De-Stresstival: Look After YOU In Lockdown
De-Stresstival: Look After YOU In Lockdown
It’s fair to say none of us want to be in this situation. 2021 was meant to be the year we regained a sense of normality, achieved what had been put off due to previous lockdowns, and begin again in a sense. And whilst it may be very overwhelming with the sudden change in guidelines, delivery of your learning and assessment style, there are things you can control throughout this uncertain period, and ways to stay on top of your stress.
Before I give my tips, I recommend that you check out Student Space, ran by Student Minds, the UK’s student mental health charity, who have trained specialists on call to listen should you need support, and have also written numerous blogs on this subject, offering advice and support for you when you most need it.
So how do you stay sane during lockdown? Self-care is a term thrown around often associated with bubble baths, face masks and reading a good book with a cup of tea, however there is so much more you can do as well!
You live most of your life inside your head, so make it a nice place to be. And this doesn’t have to be making every day a good day, it’s as simple as finding the good in every day.
It’s hard to feel motivated at the moment, but try to stay engaged with your academic work as much as possible, even if that’s just bullet pointing a plan for an introduction, or listening to a lecture whilst you do other things. Remember, the longer you leave things, the bigger the mountain seems, so it’s important to try do a little bit every day to keep yourself moving. Jenny will be sharing some study tips next week, so keep an eye out for further support available!
Whether you’re living in York, or you’re back home, it is an isolating time, and it’s important that you try to stay in touch with your friends and family. Something as simple as sending a funny video or tagging them in something online can initiate a conversation, you don’t need to jump straight into the Zoom quizzes! Online movie nights are a great way to feel connected without the commitment to make conversation, just press play at the same time and watch away over a video call. Alternatively, online book clubs have proven popular over the last year, with friends coming together to read over video call and share their thoughts about books. If that’s not your thing, classic games such as Monopoly or Cards Against Humanity have online platforms for you to play against your friends. For those of you who enjoy a drinking game, online beer pong might not be the same as the real thing, but it gives a few laughs and opens up creativity to try different things.
I for one strive off routine and deadlines. If I know I have something due the next day, but have something in the afternoon to do, I’ll be more inclined to do the work than if I had a full day free. Similarly, many people find a lack of routine something difficult to cope with, especially if you are a university student who relies on a 9am lecture to be an incentive to wake up in the morning. Some advise that you treat every day as a 9-5, however that doesn’t work for everyone. Instead work when you are most productive, whether that’s early morning or in the middle of the night. And only work as long as you feel productive, don’t sit forcing yourself to try and work. Taking regular breaks away from work will help refresh your mind and body, either getting some food or going for a walk, watching an episode of a tv show or calling a friend are all great ways to chill between study stints. Try working solidly for 20 minutes, then rewarding yourself with a 5 minute break. If you want to do an hour of work, then take 15-20 minutes after to chill.
Incorporating regular meal times is so important to ensure you fuel your body to keep working at the same pace you want it to! I tend to snack throughout the day, but try to have three set times for food around when I study, where I can sit and enjoy my food away from everything else. The NHS One You webpage has some advice on managing eating habits when working from home.
Take time for you
We can all be guilty of forgetting about ourselves whilst focusing on deadlines, family and friends, keeping on top of household jobs and trying to cope with the constant change of this year. Taking time for you isn’t something to feel guilty about. If you don’t put back in what you give out, you’ll become drained and unable to give 100%. The best, but most difficult, thing to do is to set boundaries and learn to say “no” if you feel overwhelmed.
Some ways to care for yourself can include:
- Making your favourite meal
- Taking a walk whilst listening to your favourite music
- Tidying your work space
- Changing the bedding
- Doing what YOU want to do (such as watching tv, doing exercise or just chilling out)
- Not looking at the news if it’s something that gets you down
Whilst it’s important to accept that you cannot change the global situation, you can control your actions and how you respond to each new event. At the end of the day, you come first for yourself and it’s important to do what you can to care for and support yourself throughout this time, whilst following rules and sticking to guidelines.
Stay safe, and most importantly stay positive!