing building is closed, the team are maintaining usual business hours and you can contact them via 01483 689498 or centreforwellbeing@surrey.ac.uk.

The team have also introduced a new virtual wellbeing waiting room for staff and students from 10am-3pm daily. These one-to-one drop-in sessions will take place on Zoom and provide a safe space to talk to a friendly person and ask for advice.

If you are concerned about having enough privacy during your appointment, a certain number of rooms are available at the Centre for Wellbeing for you to use while accessing remote or phone sessions. Please contact the Centre for further details.

Anxiety around the current situation is completely natural, and to be expected in such unknown circumstances.

You can contact the Centre for Wellbeing team to book an online appointment if you want to talk through anything with a professional, but you might also want to explore these alternatives:

  • This video, strongly recommended by the Centre for Wellbeing team, uses ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) to deal with the fear, anxiety and worry around the Covid-19 outbreak.
  • Look at this positive picture showing how we can shift our mindset to a positive outlook during this time.
  • Headspace and Calm are both offering free meditation to help those struggling with anxiety or stress. 
  • There's also a vast range of self-help material on the Centre for Wellbeing web pages.

Bereavement, which is a difficult experience under any situation, is taking place under very challenging circumstances during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The Centre for Wellbeing can offer help and advice around bereavement, with an online session with one of our trained counsellors. There is also a selection of self-help information online.

Cruse Bereavement are inviting anyone bereaved by the virus to contact their helpline on 0808 808 1677. The helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays) with extended hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings when they are now open until 8pm.

We are all capable of developing dependencies on more or less anything that makes us feel good. In the short term, using alcohol and drugs often make people feel good and this is why they are used, because people feel a benefit from them. In small amounts this often does not cause issues for individuals but how do you know if it’s getting out of hand?

A good place to start is to ask yourself - why am I using this? Is it because I’m bored? Is it something I use to reward myself? Is it because it’s a habit I’ve just got in to? Did I witness this as a coping strategy from others? Am I trying to escape negative feelings such as stress? Do I feel I miss out socially if I don’t use this?

The current Coronavirus lockdown is especially difficult for people already battling addictions or who are in recovery from addiction because support meetings have been cancelled and normal service provision have been impacted. We recommend Surrey Drug and Alcohol Care who have a 24 hour helpline where you can speak to someone if you are concerned about your alcohol or drug use and want to explore this further. Please call them on 0808 802 5000.

Whether you’ve had sleeping problems before Covid-19 or if they’ve only started recently, there are some steps that you can take to try to improve your sleep at this time.

 

Structuring your days

Having a routine can help to provide a sense of normality even in unpredictable times. Routine is the guardian of good sleep, as it helps to keep our body-clock in synch with the 24-hour day.

 

Don’t work from your bed

Sleep experts emphasise the importance of creating an association between your bed and sleep. If it is at all possible don’t work from your bed.

 

Daylight

Exposure to light plays a crucial role in helping our bodies regulate sleep.

If you can, spend some time outside in natural light. Even if the sun isn’t shining brightly, natural light still has positive effects on circadian rhythm. Also, where possible, open windows and blinds to let light into your home during the day. 

Please also be mindful of screen time. The blue light produced by electronic devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, and computers, has been found to interfere with the body’s natural sleep-promoting processes. Where possible, avoid using these devices for an hour before bed.

 

Find time to relax

Finding ways to relax can be an invaluable way to help improve sleep.  Breathing exercises, stretching, yoga, taking a bath, and quiet reading are just a few examples of relaxation techniques that you can build into your routines.

Another strategy to manage stress during this pandemic is to avoid becoming overwhelmed by Covid-19 related news. For example, you can try: 

  • Bookmarking one or two trusted news sites and visiting them only during a limited, pre-set amount of time each day. 
  • Cutting down the total time that you spend scrolling on social media.
  • Scheduling phone or video calls with friends and family and agreeing in advance to focus on topics other than the pandemic. 

 

Food and drink

Keeping a healthy diet can promote good sleep. In particular, be cautious with the intake of alcohol and caffeine, especially later in the day, as both can disrupt the quantity and quality of your sleep. 

