Focusing on health and wellbeing during coronavirus

Despite worries about the growing global pandemic, Aprille has kept calm with a focus on maintaining her health and mental wellbeing. She says working on her yoga practice, finding a daily routine, and connecting with teachers and students online has allowed her to keep progressing with her research degree and study success. We spoke to Aprille about her life in Adelaide during the COVID-19 crisis.

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International student Aprille from Singapore

Where were you when the COVID-19 crisis began?

I arrived in Australia in January when I came to study a Masters by Research at the University of South Australia. I think in the first few weeks the impact was more psychological as we were hearing things in the news and feeling scared and some anxiety. Before the restrictions, I could feel the tension and see people feeling worried. Hopefully, they can find a vaccine soon.

How do you feel about being in Adelaide during COVID-19?

It’s one of the safest places in the world. I’m glad the Premier has been doing a lot for the state, and I appreciate the International Student Support Package they have offered to help students with hardship. StudyAdelaide has been very supportive with motivation, and the Friends of the World virtual catch-ups are really good for those living alone. Even though some international students are strangers to each other, we can catch up to know we’re in this together. I know a few students who went home, but I’m glad I stayed here in Adelaide.

How have you managed your wellbeing during the pandemic?

Health and mental wellbeing are so important in our life. I took part in a push-up challenge to do 3,046 push-ups over 21 days as a fundraiser for Headspace. It’s a way to support mental health and make sure I am looking after myself. I’ve been doing a lot of walking for fresh air as well as practising yoga and sharing weekly stretches on my Instagram. I’ve taken this time to work on new stretches, and my yoga has improved so much.

I also read an article about limiting the amount of news you read. I still read enough to know what’s going on, but I feel better now that I’m not watching all the time. I’m focusing on my purpose to study and do well.

How have you found studying online?

Sometimes the audio is muffled, which can be hard to understand. I really wish Zoom had captions. Other than that, It’s been good. In a way, it makes me feel more courageous to speak up at Higher Degree by Research (HDR) seminars.  In a classroom you might be too shy, but on screen, it doesn’t seem so scary to ask questions. I’ve been waking up early to study. I need to do brain work early as I get tired and less motivated in the afternoon.

Tell us how studying from home has impacted your relationship with your supervisor and HDR peers.

In a way, I feel more connected to my supervisor because on the screen I can’t hide behind the computers like I can in a classroom. My supervisor is really, really supportive. He asks how I am doing and coping. We are supposed to meet every two weeks, but he has agreed to connect every week, which helps me to push myself more. I feel like I’ve still been able to continue my research preparation.

I try to connect with my HDR peers online every two weeks. We check in on each other to make sure we’re doing well and discuss our research proposals. It can be hard to motivate yourself when you’re working at home. I’ve been focusing on self-motivation, and I’m trying to spread this to my friends and HDR peers.

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