Hey there everyone!!! Hopefully, you’re all having a good week so far? I honestly had no idea what I wanted to write about today. I haven’t had any monumentally inspirational ideas, so up until this morning (cutting things a little finer than I like), I had no clue what today’s post would be, or if there even would be one. I realised it was because everything has been feeling quite frustrating at the moment with the impact of COVID-19 on university life, but even more than that England is about to go into another national lockdown. Yay …
I couldn’t have been more bummed out when I heard the news. Lockdown in South Africa lasted what felt like an eternity; when I arrived in the UK I had to do two weeks of self-isolation, and for my first week at university, we had to do a household/college lockdown. Now, there is a national lockdown. Whoop whoop … Let’s just say I am tired of lockdowns because the idea of being stuck ‘at home’ for another month without being able to go out is already making me nuts and it hasn’t even started. That’s when inspiration hit me. So today, for all of those who might be going into another lockdown, or haven’t quite come out of your first one, here are a few tips so that you don’t go absolutely stir-crazy stuck at home … there may not be anything we can do about it, but there are things we can do in terms of how we deal with it.
Get a routine going
One of the most frustrating things about lockdown is that it throws your routine entirely out the window because everything changes. I know I crave that normalcy that a routine brings, the security of knowing where I have to be or what I have to do at what time is what helps push me through the day but lockdown makes all of those lines a bit fuzzy. Soon you might be doing that lecture in bed in your pyjamas, or only doing work a few days after you should have because everything is online. Believe me, I know how easy it can be to slip into a sort of chilled state of being when you can’t do much besides sit at home. So, my number one tip is to try and get a routine going. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is, but having those set things to do can make such a difference in motivating you through the day. For instance, every morning I wake up, do some form of exercise, shower and then sit in the kitchen to have breakfast. Even if my lectures are prerecorded, I make sure to do them at the time they are allocated in my timetable, so I don’t let them slip through the cracks. Even if your routine involves writing in your diary with a cup of tea first thing in the morning, dedicating an hour for work in the middle of the day and doing some night-time yoga or setting aside an hour every night to watch the news, that still counts and can make a huge difference in keeping you sane.
Health … in moderation!
Okay so yes – being healthy is important. Making sure that you have a nutritious diet, keeping that heart rate up with the occasional exercise session, having enough fresh fruit and veg and drinking enough water is very important. After all, scientists and health experts aren’t preaching this to us without the data to back it up. There are also plenty of foods that will help boost your immune system (something we all need right now). However, it’s also important to remember to cut yourself some slack. There’s nothing wrong with having takeaways every now and again or opting for the slightly unhealthier version, or just some plain old-fashioned junk food snacking – but everything in moderation!
Celebrate what you can
Just because social events have been cancelled, that doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate. In the UK, bonfire night and all the displays may have been cancelled, but that shouldn’t stop you from sipping some hot chocolate or toasting marshmallows, even if it is around a candle instead of a nice bonfire. Having a positive mindset is everything in times like this, and making sure to still celebrate what you can and keep that joy and optimism will go a long way to making it bearable. The celebration may not be the same at home, but at least you can still celebrate.
Get out and about (you know what I mean)
Cabin fever is a thing. It really is. Even if you have a relatively big house or space to sit in during lockdown, just the thought of not being able to go out and socialise in the rest of the world can bring on that awful feeling of claustrophobia. However, don’t forget that you are allowed to go out for exercise and essentials, so use that to your advantage! I find it so exhausting if I’ve spent the entire day hunched over my desk and staring at my laptop, but if I take my hour out just to walk around college and get some fresh air, it does me a world of good and I can head back inside with a new wave of happiness and a sense that I’m not going crazy yet. Even if you just use your hour of exercise to go on a light stroll, that’s good enough.