 

Support

The Centre for Wellbeing has a number of sleep related elf help resources that can be found here:

https://wellbeing.surrey.ac.uk/help/sleep/i-have-recently-been-struggling-sleep

Please also remember that although the Centre for Wellbeing building is closed, the team are maintaining usual business hours. If you are having difficulties managing sleep or feel that you would benefit from support about other issues affecting your mental health you can contact them via 01483 689498 or centreforwellbeing@surrey.ac.uk.

At this time of social distancing and isolation, social media can be an invaluable tool for keeping in touch with friends, family, and the wider world. But be mindful of how it makes you feel. If spending time on social media exacerbates your stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, take steps to limit your engagement.

Top tips for staying healthy on social media

• Limit time spent on social media
• Think before you post
• Tailor your accounts to create a more positive experience and don’t be afraid to report, block or unfollow.
• Avoid comparing yourselves to others and remember social media doesn't always reflect the reality of what is going on in a person's life!
• Have the self-awareness to take a break when/if it starts to negatively influence your mood and perspective
• Show compassion for others to create a more positive environment for yourself and others

Many people will come through the pandemic unscathed without lasting negative effects on their mental health, but it’s really important to be mindful that some people will be seriously affected by the traumatic experiences of both the virus itself and/or the lockdown and/or loss of livelihood. For some, this may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.

People respond differently based on many contributing factors, but it is really useful to have an awareness of some of the most common responses:

  • Nightmares
  • Memories or pictures of the event unexpectedly popping into your mind
  • Avoiding anything that will remind you of it
  • Getting angry or upset more easily
  • Not being able to concentrate or sleep
  • Difficulty being on your own when you were previously independent

Helpful things to remember:

  • Be patient and give yourself time - it can take weeks or months to process these life altering events.
  • Don’t bottle up your feelings. Find ways to express your feelings appropriately whether with friends, family or journaling. Expressing your emotions is an important part of recovery.
  • Try to treat yourself like you would a good friend who has gone through a similar experience. Imagine how you would treat them and what you would say to them to help and support them. Then turn the same level of understanding and compassion towards yourself.
  • Really focus on doing the things that bring you pleasure and aim to improve your overall health and wellbeing.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help if your symptoms continue.

Emotional wellbeing

We appreciate that the current situation may be negatively impacting on your emotional wellbeing so please read on for some helpful tips and hints.

We have all been forced to dramatically restrict our daily contact with friends, family, course mates and work colleagues. Here are some fun ideas to help you keep in contact with them:

  • Say hello and good morning to everyone – using Teams, Whatsapp, or whatever suits your team. It’s also nice to say goodbye when you log off for the day.
  • Important at all times of the year: take your lunch break! If you usually have lunch with friends or colleagues, set up a Teams or Zoom chat and have your lunch together.  
  • Chat about things that aren’t just about Uni or work – share recommendations for TV series to binge watch, books to read and games to play! 
  • Most importantly – check in with each other and be there (virtually) for those close to you.
  • Download ‘Houseparty’ from the app store – it lets you have group video calls and play different games and quizzes with each other in real time. 
  • Plan ‘nights in’ with your friends – use video calls and watch films all at the same time, or do activities with each other over the internet. 
  • Give your friends a virtual tour of where you live and introduce them to any housemates or pets that you have! 

All students are also invited to join the Contagious Conversations community support group via Zoom between 2pm–3pm every Wednesday. It is a chance to have a catch up and speak to other students and share any tips.

  • Oakleaf are live-streaming one wellbeing related activity per day, such as Tai Chi or Mindfulness, via a group chat.  
  • Mental Health Mates are offering virtual 'meet ups' via Zoom to support and connect to other people. Follow on Instagram for upcoming meets.
  • Togetherall - the message boards there are VERY active at the moment, with lots of people using them to connect/chat/exchange ways of managing anxiety/low mood etc. 

