• Jacqueline Libert

Studying in times of Corona

These are peculiar times. Our daily lives are significantly emptier as a result of COVID-19 and there are a lot of insecurities about the future. Paying attention to your (mental) health is essential these days; besides your studies, your social life will mostly take place in a digital environment, and this takes its toll on you. How do you structure your days? What do you do all day? How do you create an effective study-environment at home? How do you stay

healthy? Below you will find a few tip on how to take care of yourself during the current situation. Click here to download a helpful form to apply what is suggested.

  • Focus on the possibilities, not on the difficulties. Of course, there are a lot of things that you normally do, but simply cannot do now. Try to use your (mental) energy in an optimal way by fixating your attention on things that are possible.

  • Acknowledge that there is still hope. It is okay if you experience many (different) emotions and do not know what to do with them. Be kind to yourself and give your feelings some space. At the same time, try not to get overrun by negative feelings: there is more out there than just the Corona virus.

  • Create structure. Especially now, it can be tempting to spend your days on Netflix or in a videogame, and without classes or appointments outside your house it can be difficult to work on your study-related tasks. Consequently, you need to be the one who brings structure back into your life. Create a day or week planning, including both the tasks you need to complete for your studies as well as your other activities such as exercise and relaxation. While doing that, it is important to keep track of your routine; shower in the morning and get dressed. You can also put on a different outfit when you get to work (or your glitter outfit for the digital version of your get-together with friends!).

  • Make sure that you have a good study-environment. If possible, make a distinction between the place where you study (table or desk) and the place where you relax (bed or couch). This way, you also provide your brains with a clear signal: we need to focus. Minimize temptations around your study-environment, clear your desk and PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY (this also means no Web Whatsapp). Also let (any) roommates know that you are going to study and agree not to disturb one another. Instead, you can introduce having (digital) breaks together, for example.

  • Put your health first. Make use of the fact that you can still go outside for now! Both the exercise and the sunlight is very good for you, so make sure that you step outside for a bit every day (of course while keeping your distance from others). Keep exercising as well. This may ask for a little creativity, but the same goes for this: focus on the possibilities that you have and search for inspiration online, for instance (tip: check the app 7 Minute Workout!). Also pay attention to your eating habits. The temptation to eat your complete food supply may be significant, but too much fat and sugar will result in a drowsy mind and an unhealthy body. Especially now, a strong immune system is vital, so keep eating enough fruit and vegetables and resist the temptations of a bag of chips.

  • Limit your exposure to (social) media. Even though you are now, more than ever, dependant on technology, both in terms of your studies as well as in terms of your social contacts, it remains important to limit your exposure to (social) media. Reading news reports all day does not make you any happier, and neither does scrolling endlessly through Instagram or Twitter. Keep putting things into perspective and turn away from your screens every now and then.

  • Stay connected to others. We are social creatures, so it is important to stay connected with others, especially if you are living on your own. Spend your time wisely by speaking to your friends and family regularly. Preferably by video-calling; this way you connect more than when you are using Whatsapp.

  • Keep busy. In case you are still looking for some inspiration on how to spend your spare time: initiate spring-cleaning, start on a puzzle, do odd jobs, write, meditate, read a book, cook a new recipe, or help others in your surroundings.

  • Do you have any other tips or insight? Let us know in the comments!

Finally: next to the challenges that go hand in hand with the current situation, there are also wise lessons to be learned. When you are, in the nearby future, grumpily taking your seat in your 9 AM class or are enjoying the sun on the terrace of your favorite café, remind yourself of these days. Let us never forget to appreciate our freedom, health and each other.

If you would like to further discuss the points mentioned above or other challenges that you are confronted with; our Student Coaches are also there for you online! Send us a message through the contact-form and we hope to speak to you the very same week.

Does this period create study-related problems? Make sure to notify the Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg, or click here for more information from the National Government.

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