Studying from home during these uncertain and unprecedented times can be particularly challenging, and it may take some time to adjust. Undergraduate ambassador Deborah is on hand to help, sharing her top tips on how she is managing her wellbeing while studying from home.
As you all are most certainly aware, the remainder of our academic year will be completed remotely. In all honesty, in my first few days of being at home I ended up binge-watching Netflix while secretly stressing about my assignments. I began to feel quite low, so I had to find a way to preserve my mental health and also increase my productivity. Even though it feels strange that we are home and still have to study, we can’t avoid it. In this blog, I will list to you all the ways that I am currently looking after my wellbeing while studying from home.
Keeping motivated to study
First, let’s start with the academic part. I started to realise that days had gone by without me doing anything honourable each day, so my first piece of advice would be to start planning your days.
- Plan your days and stick with it!
At first it may sound useless to do so, but trust me - as you don’t need to physically get up to go to the Business School to attend seminars and lectures you are left with only your intrinsic motivation which may not be the highest at all times. I found that planning my day from start to finish vastly increased my productivity. Set yourself a time that you want to wake up at. Plan your day, plan how much you want to study and stick with it. As soon as you do, you will immediately realise that the day is extremely long, and you have so much more time to do things that bring you joy.
- Find a study buddy and study in intervals
After realising that we all struggled to do our daily work and were being unproductive, my friends and I started to schedule ‘study dates’. Just set a time when you will all be studying, turn on your FaceTime and study for 45 mins then take a 15 minutes break to chat and relax. You can then repeat this as many times as you want. This way you will have others who keep you accountable for actually doing work and you won’t be able to use your phone because you are already using it to FaceTime your friends.
- Keep your study environment clean
This might sound trivial but in reality it is more important than ever. The environment which you study in can influence your productivity and affect your work ethic. Now that you are staying at home all day, you have to make sure that you keep your surroundings clean as it’ll help you focus and stay motivated.
Managing your wellbeing
Now moving on to your wellbeing. I have personally struggled with being at home for so long, and at times you may feel like you have ‘nothing to do’. So to avoid feeling low while at home, I have listed my top five tips that I use to keep myself feeling positive.
- Sleep well and try to have a sleep routine
Try and stick to a sleeping schedule. I am not saying you have to wake up at 7am every day, but try to find a pattern which best suits you. Try to be in bed at a reasonable time. Lack of sleep can really make it hard to focus and getting a good night’s sleep can really lift your mood. Also, you might have already thought about learning some meditation techniques. Now is the perfect time for it, with no distractions it’s the perfect opportunity to develop a new hobby.
- Utilize your free time
After the first couple of days at home I realised that my ‘phone screen time’ was rapidly increasing, as I had no other idea how to occupy myself. But I had to learn that using your phone 10+ hours a day does more harm than good. So, my advice would be to write yourself a list of all the things that you have always wanted to do but have never had the time to. Then whenever you start planning your next day, try and put one of those things in as your free time activity. They can be anything from learning yoga to baking a cake, reading a new book or starting to learn another language. I’ve got a selection of books that I’m currently making my way through.
- Eat Well
It may sound really simple, but as we are all at home, we are pretty much entertaining ourselves with eating more than we usually would and, in some cases, eating unhealthier foods. Take your time when you eat, try to eat regularly and plan your meals – eating healthier foods makes me feel a lot better mentally and helps to boost my energy levels.
- Exercise at home or with friends online
In most countries going outside for a quick walk or run is still allowed given that you are still able to practice social distancing. Try to build the exercise into your daily schedule and take time to care for yourself that way. It reduces stress and makes you feel and sleep better. If you don’t have the opportunity to go out, you still have numerous options to exercise at home. Warwick Sport has introduced some online classes which you can join in from home. To keep you motivated, I would advise you to have a friend you do this with. I do yoga and aerobics with my friends online almost every night. Apart from it being so much fun, we get to catch-up while also exercising.
- Finally, don’t forget about the University’s wellbeing services!
The University of Warwick Wellbeing Support Services offer you online skills sessions where you can have workshops on ‘how to deal with anxiety’, ‘tackle exam stress’ or ‘how to be more productive’. They have also set up a separate folder just for COVID-19 related articles that will help you get through these rather difficult times. You may also have heard of the Wellbeing Masterclass that’s been running at the University for the duration of term 2. Now they have continued to operate remotely. You can join any online session at 4.30 pm (UK time) from Monday-Thursday or alternatively, you can access the audio material of the Masterclass session on the Wellbeing website.