Life in lockdown

University teaching is out for Summer! Social distancing is now in place. You will be at home with your parents. You can no longer have hobbies that are outside. Exercise has to be once a day. Friendships, dating and seeing relatives has to be done through video calling.

This is your essential survivors’ guide for a student in lockdown. Just call me Bear Grylls. If you feel you need support from a psychological therapist, do get the help you need; I am not a medical doctor or a therapist.

I hope you are not experiencing shockdown, which is a word I have made up by combining the word ‘shock’ and ‘lockdown’ and is used when you are shocked that we are in lockdown. Feel free to use it yourself!

I want to talk about how to cope in these circumstances. My first tip for lockdown is to learn something new. A new skill. A new language. Being a student, you will want to spend as little on it as possible, so I recommend using the UEA library’s e-books that can be read anywhere, and you do not have to pay for them.

My second tip is to get out of bed, get dressed and keep as busy as you can. Do not let boredom bite. If you stay in your PJs all day, how can you cope?

My third tip is to expect to get less university work done at the moment due to distractions at home. Try not to give yourself a hard time about it, even though it is easier said than done.

My fourth tip is to meditate, which is something I have been doing since April 2015 and it has made a positive difference to my life.

My fifth tip is to use progressive muscle relaxation, which you may also find helpful. It is where you tense a muscle at a time, before releasing it slowly. A quick Google search will help you find out more.

My sixth tip is to visualize yourself doing the things you used to do before lockdown.

My seventh tip is to do your University work somewhere that is not your bedroom because you might not be able to sleep if you work in your room. If you have a garden, you could even consider going out there to do University work if the weather is good enough: I am guessing that your garden will be disrupted less often than being in your house, if your parents are working from home.

My eighth tip is to find any way you can to accept uncertainty. Uncertainty sucks, but this is a crucial thing to do now more than ever.

My ninth tip is to be grateful. Grateful that you are alive and, hopefully, well. Be grateful for all our key workers. If you live with other people, be grateful that you are not living on your own, that you have company around you.

My tenth tip is to have a routine and stick to it where possible. When will you do your university work? How often will you have rest breaks? Breaks will be just as important as if you were working in an office.

My eleventh tip is to ask your family to hide snacks. It is hard enough not to have regular snacks at the best of times, is it not? But eating healthily is important.

My twelfth and final tip is to volunteer from a distance. It will look good on your C.V. and feeling like you have done something helpful for someone else usually feels good.

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Laurence Scott

July 2021
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