Looking after me

With many of us feeling the effects of the lockdown in different ways, one thing most of us can relate to is the struggle of maintaining good mental health while adapting to a new way of working.
A global pandemic is stressful enough without having to worry about looming deadlines, and as a student, this is coupled with a shroud of uncertainty around incomplete modules and while I’m being honest a severe lack of money.

I started by focussing on my mental and physical health. Despite what empty shelves in the long-life and canned foods sections in Tesco might suggest, there is still plenty of fresh fruit and veg to work with when it comes to my meal plan.
I have been filling my hours by planning my daily meals and fitting this around shopping as sparsely as possible. It’s safe to say it spruces up the week a bit to cook something you’ve never made before, even if sometimes it means testing the fire alarm.

In addition to trying to cure my crippling boredom, I’ve also been tasked with coming up with ways to manage the uni workload, something that’s become infinitely more difficult considering I have no flexibility surrounding my study environment.
As much as I liked to complain about the library when I’d get caught sneaking in a panini every now and again, it’s become a lifesaver for me in terms of getting the peace and quiet I need to get everything done.

To tackle this I’ve designated a room just to do work in, as a sidenote keep any games consoles and your phone in another room, trust me. I’ve also found it helpful to set up a little workspace with everything I need so I don’t need to rush about the house to get everything together, saves you from a long conversation with your mum or housemate to take you off schedule.

Last but not but least, I’ve tried and managed to keep a normal sleep schedule. In turn, this has benefited my ability to get work done during the day, knowing that I don’t have the freedom to put off my work has motivated me to just get on with it.
It also means you can stop your lock-down snacks from becoming your midnight snacks. It has helped me to use the permitted hour for exercise to go for a jog as well, not only will it break up the day a bit but that way you’re tired enough to hit the pillow at a reasonable time.

While we’re all finding our own way to navigate these difficult waters, we can take solace in the fact that we’re all in the same boat. This crisis has inspired new and creative ways for us to not only come together on digital platforms when being physically separated from one another but has also encouraged us to find new ways to live our lives in a way that will protect our most vulnerable.

By Catherine O’Loughlin

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