We will be feeling the ripples of this crisis for the next few years. Life has been changed forever. There is no continuing as we were; there is simply life before Covid-19 and life after Covid-19. We’ve all been experiencing feelings of uncertainty and fear. Everyone is having vivid dreams and we’re all glued to the 6pm news every night, feeling almost as if we’re collectively living in a waking nightmare.
Your studies have probably taken a back seat throughout all of this and to be honest, I don’t blame you. There are other, slightly more immediate things taking up most of your headspace. Not to mention the hundreds of blogs and articles about the best way to make sourdough bread or what the most efficient workout regime is- yes I said regime, not routine. How can you do those many other tasks and not only stay on top of your studies but positively excel in them?
So let’s start small, shall we?
Let’s tackle all of things that happen before you even sit down at your desk (or sofa, back step, coffee table or kitchen counter).
Your phone alarm jolts you awake after a fitful night’s sleep. You roll over in bed, scroll through Twitter for a while and avoid looking at the BBC News website. What next?
Seems obvious but…
I spent the first three weeks of quarantine in my pyjamas and it didn’t do my mental health any favours. My days blended into my nights and I slumped from bed to sofa and back again. I think this was true for a lot of us.
Getting dressed in the morning will inject some much-needed routine into your life. Your psyche will change because you’re in your study ‘uniform’. You don’t have to wear a suit or heels to work efficiently, just not pyjamas.
Spending your days in your night clothes will contribute to feelings of sluggishness and lethargy. You can still be comfortable, but wear designated ‘daytime’ items. Throw on a baggy jumper and a pair of leggings for all I care, just don’t sleep in them afterwards. Save your fluffy onesie for watching Netflix in the evening.
Okay, so that’s clothes sorted. You look great.
If you’re anything like me then you’ll be one of the people who will argue that ‘I just don’t eat breakfast’ while gulping down black coffee before inhaling four sandwiches at 11am.
That might work when you’re glued to a library desk but when you’re stuck at home during a pandemic you need more energy than usual (notice how you’ve been feeling extra tired despite doing less?) and you need to get into that routine we were talking about.
So breakfast it is. I hate making food in the morning because I tend to be groggy and usually grumpy, so I cut corners and prep my breakfasts the night before.
Repeat after me: Stop making things difficult for yourself.
Love toast and cereal? Amazing. You’re already ahead of the game.
Prefer something more substantial? Get into the swing of meal prep for your mornings. Overnight oats are a game changer. Make breakfast muffins on Sunday evening (if you still acknowledge weekends, that is) that will last for the next five days. Cut and freeze fruit for good-to-go smoothie ingredients.
Do whatever you have to do to make your life easier. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference it makes when you can quickly grab a nutritious and tasty breakfast and be done and dusted before your laptop has finished firing up.
Having these two items ticked off your list before you even sit down to study may seem like a small step, but don’t forget that the first step is always the most important, and usually the most difficult.
Finally, one thing to bear in mind: There is no right way to handle the current situation. Anything you are doing right now is positive, regardless of how small it might seem.