Advice for students during the corona crisis
The Corona virus has consequences that impact the daily lives of everyone in out community to a great extent. If you, as a student, sometimes find it difficult to maintain a sense of orientation in this new reality, you are far from alone.
1 - Structure, structure, structure
When normalcy is suspended and everyday life is devoid of the usual reference points such as office hours, study halls and social activities, it is easy to fall into a structureless rhythm. The days quickly blur. Study time and free time can be difficult to separate. Procrastinations are in abundance based on the argument "I can simply read later today". Or maybe you are left with the the feeling that studying seems insignificant, since the future is so vague.
The trick is to create routines for yourself. Preferably some to share with others, so you get the feeling that others are "watching" and you are not only responsible for yourself.
Define a clear framework for when the work- or study day begins and ends. Incorporate breaks (ideally once an hour) and categorise what to read or work on during the day.
This way, you maintain some sort of normalcy, you continue to move towards your goals, and you allow yourself to clock out, when you are done with the tasks of the day.
You also make time for friends, exercise, relaxation and hobbies - without the guilty conscience.
2 - Being together, alone
Humans are herd animals whose nervous system is calmed by the experience of attachment, care and community.
Hence, the feeling of being isolated and disconnected from the outside world puts a major strain on our mental well-being.
Remember to spend time with others, virtually or by telephone.
Maintain your study group meetings over Skype, the sparring with your counsellor, the Friday night beer with friends, and the Sunday coffee with your parents - there are many ways to keep in touch and the sense of community intact, even if you cannot meet up physically.
In addition, several students are arranging online reading communities or food clubs at fixed times, which saves the individual from having to take the initiative all the time.
3 - Be critical of your concern
When our habits and lives as we know it are put on hold for a longer period of time, exaggerated worrying and musings can appear more freqently.
There are fewer distractions and things that call for our attention, thus making it a breeding ground for racing thoughts if we are not paying attention.
This can lead to a decline in one's health, poorer sleep and lack of joy and generel well-being in everyday life.
In order to be critical of one's concerns, becoming aware of them is the first step.
Ask yourself if the thought is beneficial to you, if the concern is real and if so, whether you can act on it or not. What is the worst that could happen and how likely is that scenario? That way, you take control of your concerns and actively relate to them instead of letting them thrive unrestricted in your mind.
Use, if necessary, a predetermined time slot, in which it is allowed to worry: 15 minutes a day where it is permitted to actively engage in concerns. Any concerns that arise outside of this time period should be stopped - kindly, but firmly - for instance, by writing them down and then physically putting them aside.
Do you need to address your concerns and challenges with a professional and receive advice on your specific situation? Call or write to The Student Counselling's telephone counselling or chat. For how to, visit Corona Advice.
4 - Stay up to date - but moderately
We can easily become news-junkies during this time. It is necessary and important to keep oneself updated on governmental announcements and information from relevant authorities such as one's educational institution. However, a constant bombardment from more or less valid news sources puts our ability to sort and filter information to the test.
Therefore, limit your news-checking to once or twice a day - remember to be source-critical!
Our entire lives should not be put on hold; It is important to still be present and nurture those parts of our existence that are crucial to us. Family, friends, personal interests, values and ambitions must still get our attention.
5 - Be caring - towards yourself and oth
Accept that things are not optimal right now, that your circumstances as well as everyone else's have changed, and that you cannot expect as much from yourself than you normally would.
Use this knowledge to lower your shoulders, breathe and ask yourself "what do I need?" Maybe the answer is "to write the next section of my assignment", "to go for a walk", "to call my mother / supervisor / best friend", "to make a cup of coffee" - listen to yourself carefully.
If it is difficult, then try including others in your challenges and let them act as a sounding board.
Tip: Make a list of things and activities that usually sparks energy and joy, and use it as a source of inspiration when it is hard to get off couch or the hours seem endless.