Studying during self-isolation
The current situation regarding curfew and the Corona virus is unusual and strange to all of us. That means it is important to be patient with ourselves. It is okay not to know yet how to structure one’s day under these restrictions, it is okay to have emotions changing into all qualities and to have „missed“ half a day or more without achieving the set goals. It is only important to regularly analyse and ask oneself how to berretr/differently structure the upcoming day. The following advices may help with that.
Proven skills help to cope with new situations
In contrast to many other groups oft he population, students have experience with missing day structures and can resort to lots of abilities for self-organisation.
Make use of your existing resources and ask yourself the following questions: „What has worked out wenn so far? Which activities help me to relax? Which challenging situations have I mastered and which skills were useful? At which time oft he day do I learn best? How many hours a day can I work with full concentration? Do I prefer learning alone or in groups? How can I establish virtual learning groups? How can I motivate myself? What has helped me so far to relax in-between? Which advice would I give my peers if they were home alone having difficulties with self-organisation? Which of my strengths would my peers consider most helpful these days? Which resources can I make use of at the moment to master this term psychically stable and successfully?
How do I cope with closeness and distance in the isolation?
In which situation do you find yourself at the moment? Are you living alone, in a flat share, together with a partner? No matter if you live alone or together with others, it is adviseable to regulate your social contacts. If you spend the days alone, you should plan contacts as usual, but now only via phone, (video)chat, etc. It can be useful to appoint in advance, to „eat“ together, „meet“ for indoor sports or to just talk about your day.
But living together with others, it is also a good advice to make appointments for certain activities. In this case, they also make sure that there is not too much contact with other people. It is okay to avoid one another – in these days, that does not mean anything regarding the quality of the respective relationship. Meeting after some hours alone for coking together, for instance, can be more pleasant then being on the same spot all the time. Of course, personal needs are individual. Thus, formulate yours concisely and ask others for theirs.
As already mentioned, we all need some time for adjustment to this situation. Perhaps, this deceleration is even positive for some people. It can be convenient to just „live into the day“ for several days, but sooner or later, it is useful to establish some routine. Plan your next day on the preceding one, plan what you do, when to start and also when to finish. Set an alarm clock and start with your morning routine. It helps to get dressed as if you were going to work, and to bring the apartment into the conditions under which you usually leave it. Start your project after this preparation. Try to reach your goals the best possible. In the evening, draw a balance: What has worked out well, what do you want to change fort he next day? You have not failed until you have attempted to bring routine into your day and have drawn conclusions out of it. Also consider an „exit ritual“ fort he „workday“: a long bath, a phonecall, etc.
Achieving the learning or writing quota
Do you want to establish a routine to fill your workdays with learning or writing papers? You might like to include the following ideas:
• Find learning or writing units suitable for you. For many students, units of 50 minutes, followed by a break of 10 minutes, have shown to be appropriate. After an average of 1.5 hours, concentration decreases massively. This ist he latest point for a defined break.
• Do not seek motivation before you start. Let it follow during the process of learning/writing.
• If you are preparing for an exam, split the units into overview, acquirement and repetition. The last one ist he most important, most exhausting and most time-consuming part. Thus, consider at which time oft he day you can concentrate best.
• With writing papers or final assignments, it helps to previously produce a draft. This version can always be improved later, but you perceive your progress better than by puzzling over a paragraph for hours.
Positive activities counteract stress
Consider how much time you want to invest in positive activities. Regular physical exercise and (virtual) social contacts have a scientifically proven extremely positive effect on our psyche and should thus be integrated in your weekly schedule in a sufficient amount.
Yoga -> about 4 hours
Playing the guitar -> about 3 hours
Video call with Anna -> about 2 hours
Running -> about 2 hours
Targeted facts help against emerging anxiety
Consciously consider, which medial sources you want to pay attention to and how much time you want to dedicate to information research every day. Which newspapers do you want to read, which TV news do you want to see? Concise facts and serious information give orientation and security. Also plan these when establishing your daily schedule and avoid continuous media consumption.
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© Harald Kreimer und Christa Streicher-Pehböck