How to navigate through self-isolation and social distancing
This was definitely not what I had in mind for my first blog post but considering the trying and uncertain times we live in, I thought I’d pitch in and try to share some hopefully useful advice.
Understandably, this is an extremely disappointing time for all of us at university, no matter what year we are in or what plans we had. My heart goes out to the third years and the uncertainty and anxiety they must be feeling, not knowing what’s going to happen with exams and when they eventually enter the job market in September. But it’s also a horrible time for first years who have lost a part of their freshers experience and for the high schoolers who are graduating this year. We definitely have to remember that there are people who have it a lot worse and have a lot more to worry about, but our concerns and fears are also valid and it’s important to take care of ourselves.
Right now, there’s not much we can do besides self-isolating and practicing social distancing and obviously hoping that everything will calm down soon. It’s important to remember that there will be a light at the end of this tunnel and as a human race, we’ve gone through much worse and we will get through this.
You might have seen this going around the internet: “Our grandparents were called to war and we are being asked to stay home and sit on our couches. We can do this.” Although it’s admittedly a bit harsh, I think we have to remember this and keep it in mind as we navigate these stressful times.
Here are some ideas on how to spend your time during lockdown and/or self-isolation:
1. Read – I used to be a very avid reader, but I haven’t sat down to read properly in ages what with having university work, societies, cooking etc. It’s kind of my fault as I usually end up watching Netflix in my free time instead, but I think being in self-isolation gives me loads of time to finally pick up that book I’ve always been meaning to read.
2. Netflix and/or Amazon Prime – this is an obvious way to spend time and I’m sure we all have TV shows and movies to catch up on that we laid off watching during term time because of work. This is your chance and it’s something I would have done anyway (don’t need to be told twice). Just don’t go down the rabbit hole of spending too much time watching Netflix and not doing anything else.
3. Cook – I know, I know, I’m tired of cooking too, having spent all of term 2 figuring what to eat and never wanting to cook. But cooking can be therapeutic, especially when you think about eating what you’re cooking. So take this time to experiment and have fun cooking or baking new recipes – if it doesn’t go well, you can always give it to your family, considering they have nowhere to go and not much else to do!
4. Spend quality time with family – you’ve just spent 10 weeks or more away from your family and you’re now home for the holidays. Even if you’re not, there’s ways to spend time virtually, although it’s definitely not the same. Everyone in your family is likely going to working from home (they definitely should!) so take this opportunity to spend some time together. Play games, cook together, watch movies together or just talk. For people who are alone and away from home (shout-out to international students!), this is a much harder time for you to navigate all this alone. Don’t lose hope, call and Facetime your family as much as possible and try to do things together: check out Netflix Party for watching movies together remotely!
5. Find a new hobby – try something you’ve always wanted to try or get back into a hobby that you haven’t done in a while. For me, writing was one of my favourite hobbies, but I haven’t been writing for a long time, for a multitude of reasons. Being a student blogger was one way to take that hobby up again but I’m also meaning to write some more during the holidays and revive that dormant hobby of mine. If you don’t have such a dormant hobby, find something new to do! There are so many things that you can get into so don’t be afraid to push the boundaries and find something that you truly enjoy (indoors, though, don’t forget!)
6. Get that studying done! I’ve kept this one for last as it’s kind of what I’m struggling with personally. It’s not just the uncertainty regarding exams that has my motivation for studying very low but also the fact that I’ve just ended Term 2, which was extremely stressful in the last couple of weeks. So, I understand that it’s not easy to get back to studying or doing assessments immediately so definitely take a week or two to just relax. But after that, it’s important to get back in the rhythm and start being productive again, so that we can be prepared for whatever’s coming next for online Term 3.
That’s it from me, guys! There are many more things that you can do, and I didn’t want to bore you too much so I’ve only listed a couple ideas. Remember, stay inside, take care of yourselves and WASH YOUR HANDS! Even if you’re young and healthy, you have to think of the people who may be at risk so don’t be selfish and don’t go out. Self-care is important so take some time out to relax, take a bath and do anything that keeps you calm. Mental health is obviously taking a hit during this time so do the best you can and take things step-by-step!
Things will get better, you will come back to university, you will see your friends again so keep calm and self-isolate!