one of the most difficult things (or, for some, one of the best things) that came with the lockdown, is school being put completely into a virtual space, online. this has and still is causing so many troubles and struggles for all of the students out there, i am no exception.
it’s truly hard to manage everything on your own in one space and not go nuts. i’ve been studying online everyday, five days a week, at home, for almost 4 whole months now. and honestly, sick is an understatement at this point.
i get it. in the beginning it’s all about ‘oh it’s fun, it’s great, more free time, and you can even sleep longer!! amazing!’ but these four months are just too much. too much of not seeing my classmates, too much of studying on my own, because somehow teachers just aren’t capable of giving us straight up information and notes of the lessons, there’s been too much time spent studying over night because of the enormous amounts of homework and don’t even get me started on finding time to do the things you love, hobbies, and ACTUAL free time. like, completely free time during which you can do whatever you want. for me that’s just the time i spent sleeping at night.
you know, i always thought to do lists are amazing to keep you up with all the tasks you have, assignments, work in general. but when it comes to the point when you have to do your to do lists for every hour AND minute of the day, turns out they are just another pile of excess stress and anxiety which leads to avoiding the actual work you have.
now, i’ll stop talking about the bad stuff, i know my annoyance won’t stop the pandemic or online schooling but i just want you to draw the idea of what teenagers’ lives have been looking like for the past x months. it’s emotionally and mentally draining, but we have no other point than to push through and find ways to deal with it.
so what can you do to make the learning process a bit less stressful and maybe a tiny bit more enjoyable or more effective? well, i’ve got you covered, at least a tiny bit.
i’ve been going through different routines, ways to be the most productive i can be during the day, but everything just turns out to be another failed try. and that leads me to making a conclusion that we put too much pressure on ourselves to be productive, to give all of us, do all the tasks in x hours, days. i think you’ll agree that the lockdown has had a huge impact on more a) diet culture advertisements and b) ‘productivity is the best thing in your life, you need it so much and if you aren’t productive, well, fix that’. and that’s such a toxic mindset. we live in a pandemic, a global pandemic, productivity is in the list of things you should care the least about. you’re here, you’re pushing through, that’s enough.
but i know that’s not convincing enough. as it isn’t for me either. soooo what do we do? i think we need to learn to allow ourselves and not aim for perfection at all times. as we are studying in our home space, it’s already difficult to separate our personal lives and school so we end up studying the whole day. let it be homework, online classes or even the same studying topics on your own. while we aim for perfection, sacrifice all of the time during the day we have to studying, let’s let ourselves do 90% instead of 100%. let’s not push ourselves to the edges. it will be hard in the beginning, but know that you are still doing the work, you’re still learning. but you’re just taking care of yourself at the same time by understanding that perfection isn’t that healthy when you look at it like that.
find the exact reason why you are feeling how you’re feeling. especially if it’s the, so called, ‘bad’ emotions. either stress, anxiety, panic or anything in between. finding the cause of these emotions can help you find ways to deal with it. let’s say i’m sitting with my to do list in front of me and i’m so overwhelmed and stressed. these emotions lead me to not doing any of the work and stressing over it for the next few hours when i finally see i have absolutely no time to do the tons of work i planned to do. now, what’s causing me stress? it’s clearly the overload of work. that’s why i’m avoiding it. because there’s too much, and seeing such a long list of tasks makes me anxious and afraid of actually doing anything. so what can i do to fix this? i like to do this ‘technique’ when you start with your biggest task, which in this case, probs makes me the most anxious, and move on to smaller and smaller tasks. unbuckling the biggest tasks first helps me to be motivated to do the rest of the tasks, and usually, the smaller tasks are the ones i enjoy doing.
TRY to fix your sleep schedule and actually go outside through the day at least for a minute or two, or just move a bit in your room every half an hour or so during your working hours. i put a lot of emphasis on the word ‘try’. just because nothing happens overnight. and not everyday is a good, happy day, and that’s okay. just trying to find time for yourself during the day is amazing. let it be a few minutes outside, or even in your balcony if you have one, just breathe some fresh air. once you actually make this into a habit, it will be so much more enjoyable to spend half an hour outside, an hour or more. it helps you to clear your head and get back in focus with your work and it boosts your mood. also it’s great for your health to move a bit after sitting for hours and hours in front of a laptop. i know it’s hard to get yourself out there when you have a crap ton of work, it’s stressful to even think about leaving your work space to… go outside??? naaah. but like, please do. please go outside. it’s so good for you and the work you have to do at home goes so much smoother after you actually learn to take breaks in between sessions of learning, studying or doing any kind of other work. so yeah, breaks. take breaks.
sleep schedule can be a complicated one because i’m aware a lot of people just can’t get themselves to bed before midnight and wake up before 8 am, but even if you stay up late, make sure you’re not doing any kind of work after midnight. make this a priority. i, for myself, know, that even if i do something after midnight, i’ll either do it completely wrong or i’ll forget all of the information i studied/revised at night, right when i wake up. so now if i have work i haven’t done yet and it’s past 10pm (yup, i’m in bed by 11pm), i just don’t do it. i call it a day and go to sleep, because i understand that sleep quality sets the tone for the next day, it affects my mood and my work quality for the next day, so i’d better sleep good and feel amazing the next day than stay up doing an assignment, stressing about it, not getting enough sleep, failing that assignment because my brain has already shut off at that hour and on top of that, feeling like crap the next day. so i hope now you get the idea of how much more sleep is important than that one or two assignments you just couldn’t do that day.
there are many more ways to deal with the emotions going through you during this time, i highly recommend also talking to your friends, just keeping that connection even virtually because that’s what keeps most of us going and finding hope and that light in the end of the tunnel that maybe this will be over soon.
i hope my tips and somewhat advice will somehow help you or come in handy in any shape or form, i just hope you can re-learn how to feel human again, how to feel happy and experience joy in everyday, not just anxiety, stress, sadness and etc.
we’re in this together, and we can push through it together. i know it!
stay strong, stay safe,