The University Chaplains are hosting online sessions and services on the Students’ Union Facebook channel. Watch the previous videos and find new ones. You can also contact the Chaplain’s directly

It’s good every now and then to remember that there is still lots of positivity in the world. Check out the following links and images, and remind yourself of these whenever you are having a tough moment:

  • An inspiring blog post called Hope Will Not Be Cancelled, recommended by a member of the Centre for Wellbeing Team. 
  • In the battle against global warming, scientists say that the number of people staying in their homes has caused levels of air pollutants and warming gases to fall. In fact, it's down almost 50 per cent on this point in time last year! BBC newsround put this on a list with some other positive news stories – take a look! 
  • Elsewhere, in Venice fish, swans and other wildlife are returning to the canals whilst the city is on lockdown.
  • Please remember that whilst we must adhere to #StayHomeSavesLives, #mypandemicsurvivalplan can provide some general light-hearted Twitter silliness.

With everyone indoors, relational patterns are having to be navigated like never before; if we add the uncertainty, we are all experiencing, this is a recipe for anxiety, tension and stress. We've outlined a few strategies to help this time of lockdown run a little smoother.

  • Invite all members of the household to a ‘living together’ meeting. This doesn’t need to be formal, perhaps share a pizza or a have a meal together to keep the mood light.
  • Ask each member of the household to write a list of their needs for the next week. It is important to keep the timescale short; this means people focus and it also avoids feelings of being overwhelmed.
  • Once everyone has completed their list of needs, listen to each other without interrupting, however unrealistic, at this stage just listen. Everyone deserves the time and respect to be heard. 
  • Now ask everyone to rank their top three most important needs. (For example, 1: I need to feel safe in the home, 2: I need one hour of alone time per day, 3: I need to have no shouting)
  • The next process is discussion and negotiation. Explore how everyone in the household can support each other. The art of negotiation is compromise; if you are wanting an hour of alone time, can you reduce that to 30 minutes for the sake of household harmony? If an individual releases tension by shouting at others, can they do this into pillow, so they don’t distress the whole household?
  • The discussion and negotiation phase takes time, don’t rush it or you’ll find you may have to repeat the entire process. It’s important everyone feels heard, their views are respected, and they have had the opportunity to share all they would like too.
  • Hold in mind that the aim of the above is to live together with ease at a difficult time, remind each other of this if the negotiation and compromise breaks down.
  • Now review and confirm. Outline the discussion points and the needs that everyone has discussed, negotiated and compromised on. At this point minor ‘tweaks’ can be made, but no new needs are to be added. Remain focused on everyone’s top 3 needs. 
  • Agreement – this is the important part. Everyone agrees to what has been discussed in the review and confirmation stage.
  • Now you have a plan, be patient with one another, this is a new experience which can take time to settle into. In the early stages of implementation, simply remind each other of the plan and reconfirm the aim – living together with ease.
  • I don’t necessarily agree that sanctions or punishments are helpful; if the plan is not working or is difficult to stick too repeat the process. This time ask individuals to reflect on how they can soften their needs to help others in the household.

This is designed to address specific behaviour of one or more members of the household:

  • Outline the behaviour that requires adjustment (shouting at family members)
  • Be very specific as to why this behaviour needs to change (Your shouting is making your young brother cry and become unsettled)
  • Share the impact of this behaviour (Your younger brother becoming upset means that I then spend time soothing him, which means dinner is delayed for everyone)
  • Discuss how this behaviour needs to be addressed and how the solution to this (Shouting in the house is not acceptable, a raised voice is not accepted- rather, tell others you have something to say and we will make time to listen. This will happen within 10 minutes) Be as creative as possible here; children often surprise us with their open minds and inspiring ideas.
  • Sanctions or punishments are rarely helpful – praise, focused attention and quality time with a parent or family member can be better.

Physical health

It is important to remember that the mind and the body are linked, so it is vital that we all take care of our bodies to ensure good mental and emotional health.

Lockdown has been particularly challenging for those who frequently combine a range of different exercises in any given day, but there are many ways you can still get your exercise in.

Get out for a walk around campus or your neighbourhood, but please remember to keep the recommended two metres from others as outlined in the social distancing guidance. Set a different route each day - you might find places you never knew about!

