Finding a routine: Looking after you in lockdown number two

Dark nights, impending deadlines, and a second lockdown – here are some tips on getting through

With the second lockdown coming in and life going back into limbo, it’s harder than ever to keep yourself motivated and keep up your wellbeing. Last lockdown just felt like term ending early so it wasn’t as imperative to keep going, but this time is different. We’re all hitting both a mid-term slump and a second lockdown, alongside the darker nights and colder weather.

We’ve compiled an extensive list of tips to keep yourself feeling motivated, productive and happy during this second lockdown.

Make a routine

Even if your routine is super basic, it can help your productivity by putting you in a steady headspace. A routine doesn’t have to take the form of an extravagant to-do list, even just waking up at the same time every day, or going for a daily walk is great. Structure is ideal for mental wellbeing and is increasingly important as the days get more and more monotonous.

Find your ‘study space’

Working from home has always been a challenge, but now with many of our escapes being closed, it’s harder than ever to get that separation between uni and home. Crafting your study space and keeping it separate from the rest of your life can do wonders for your mental health and your productivity, making sure you can stay productive with your studies, while keeping your home space for you.

Make basic to do lists

Even doing the simplest things can be really hard during lockdown with everything being at home. Start by making lists or writing down everything you’ve done that day, even basic things like showering and eating. Also try writing down your academic goals – it’s so satisfying to scribble out and cross off things you’ve done, and really helps you with your achievements and knowing how to move forwards.

Block your time out

Time blocking in your calendar has been proven to increase productivity: go through your schedule at the beginning of the week and put in all your relevant activities into your calendar. When you start your day with a plan, it really helps.

Check in with other people

Not that you need to have long conversations, but just having a quick check in with people you care about can be huge for your happiness. Be it your parents, your friends or your course mates, it’s so valuable just to have a quick chat to make sure you’re all okay, and it can be great to problem solve and see what’s going on with your friends.

Get some fresh air and exercise

Exercise has been proven to help time and time again and, despite gyms being closed, our time allowed outside is unlimited. We’re on the edge of the Downs and right by the sea, so if you love walking, running, cycling, or swimming, you’re all set. Make sure you get as much sunlight as possible during these darker days.

getting that vitamin D

Keep communicating

Friends are hard to find right now (especially for freshers), so holding on to anyone we can is so important. Discord is full of events, societies are running loads of online events, and there are always people looking to meet new faces, albeit online (just check Sussfessions if you need proof). Old school communication is also great- maybe try writing your granny a real posted letter?

Be kind to yourself

Everyone right now is going through a huge change and we shouldn’t ignore it. It’s okay to not be working at the same level you were before so don’t beat yourself up about it. You’re only human and it’s normal for things to feel harder now. That’s okay, so be kind to you and whatever your current capacity is.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

It’s a tough time of year for so many of us: days getting shorter, weather getting colder, and for many people the upcoming festive period isn’t too merry. Add that to uni deadlines and content piling up, and it can be very overwhelming. But there are always people to ask for help – be it the Student Life Centre, your academic advisors, tutors, or anyone else. Reaching out is the most important thing you can do when times get tough.

If you feel like you’re struggling, don’t do it alone – there are many places you can turn to for help. Organisations include:

Samaritans: 116 123

SANEline: 0300 304 7000

The Mix: 0808 808 4994 (under 25s)

Mind Crisis service

Sussex Student Life Centre