In this Student Blog, Patri Delahunty reflects on her experiences of lockdown this year and draws upon her current studies in the MSc. Human Resource Management programme.
How to look after your mental health after lockdown 2.0: College version
Although 2020 has brought many surprises for us regarding where we can study and meet each other, there are plenty of positive aspects to our current situation. Browsing through online lectures while still in your pyjamas at home with your housemates or from your own bed while you’re still finishing your bowl of Coco Pops is definitely one to consider. In all honesty, this really hasn’t suited most of us as we’re all missing a hint of normality and seeing our classmates on a daily basis in lectures or our general social/night life. So, what can we do to make things slightly better for ourselves in UCC?
Set a routine
Realistically, there mightn’t be a need for you to get up in the morning and get dressed to go to college because you don’t have to have to physically be present. Coming up with a timetable and sticking to it can help to motivate you and set a routine for your week. If it helps you, you could think about going to the library to get out of the house and being around different people than your housemates all the time. A change of environment can make you feel less claustrophobic and locked down.
You can think about setting a goal to achieve for each day and tick tasks off as you complete them to help you feel like you’re on top of things.
Mind your physical as well as mental health
Although it’s hard to be motivated at the moment, gyms are now back open and it could be the perfect opportunity for you to get into a new routine. Even if you’re not a complete gym head, getting out for a short walk with a friend or by yourself listening to a podcast can help you to declutter your mind and forget about study. Even if it’s just half an hour of your day, it can boost your energy levels and help you to stay motivated.
Treat yourself during your study milestones
If you finally mastered a concept that you spent all semester trying to comprehend, reward yourself with something that you enjoy doing.
It can be as simple as rewarding yourself with going out for a meal with your friends or taking some time off to grab a comforting coffee/drink.
Granted, you can also set up a custom reward system for your achievements. Therefore, correctly answering several minuscule questions could eventually add up to a more extended study break or a better reward. This can increase your extrinsic motivation and keep you focused for the rest of the assignments and/or exams.
The NHS recommends to make a realistic revision schedule, find a revision style that suits you, and customise your own notes so that you can fully understand lectures, journals and so on. It’s also important to take short breaks so that you can focus on topics and avoid complete burnout. For instance, a break every 45 to 60 minutes could work for you.
Studies show that actions that build and sustain psychological safety such as supporting each other in teams may help to address concerns amongst individuals. By staying in touch with our friends, family, lecturers and any type of support that we have available in UCC, we can remain resilient during these times and avoid isolation as much as possible. If you aren’t leaving your house on a regular basis because you’re being cautious about the current pandemic, make sure that you’re still speaking to people online that can provide you with ongoing support for your wellbeing and studies.
It’s also important to point out that motivation increasing activities can enhance your self-esteem. In UCC we have Career Services that are also virtual and can aid you to improve communication skills or give you career advice amongst an array of other services that you could benefit from, all the way from home.
These are only mere suggestions that may suit some students. You could tailor your own schedule and treat yourself to whatever would be the most beneficial for you. It’s important to mind ourselves as we head towards a new year and are in the process of preparing ourselves for Semester. On that note, I hope you have a lovely Christmas break and that you can enjoy the end of Lockdown 2.0.