Creating a routine

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Being at home in self-isolation is tough. Your daily life is likely to be unrecognisable, and the way you work and study has changed. We know that can be scary.

One of the things you could explore, particularly with the start of Exams season, is to create a routine. It can help you get back on track, reduce anxiety and help you claim a little bit of control over your life again.

WHERE SHOULD I START?                                                                              

The most important thing is to make it work for you. If you do want to create something you can keep referring to, aside from using any notebook, there’s also a whole host of handy routine manager apps that you can find on the app store. Or you can use Microsoft Onenote (all Essex students have access to the Microsoft package for free with their outlook accounts). Do you feel like you want to make a routine but you are not worried about writing it down to keep track? That’s okay too!

The first thing you'll want to do is outline the time you want to get up each morning on days you need to study. Trying to keep to the same times will help your body clock get into its own routine. You’ll get a better nights sleep and feel more refreshed the next day.

It might be tempting to stay in your pyjamas all day now you are at home, but getting dressed can have a lot of positive benefits on your wellbeing, and help improve your state of mind. Get up, dressed and have a good breakfast to help you focus better, reduce fatigue and make you feel happier too. 

Establish what time you are most productive at and centre your study routine around that time frame.  Are you ready to hit the revision straight after breakfast or do your energy levels peak later in the day? Either is totally OK.

Start your revision schedule by getting to grips with what you have to study i.e. which topics and resources you need to cover for an exam– contact the lecturer if you think you are missing something. Set yourself some goals for the day/week. Breaking down big tasks into smaller chunks means you can tick lots of things off, you’ll be super productive and that will feel great. For Essay based exams, practice writing essay plans to help you feel more comfortable with this.

Being in isolation doesn’t mean you’re alone. Make a study group with friends or course mates over Zoom – learn by teaching each other or keeping each other accountable.  Kahoot is a good way of testing yourself and playing against your friends.

If you prefer to study on your own, Quizlet is a great app and easy to use to study and practice what you’re learning with flashcards which you can create yourself.

Switching off from social media is hard right? Especially since it can help us stay connected through this time. However, when you need to get some revision done if you find it tricky to leave social media for a bit, you could consider using a couple of apps to help keep you focussed. Freedom is an app which blocks social media during study hours and also Forest: blocks access to other apps during selected times.

Don’t forget to put in breaks throughout the day. It’s so important to recharge, keep hydrated and well-nourished. Whether you take time out to make a snack, stick on your favourite #iSUlation playlist, or have a few moments to just chill, you’ll feel so much better for it.

Make a to-do list for the next day when you finish the days revision, highlighting tasks based on priority. This helps you relax as you know you have a plan for the next day and it’s all down on paper so you don’t have to worry about forgetting it.

If you are feeling stressed, talk to someone about it. Don’t forget, if you’re worried or just fancy a chat, SU Advice are here for you. You might like to also consider journaling – its normal to feel stressed right now, you may find that writing down your feelings and thoughts helps you.

Keep in contact with your friends or family. Make some time to contact a friend. They might be just as grateful to hear from you as you are to talk to them. Why not set up virtual meet-ups. If you usually have lunch together, then have lunch together over video call!

Use the time around studying to ensure you get your daily exercise. The morning is a great time to fit this in as it will leave you feeling awake, refreshed and ready to start the day. Also take the opportunity to plan some other things before or after you start your revision. It will help you feel productive. Getting those jobs done that you've been wanting to do forever like sorting out your paperwork, having a spring clean or sorting out your wardrobe.

Look after yourself; try to get plenty of sleep. Try to go to bed at the same time if you can each night, to help regulate your body clock and give you a better night’s sleep. This will enable you to feel well rested and ready to start your routine again. Keep both your body and your mind happy throughout this time. 


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