It's hard to imagine who hasn’t been impacted by the government’s new rules to self-isolate as we tackle the ongoing impact of COVID-19. As the situation looks set to continue in some form or another for at least the next few months, students, employees and families alike are taking the long view when dealing with the challenges of lockdown. If you’re a student, your quarantine challenges may be a little different — here are five practical ways to get a handle on the situation.
Use the internet wisely
Like most students around the world, classes and even tutorials are now hosted online. Though it’s tempting to skip these, experts recommend maintaining a normal schedule and routine as much as possible during times of disruption.
It may seem like a silly thing, but get properly dressed for online classes, get a coffee if you usually have one and take notes as you normally would — you’ll feel more connected to the world and your fellow students. At the same time, since you’ll potentially be increasing your daily screen time, try to have regular device-free breaks — go outside for a walk or have a quick nap to give your eyes a rest.
Get a head start on next year
Though it might not feel like it now, life can and will carry on. If you’re in self-isolation and away from your family, it can feel as though everything has become frustratingly stuck — you can combat this feeling by making active plans for the future. Get your financial, study and housing affairs in order. Take a look at your finances and make an updated budget. Even though so much feels up in the air at the moment, spare a thought for next year’s modules and how you can get ahead by preparing now.
Likewise, if you have roommates, plan the details now, for example how you’ll split and manage bills. According to Glide, ‘If you’ve never shared a property before, then you’ll need to accept that this can be a formula for arguing and falling out. Imagine what happens should someone decide they are not paying their share for whatever reason. The bill still needs to be paid’. Decide on how you’ll manage this ahead of time, or set up a bill splitting service like Glide’s to streamline things.
Revisit neglected hobbies or unfinished projects
Student life is busy, to say the very least. It can often feel like every spare moment of time is accounted for, and that you’re always in a bit of a rush. But all work and no play can make for a seriously dull experience — and that’s true now more than ever!
Break up work periods with time to truly treat yourself. You don’t necessarily have to get serious about being ultra-productive or learn an impressive new skill, despite some inspiring people on social media doing exactly that! Instead, indulge in a forgotten hobby or a pastime that simply makes you feel good. Now is the time to remind yourself how to cook, pull out that old needlework project or start writing again.
Get in touch with the bigger picture
Many international students are under enormous pressure right now. There’s so little sense of security, and many students can get completely overwhelmed when it comes to financing their studies, managing a good result and somehow finding employment in a frankly terrifying marketplace. Perhaps that’s why, as the initial panic of the pandemic somewhat settles, many people are taking the forced alone time to do a little soul-searching.
It may be beneficial to start journaling or even getting some online or telephone counselling to help tackle any anxiety, difficulties or uncertainty about the future. With a little extra time on the schedule, we can all take a moment to pause and think about our bigger plans going forward. When the lockdown finally eases, you’ll be glad you spent some time doing some mental ‘spring cleaning’!
Connect with your community
That said, if you are living alone as a student away from home, you may find the isolation crippling after a few weeks. Your university or TAFE will certainly have programs and initiatives to help keep students connected during these strange times. Reach out where possible and try to foster some community spirit – even a brief chat with someone can lift a low mood and remind you that we’re all in it together. You may even find it helpful to volunteer your time, money, or effort to help those worse off in the crisis.
In some ways, the pandemic is proving to be the most challenging event to date, but in other ways, it’s an opportunity to plan, rest and think more deeply about what we want to do when it’s over.