I never thought I’d be relieved to hear the word ‘Brexit’ on the news. Alas, when the last 12 months has (rather generously) gifted us another year of Trump’s wrath, a global pandemic, and three national lockdowns, quite frankly I’ll take anything to distract me from the dreaded ‘C’ word.
I would be lying if I said that the past year had not taken a toll on my mental health, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Being a student during a global pandemic is…an experience. To say the least. That’s why it’s so important to keep the conversation about mental and physical wellbeing alive. So, here are a few things which have kept me sane (…ish) throughout lockdown 3.0!
1. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
Juggling online lectures and deadlines whilst trying to decide what on earth you’re going to do after you graduate is pretty tricky, even for the Monica Geller’s out there.
Upping my organization skills was one of my New Year’s resolutions (don’t hate me), and my daily planner has been my absolute saviour. Every Sunday, I map out what my week will look like. After establishing a rough idea of what needs to get done, I spend time each evening planning the next day in more detail. It goes without saying that the week does not always turn out quite how I planned it, so don’t beat yourself up if life gets in the way. I treat the process of scheduling my time as a daily ‘brain dump’ which helps relieve stress before I get into bed!
2. UP & OUT
This one may sound obvious but, hear me out. I can’t be the only one who uses ‘Work from Home’ as an excuse to ‘Work from Bed’. The novelty wears off, right? I’ve decided to break the habit by showering and getting ready for the day first thing in the morning. I’ll never be that person who manages to look fully human every day, and I am yet to take my jeans out of hibernation…but this is a start. If you’re anything like me and you find yourself drifting off throughout the day (oops), then this one is for you!
I’m going to level with you…I have the attention span of a teaspoon. However, the work is piling up and the deadlines are approaching – I have no choice but to be more productive with my time.
This ‘WFH’ business has blurred the lines between work and rest– I often find myself sitting at my desk whilst stuck in the scrolling vortex of Twitter and Instagram (it’s the thought that counts).
Scheduling proper breaks into my day has massively helped with my concentration and productivity. My breaks include long walks (which we treasure like gold dust in my household), grabbing a coffee, or an episode (or two) of my favourite series. I’m currently watching How to Get Away with Murder – and I highly recommend.
Another New Year’s Resolution of mine is to exercise my mind as well as my body. I have recently re-discovered the Headspace app, which is an absolute gamechanger in this regard. They provide short episodes of guided mindfulness and meditation (with different options for day/night) as well as a ‘focus’ section which provides a relaxing soundtrack which is great to have on in the background during a study sesh.
4. BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Lastly, and most importantly, you must be kind to yourself. Some days are harder than others, and that’s okay! You’re doing great!