Managing the impact of the Omicron variant

Gareth Hughes

Gareth Hughes is the Clinical Lead for Student Space and is a psychotherapist, researcher and writer on student wellbeing, including the book Be Well, Learn Well

The Omicron variant might make uni life more challenging. Find out what you can do to maintain your wellbeing this term.

The Omicron variant and new regulations means that the second term is likely to be different from what many of us had hoped.

Acknowledging and accepting these new circumstances can help you to have as good an experience as possible. You can also plan ahead, with the changes in mind, to make the most of the term.

The challenges created by Omicron

It is not surprising if the increase in infections and the resulting regulations cause you to experience negative feelings, such as frustration, anxiety, worry, low mood or upset.

There are a number of reasons for this, which include:

  • Managing ongoing uncertainty and change is difficult
  • You may be disappointed that you’re not having the experience you hoped for
  • You might have concerns about getting Covid 19 and about the health of those close to you
  • The changes in regulations, while necessary, might affect your student experience
  • The rise in infections may cause other practical difficulties - such as a rise in staff absence, delaying learning, support or feedback

You may find yourself wishing that all of this wasn’t happening. But it will generally make it easier to manage if you can accept that this is something we cannot change and focus your attention on what you can do to make your experience better.

What you can do to make your experience better

Remember this will pass

The current changes will not last forever. Indeed, they may be gone within a relatively short time frame. Remember that your experience today is just your experience today.

Focus on your social network

Focussing on helping others is actually very good for us. Stay connected with friends and peers to create a shared sense of community, in person and online. You can support each other through the current rise in cases, which will help improve your wellbeing now and in the future.

Keep doing good things

Taking active steps to maintain your wellbeing becomes more important when there are external stressors. This includes:

Use support

You can access:

Student Space contains lots of advice on managing the challenges of studying during the pandemic.

If you are concerned about your academic learning and performance, you may also want to talk to your tutor or a study skills advisor at your university.