Learning in Lockdown: How Not to Lose Your Mind
To say that Covid-19 and the lockdown that followed have caused major disruption is an understatement. Almost half of people in the UK are reporting that they feel more anxious and depressed because of lockdown measures, with many of us eating unhealthily, drinking more and sleeping less as a result. Many students are locked down on campus and many are attempting to work entirely remotely. What’s a student to do? Here, we look at practical ways to get on with your coursework when it feels like the world is more chaotic and stressful than ever before.
Stick to routines
With everything seeming to be up in the air, it can be difficult to find motivation to fit in the study hours. But during lockdown, especially if you’re a student stuck in halls, a daily routine and a fixed schedule can be a lifesaver. Keep your day-to-day rhythms healthy by avoiding daytime naps or long Netflix binging sessions late into the night. Daily habits – even small ones – can be a great coping strategy and give you a sense of structure on those days when things seem a little aimless. Sleep, wake, eat and study at roughly the same time every day, and have weekly routines to stay anchored.
Go easy on yourself
Putting pressure on yourself will only be counterproductive. While you absolutely need to set goals and be disciplined, cut yourself some slack if you struggle occasionally. Make things a little easier by pacing your work rather than cramming everything in and ask what you can do to streamline all that uni admin, so it doesn’t add any more stress than strictly necessary. For example, get an app like Glide to help you sort and divide student bills if you’re in shared accommodation – one less thing to worry about – and make sure you’re registered on student forums so you receive important notifications immediately. This means you waste less time anxiously checking for updates.
Try to automate as much as possible so you can focus on your studies. For example, if you get groceries or essentials delivered, book a recurring weekly slot so it’s not something you need to worry about every week. Finally, you may need to look carefully at your coursework and use the Pareto Principle to identify the 20% of your work that will have 80% of the impact. Starting with the most important material first means you waste less time and energy on what might not matter, giving you more time for self-care.
Particularly if you’re cramped in a rather small dorm room, you’ll need to make efforts to get your body moving every day. Not only will this break up the tedium of a long study day, but it will fill your body with fresh oxygen, get your blood pumping and flood your system with endorphins. Creating – and sticking to – an exercise routine will keep you feeling strong both mentally and physically, build self esteem and even motivate and energize you to continue with your coursework.
Though the winter months are setting in and you might feel like hibernating, try to be flexible with your routine so that you can head outside when it’s sunnier for a long walk or jog. Exercise can lower your anxiety levels and improve your sleep quality, and if you practice social distancing, it can be a great way to catch up with friends.
Ask for help
Many students are having a hard time coping, but then again, these truly are unprecedented times and it’s perfectly understandable to find things challenging. With current lockdown restrictions, however, you really aren’t alone. Try not to feel embarrassed about asking for help if you find your mental health suffering, especially if it’s affecting your studies. Reach out to a student advisor or counsellor, a friend or family member, or even call an anonymous help line like the Samaritans if you just need to talk to someone.
Though we are physically more distanced from one another, there are still plenty of ways to stay connected. Simply chatting honestly with someone about how you feel can make the burden a lot easier to bear – and you may be surprised to find that offering support to someone else is just as encouraging.
Students in the UK are arguably experiencing the brunt of lockdown restrictions, and many are having to find creative ways to stay strong and focused on their course work. But with a little self-compassion, patience and flexibility, we can, as they say, get through this.
For wellbeing resources and advice, along with expert information and advice to help you through the challenges of coronavirus. Please do visit Student Space by Student Minds
This article was written for Student Source by Imogen Clarke
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