Studying during COVID-19: Reflections and advice from our students. Blog 3, by Amrita Atwal (MSc Clinical Psychology)

Studying during COVID-19: Reflections and advice from our students. Blog 3, by Amrita Atwal (MSc Clinical Psychology)

Wellbeing and Study Tips

I know I can speak for almost everyone when I say the last four months have been a challenge! We all have been trying to navigate the changes that the lockdown has brought us, and it has been a difficult time for everyone.

Like many of you, alongside my studies I have a part-time job (in a bank which stayed open during lockdown) and I have been balancing my time between studying (with all my family also working or studying from home!), going to work, and having time for myself.

Some key things I have implemented during this time are to-do lists and keeping to somewhat of a routine every day. To-do lists are a helpful tool that you can look at in the morning, to keep you focused on what you want to achieve during the day, week, or month. I did find however, a tendency to overestimate what I thought I would be able to achieve. I would say stick to three to five things you want to achieve per day.

Another strategy that helps is writing specific items on the list instead of more general items, i.e. instead of writing, ‘do essay’, change that to, ‘research three articles on X topic and write 200 words’. This makes the list more focused, realistic and you know exactly what you need to do during the day (and don’t worry, if you end up writing more than 200 words, go for it! This was just a starting point). Doing a weekly list helped me plan out my assignments, ensuring I had enough time to get everything done (taking away the days I was working).

During the lockdown I encountered many distractions (mainly coming from my family as they were all home too!). What worked for me was having my own space to study and letting my family members know that I was studying. This helped because it let them know not to disturb me at certain times during the day.

Physical & Mental health tips:

  • Keeping in contact with your friends and family members over phone and video calls is important so you don’t feel lonely. We organised a weekly family quiz night over video call! Some weeks we dressed up to keep it fun (e.g. superheroes night)!
  • Keep social media to a minimum each day. There is currently a lot of information circulating Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc., and it can get too much being constantly bombarded with news about COVID-19. It’s also a good idea to go through your following lists on your social media profiles and unfollow people/pages that don’t make you feel good.
  • Music! Make a happy playlist full of all your favourite songs and have a dance. This keeps you happy and active (two in one!).
  • Keep active. I find if I make time to exercise during the week, I am happier. One thing that helped me stay active was Joe Wick’s PE exercise videos on YouTube, and going cycling a couple of times a week. I am definitely not a runner, but that might work for you, so test and try new ways of staying active (e.g. going for walks, yoga, jogging, following exercise videos on YouTube). You could even workout with a friend over FaceTime to keep you motivated.

I hope that has given you a few tips, ideas and advice and remember we will get through this, we are stronger together.