Tips to Help You Through Lockdown – Eloise Barnes

The announcement that the UK was entering another lockdown has been hard for everyone in different ways. Whether it isn’t studying in the way you wanted or not being able to pop in to see your family or friends, everyone has had to give up something important to them that they might have previously taken for granted.

However, there are some great ways that you can get through this time and stay happy and healthy throughout. I’m going to give you some tips on how to approach working from home and how to fill all of this spare time that you have now.

Working from home

Doing your work from home is probably quite different to how you were used to working at university so it can be quite overwhelming having to adapt to this new system. There might be issues at home with internet strength, having a quiet place to work or being able to get into the mindset to be productive at home.

Here are my main tips for making sure that you are productive:

  1. Find a quiet place to do your work away from where you rest

This means that you shouldn’t be doing work on your bed or in front of the TV as your brain is trained to relax in these areas making it more difficult for you to work. However, not everyone can control where they can do their work so make the best of what you have and I’m sure your family or housemates will understand if you need to work in a certain place.

  1. Take regular breaks and leave the area where you work on a break

Just as with the last point, you may not be able to relax properly at your desk or working area so you should leave the room to relax somewhere else. You could go on a short walk up and down the road or have a hot drink. It’s probably best to come away from the screens while you have your break so you feel refreshed when you come back to do more work.

  1. Make sure that you write down in a timetable when your commitments are

This is probably one of my key points that has been the most helpful to me. I seem to forget where I need to be at home whether it is Zoom call or an appointment and I expect this happens to other people too as they aren’t in the university routine. Therefore, you should get a planner or a piece of paper and write out the days and times in the week and put in your commitments. This way you can stop forgetting important meetings and plan extra stuff to put in without double booking yourself. For example, by having all your tutorials or seminars written down, you know your availability for shifts.

  1. Have a set time when you are going to finish work and stop for the day

This could be stopping at a certain time or before dinner for example. You need to be able to separate work and leisure so that you can relax and sleep properly and ultimately avoid burnout. Unless you have a deadline tomorrow, you can probably afford to turn off the laptop and watch some TV as the quality of work you do late at night will reduce as you become more tired.

  1. Be nice to yourself

This time is difficult for everyone so doing any amount of work is an achievement and you should care for yourself! By understanding that its ok for you to have some time off if you don’t feel like working, you are improving your long term mood and wellbeing which is very important. You shouldn’t take this too far though as this will turn into procrastination which will increase your stress. However, giving yourself small allowances will help you and improve your productivity.

Filling the spare time and practicing self care

Some people may have reduced spare time during this lockdown but a lot of people will have a lot of time that they don’t know what to do with. This can be an overwhelming amount of time to sit at home doing nothing so I have some ideas with what to fill it with.

I have created this lockdown bingo game with lots of great ways to spend your time. You can use it like a calendar or just for inspiration of what to do in your free time to get you away from your work and allow you to recharge yourself.

I haven’t done all of these yet so I am looking forward to trying them out and doing something different. My goal is to learn a bit of Spanish and to spend more time at home with my family. Don’t worry if you don’t fancy some of these as getting up for sunrise might be out of the question for those of you that are night owls rather than early birds meaning you could personalise the grid. You could change that square to something you want to do such as spending more time on a hobby or looking after a pet if you have one.

You may find yourself filling some of the spare time with revision for Summer exams or reading for seminars but do make sure that you take some time to do something else. It doesn’t have to be anything special or thought out but to demonstrate self-care you need to give your mind time to focus on something other than work to avoid exhausting yourself or to prevent burnout.

Improving your mood

Improving your mood is an aim of self-care and can be difficult to maintain in lockdown. Some of the best tips I would say to stay positive and healthy would be to:

  • Eat more healthily – eat three meals a day with plenty of fruit and vegetables to keep your brain fuelled to tackle your work.
  • Get 8 hours of sleep and regulate your sleeping pattern – this can be difficult at times as plans for each day can be different but roughly getting up and going to bed at the same time can make you feel less tired which will make you happier.
  • Have a screen free day or avoid screens when you can – screens can’t be avoided completely during lockdown as most things have now moved online but turning them off to do something else can really help you to feel better. You could do some cooking, some exercise or read a book instead.

I hope you enjoyed all of these tips and find them helpful to inspire yourself to try something new and stay well during lockdown!

Eloise Barnes

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