How I (try to) Stay Sane and Productive During Self-Isolation

How I (try to) Stay Sane and Productive During Self-Isolation

Let's face it, self-isolation is a bit of a bummer – but it has to be done. At least we are all in it together and can help each other get through it! Whilst most people have maybe gone home to their families, a lot of us are still in Aberdeen, staying in halls, with their flatmates or maybe all by themselves (like me – yay…).

In this situation, it's important to try and stay positive and continue life as normally as possible. Perhaps you are needing a little inspiration, so here are 9 things I do to help me stay sane and productive during this period of self-isolation.


1. Get Up At A Reasonable Time And Make The Bed

First of all, I usually get up sometime between 7am and 9am every day. That way I don't waste half of the day lying in bed. If I were to stay in bed for much longer, I would hardly get anything done. Also, by getting up earlier I can divide my day up perfectly into study time and free time.

Once I’m up, I also immediately make my bed. That stops me from crawling straight back in again and also prevents me from studying in bed later on, as I am never particularly productive if I do that...

A cup of coffee on a saucer sits in the middle of an unmade bed with crisp white sheets


2. Get dressed

I don't know about you guys, but I find staying in my pyjamas or joggers all day never helps me be particularly productive. Being in, perhaps less comfortable, jeans etc. makes it less likely for me to go lie on my bed or on the sofa. It also helps me differentiate between “work time” and “chill time” later on in the day. Getting dressed as I would to go to Uni puts me into a better mindset for studying and being productive.


3. Do Some Studying

I'm trying not to forget that some of us do still have exams at the end of this month. So, I'm trying to do at least a little bit of studying every day. I normally do my work in the morning, from about 10am – 1pm or 1.30pm, and then give myself the afternoon off. That gives me a decent balance between Uni work and other stuff I might want to do for the rest of the day. You can find some more tips for motivating yourself to study for online exams here:


4. Differentiate between “Work” and “Home”

I know this is hard, since we are all working from home at the moment. But I am trying to differentiate a little between my “work home” and “normal home”.

To do that, I'd really recommend moving your desk into a different room, maybe into the living room if you have one. That way you get a bit of a change of scenery and are not spending the whole day in your bedroom. I also make sure that once I have finished Uni work for the day, I tidy away my home work station, returning the living room to “normal home”. It also adds to creating a bit of a routine, both in the morning and afternoon when I set up or tidy up my “work home”…

A person balances two groups of blocks, one that spells out work and one that spells out life


5. “Study Club”

My flatmate and I (before she left) used to also study in the living room together, motivating one another to do work. For us, “study club” started at 10am and we'd do as much work as we could before lunch and having the afternoon off. It's actually quite a fun thing to do – I'm sad I have to do “study club” by myself now… I suppose you could also do something similar as in the next point and find yourself a “virtual study partner” or have a “virtual study club”. Maybe I need to give that a try…


6. Get In Your Daily Exercise and Workouts

It's really important to stay active at the moment – which can be difficult if you are sitting inside all day.

I'd highly recommend you use the fact that you are “allowed” to go out once a day for exercise. You could go for a cycle, run, walk along the beach, play football in the garden – whatever you want! In any case, it's just good to go outside and get some fresh air (that'll also help you sleep better at night).

A bridge leading down to Aberdeen beach. the backdrop is a blue sea with a dramatic grey sky.

If you can't motivate yourself to go outside, why not find yourself a “telephone walking buddy”? I have started doing this with my mum. At a set time each day, we call one another and then both go for a walk whilst talking on the phone. That, for one, motivates me to go out (or it's more me motivating her), plus it makes going for a walk far more enjoyable because it feels like you are walking with someone whilst having a conversation with them.

I think it also really helps to set yourself a daily goal. I normally walk a lot every day, just walking to Foresterhill and back, easily getting in 10,000+ steps a day. So, I am trying to keep that up during this period of self-isolation.

I clock up between 10,000 steps every day simply by working out in the morning as soon as I get up, going for about an hour-long walk in the afternoon, and sometimes I also do another workout in the afternoon/evening. There are loads of home workouts on YouTube that you can do and I'm sure your neighbours will be delighted (mine love it when I start jumping around at 8 in the morning…).


7. Stay in Touch with People

Facetime, skype, text, phone, email… Just stay in touch with people. It's obviously not as good as seeing people in real life, but it is better than nothing. Despite being alone in my flat at the moment, I don't feel too lonely as I am constantly on the phone to someone!

Also, if you do have other friends that are home by themselves at the moment, it's great to text/call them and check up on them every day, just to make sure they are doing okay.


8. Have some “me” time - even if you are alone.

Remember to also take some time for yourself, no matter if you are living with other people or by yourself at the moment. It's nice to have some time in which you are not on the phone or chatting to people. Just like you would under normal circumstances, it's good to have a little time to yourself and do something you enjoy. I really like cooking and baking, so it's nice to spend some more time in the evening making something a little more “special”. I have all the time in the world at the moment, so I might as well put a bit more effort into my food. I also like to curl up in bed with a bag of mini eggs, a movie or a book and try and forget about this whole virus thing for a few hours…

A cup of coffee is shown from bids eye view, positioned next to an open book in warm, calming colours

9. Don't check the news and social media all the time

It may seem difficult, but I actually think it's a good idea to not constantly check the news or social media all the time. Let´s be honest, not much tends to change from one day to the next, and most of what you hear can be a bit depressing. That's why I try and limit the amount of news I watch/read to once per day.

I hope you find these tips helpful and let us know how you are managing to stay sane and productive during self-isolation!

Published by Students, University of Aberdeen


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