February 5, 2021, by UoN School of English
Being Kind To Yourself – Coping With Normality In Changing Times
‘Coping with normality’ seems like an odd phrase, but it is one that is needed in these unprecedented times as tasks which seemed simple pre-2020 now seem like a challenge. Everybody knows that 2020 was a year like no other, and going into 2021 I do believe that we need to be kinder to ourselves and appreciate that we are in fact getting through these tough times, handling it much better than we think we are!
It is okay to be sad about our lack of social lives, clubbing and honestly the whole isolation associated with the online university experience. This ‘new normal’ has been unexpectedly thrown onto us and I am sure that you are not alone in finding it difficult to cope with. Through this post, I hope to provide some affirmation that you are doing better than you think you are, as well as some tips on how to manage online learning.
Picture this. A scenario which I am sure we have all been in at one point. It’s another day of online learning from your bedroom and you have started out the day by creating a highly ambitious to-do list. Burnt out from the stress of managing coursework, seminars, lectures, extracurricular commitments and online Zoom calls to maintain your friendships, the day comes to an end and the to-do list is not complete. Your first reaction may be guilt, anger or annoyance, being tempted to pull an all-nighter to finish everything. Yet instead, no matter how pressing your deadlines may be, take a moment to reflect on what you have achieved with your day, no matter how big or small that may be. Even the little things; managing to get out of bed, go for a walk, or even attempt some work even if it wasn’t a lot in your eyes. Make sure to have some time for yourself at the end of each day with a clear switch off from work before you go to bed, whether this be through watching a film, YouTube, or reading a book (if you can manage reading anymore whilst doing an English degree!). Establishing a healthy routine is extremely important – even though this may be hard to do, maintaining a distinction between work and life makes a huge impact.
Whilst managing many commitments during university is hard in normal times, the looming presence of a worldwide pandemic undoubtedly makes this harder, therefore adjusting to these times and ‘coping with normality’ (completing tasks such as coursework which seemed simpler to do and manage before 2020) is a collective experience which students across the world are experiencing. You are not alone. Looking after your mental health is extremely important; being kind to yourself and seeking help from the University if you need it is essential. But just remember – you’ve got through one semester already and with a positive mindset and a healthy routine, online learning during ‘the new normal’ will be a challenge which you will overcome.
Amrit Virdi is an English student at the University of Nottingham.
Image credit: Yuriy Kovalev
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