Trent Building, University of Nottingham, seen from a distance.

April 3, 2020, by UoN School of English

How to Keep Going in Difficult Times

The past few weeks have been an adjustment to say the least. Thanks to Covid-19, the world has moved indoors, and university has gone online. It’s frustrating; it feels like a lot has been taken away from us. As students, we were told that these would be the best years of our lives, where we’d learn, prepare for the working world, and meet life-long friends… there were a lot of expectations. This wasn’t exactly one of them.

It is – and will be – difficult, but there are things that we can do to stay positive.

1. Structure

Without the structure of a university timetable to keep up the pace, it is easy to fall into a slump. Instead, start getting into a routine. Turn parts of your house into campus, whether that’s leaving your room, or leaving your bed. It’s harder in smaller areas but try and allocate certain areas and certain times of the day for work, and others for rest. And keep dressing for the day. It might sound silly but putting on a pair of jeans and my contact lenses helps me to kick start the day.

Person doing sit ups on a mat.


2. Indoor exercise

Being restricted to where we live can have a serious impact on our physical, as well as mental, health. It is generally important to stay healthy, but strengthening your lungs immune system will also help to fight this virus. If you’re into running, we’re still allowed to go outside once a day for exercise. If not, you could try yoga, or high intensity interval training (HIIT). Youtube is full to the brim of exercise videos that you can explore. Figure out what you like to keep you physically and mentally motivated.

3. Take care of yourself

While exercise will help you to take care of yourself physically, make sure to look after yourself emotionally. How do you like to relax? Whether it’s calling a friend, making a cup of tea, watching a film, doing a face mask, meditating, painting your nails, having a warm bath or shower… there are plenty of ways to rejuvenate yourself in these stressful times. Help yourself to relax.

Hands holding smart phone.


4. Stay connected

We’re used to being on campus, sitting in lectures and seeing our friends everyday. While it’s different, we still have FaceTime, Skype, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Microsoft Teams… the list goes on for all of the different means of communication we have to stay connected to each other. Obviously it’s not the same as in-person, but any type of communication has shown to increase happiness. We can only do what’s available to us and try to stay positive about it.

5. Reframe

At times like this, there is an endless supply of things to complain about. It becomes an endless cycle of being miserable. Wouldn’t you get bored of complaining? I already am. Instead, I’m going to be reframing any negative thoughts I might have, focusing on all of the things that I can still do. It helps to think of the end-goal, and how the post-isolation version of me would regret having wasted my time being so gloomy.

6. Keep busy

If you haven’t caught up on university work, do that. If you’ve done all of your work, read the book that’s been sitting on your shelf for years. Watch the film that was on your Netflix ‘My List’ for months. Play the board game that’s been sitting in a cupboard for decades. Cook a new recipe, do some art, knit a scarf, learn an instrument, learn anything! In the spirit of reframing negative thoughts, we have the time to do the things we’d forgotten about. We might as well use it!

Nina Shasha is an English student at the University of Nottingham.

Image Credit: UoN English, Jonathan Borba & freestocks
Posted in Tips/Advice/Guidance