Create a private nook
Being stuck at home, especially if you’re living with family, means a lot of people under the same roof 24/7 and that can make us feel like we have nowhere to escape to because we are constantly with everyone else. We’re going to be spending a lot of time indoors, so why not create a little sanctuary or a nook, especially for you. It doesn’t have to be big, it could just be a cosy corner with some pillows and fairy lights, but make it clear that that is your space and when you are there, that means a big DO NOT DISTURB!!! Having a little private space, where you are alone to do whatever you want and have the peace and quiet for thoughts etc. is so helpful because it can help give you those few minutes of peace to get you to the end of the day.
Use the technology around you
I’m sure you’re all sick of people saying how lucky we are that this pandemic has happened in the digital age where we all have instant access to technology. I mean, it has made things a lot easier because the transition to online hasn’t been that big of a jump, considering how online we were before the pandemic. So, my best suggestion is to use it to your advantage. You may not be able to see your family or friends or go out to the places you usually enjoyed visiting (which is awful, I’m not taking anything away from that), but thankfully technology has created a next best option. Set up family video calls, have a virtual lunch or coffee date with your girlfriends, or even a movie night where you all hop on a call and click play at the same time. You can also do virtual tours of places, and many organisations have tried to provide online outlets for people to access them (virtual escape rooms, zoo tours etc.) See? They may not be as good as the original, but there are still plenty of options.
Be mindful of zoom fatigue
And on the flip side of my last point, zoom fatigue is another new problem we are now all facing. You know what it is – that overwhelming exhaustion, worry or burnout that comes from overusing virtual communication platforms. It’s awful, and it’s real, and the problem is there is no way to really relieve yourself because you have to keep doing everything online because that’s how the world is right now. My suggestion is to compartmentalise – set dedicated times after zoom meetings to get away from all your screens and just relax. Maybe try to schedule digital-free periods entirely like say no phones or laptops after 6pm, or you can even just try switching it up, so you do a phone call instead of a zoom conference. Sadly, I don’t think these online communication platforms and their importance are going to be going away anytime soon, so we need to be able to take a step back and just be free of them, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
MENTAL HEALTH AND SELF-CARE!!
Last, but certainly not least, PLEASE DO NOT FORGET TO PRIORITISE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH!!!!! Times are stressful, and everything is uncertain. My university timetable and what is going on changes every week because of the covid restrictions and because everyone is just as in the dark as each other. None of us knows what is going to happen next, and I’m going to say it:
THAT IS FRUSTRATING AND STRESSFUL AS HELL!!!
So please, remember to take care of your mental health, and prioritise self-care. It may be even more challenging now because we can’t separate work and home as easily as we used to, but there are still ways. Schedule in breaks – make them a dedicated part of your day where you don’t have to focus on anything work/stress-related. Try to do something you enjoy or puts a smile on your face every day, whether that’s walking your dog, reading a book or just having a cup of tea while listening to music. We’re not going to be able to get through this if we are struggling with our mental health on top of everything else, so remember to look after yourself. You are worth it – and nothing recharges your batteries more than looking after yourself.
And so there you have it! Wow, I think that is the fastest I have written a blog post in a very long time, so I am certainly quite impressed (and a little bit tired). I think that might have to be my first post in the blogging advice series – how to write a last-minute blog post. What do you think?
So I don’t know if my tips have been helpful to anybody, but I know that these are stressful times and everyone is feeling anxious and frustrated, so even if you didn’t pick up any tips in this post, I hope it was at least reassuring to know that you’re not alone in feeling this way! This year has been a never-ending set of challenges and excuse the rare pessimism coming from me, but I don’t think it’s going to improve very soon, but hopefully, things will start to normalise in the not too too distant future. Thank you all so much for reading my blog post today – I hope that you found the tips helpful, and if you have any of your own, please feel free to share them! (I love chatting with you all in the comments section). Also, for anyone who may be going into another lockdown – good luck!! Just remember …
We’re all in this together!!
So think of each other and be kind and considerate to others, but don’t forget to be kind to yourself.
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx (nursing a cramp in my wrist from typing too fast)