If you are staying at home, you can find free and easy 10-minute work outs from Public Health England and #StayInWorkOut tips from Sport England. Surrey Sports Park also share lots of inspiration for home exercise on their Facebook page, and there is a new challenge on Surrey Moves called ‘Stay In, Work Out’.

If formal exercise isn’t for you but you still want to remain active, remember that exercising at home can come in many forms:

  • Dancing to music
  • Skipping
  • Going up and down stairs
  • Sitting less – if you notice you’ve been sitting down for an hour, just getting up or changing position can help.

We recognise that pausing face-to-face teaching and learning might be proving quite a challenge. It may not be easy to regulate your own studying and to utilise online lectures and seminars to their full potential, but here are some tips to help you learn successfully from online lectures – and to do it healthily.

If you are self-isolating and therefore aren’t able to go out to buy food, ask a friend or family member to go for you and drop the groceries outside your front door. If this isn’t an option, you can call the Surrey County Council (SCC) community support line if you need help with picking up shopping, prescription collections or just someone to chat with by telephone to reduce feelings of isolation. 

If you are healthy and want to support others in your community, SCC can also provide advice on where to register your offer of help. 

Take a look at SCC’s dedicated web pages for further information or call 0300 200 1008 (Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm).

If you begin to feel unwell, please ensure that you maintain a safe distance from others (ideally two metres) and that you practise good hand hygiene measures by washing your hands and using hand sanitiser.

Please use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • Your condition gets worse
  • Your symptoms do not get better after seven days

And remember that our security team is available 24/7 on +44 (0)1483 68333 if you require emergency assistance.

More of us are working from home right now so we have produced some new guidance to ensure that you achieve the best possible workstation set-up to protect your musculoskeletal health.

When using a computer or laptop, a suitable workstation should ideally consist of a stable chair, desk, and separate mouse and keyboard. Your desk should be as clear as possible, with adequate lighting and no trailing cables. It is recommended that your home workstation is set up in the same way as your office workstation as far as reasonably practical. If this isn’t possible, then this guidance will help you to achieve the best possible workstation set-up. 

You may find it helpful to repeat the DSE Training on SurreyLearn to remind yourself about workstation set-up and good work practices.

Constructing meals

One simple approach could be to look at meals as consisting of three elements:

  • Protein (red),
  • Carbohydrate/fibre (yellow)
  • Fruit and/or vegetables (green).

You could call this the ‘power of three’. These rules mean you can be totally flexible as to what foods will serve as these three elements, and allow you to adapt to what is available at home and/or in the shops. •

  • The protein element does not need to be chicken or eggs, but can be other lean meats, fish, beans/pulses, nuts/seeds or plant-based protein products (e.g. soy-based tofu). Try to limit the processed meats and vegetarian equivalents where possible.
  • For the carb/fibre element, this can be pasta, rice, bread, corn/maize, potatoes or other root vegetables and other cereals. Try to choose some wholegrain varieties as well, especially as these tend to be more likely to be left on the shelves!
  • For the fruit and veg element, this could be anything available, either fresh, frozen or tinned. The more variety the better! Fruit and veg also serve as excellent healthy snacks for adults and children alike.

Meal patterns

With most of us staying at home, including working and looking after children, it can be easy to lose structure in the day and structure around eating. Where possible, try to stick to regular meal times with a fixed pattern. For most people this is traditionally breakfast, lunch and dinner, but where your meal pattern may deviate slightly, try to maintain the pattern you had before lockdown.

It is important not to let meals, snacks and drinks stretch out late into the evening even if you are going to bed later than usual. Also be mindful of how much you are eating overall, not just at mealtimes but also snacking in between meals.

You probably to have more opportunity to eat than usual as you are most likely working in close proximately to your kitchen and eating out of boredom.

To conclude, it is important to be aware of how lockdown is affecting our eating habits but it is even more important to be kind to ourselves right now. Listen to your body’s hunger signals and remember that’s it totally okay to allow yourself treats in moderation.