By Elizabeth Fair
At the time of writing this, we are on our 85th day in lockdown in the UK. If you’re anything like me, the concept of time has changed significantly over lockdown – while days seem to be dragging on endlessly in a monotony of repeated patterns and revision, exams and the end of term seem to have suddenly sprung upon me a lot quicker than I had imagined. Keeping track of time, and passing the time has been something I struggled with, especially at the start of lockdown, so I thought I’d share with you a few strategies that have really helped me:
1) Implement some sort of structure into your week. For me, some of this has changed every week – so some weeks, for example, mornings were set aside for revision, and afternoons for coursework. To keep track of which day of the week I’m on, as a family, we spend Friday evening together – something to look forward to, and also to mark time passing and keep a track of which week we’re on. This could be as simple as implementing a sort of meal structure – e.g. Friday curry night – or having a certain night when you watch a film, whatever takes your fancy!
2) Set a regular sleep schedule, and have morning and bed ‘routines’. Despite often wondering why a day passes so slowly, by evening I often don’t want to go to bed. But I have learnt that this just makes it harder for me to motivate myself to get up in the morning. I’ll be honest, I’m still working on this, but setting routines for the morning and evening, no matter how simple, has helped me want to get out of bed (or go to bed in the evening), as they’ve included tasks which I enjoy, for example exercise or journaling. These motivate me to get out of bed, as I’m not thinking about the monotony of the day, but rather what I enjoy that’s coming, or make me think about bed because of the associations they now have. Also, when you’re less tired, days don’t seem to pass as slowly.
3) Have some sort of calendar on the wall, and write EVERYTHING on it. I personally have two calendars – one detailing all the work set each week, and the other marking in video calls, deadlines, tutorials and other things like that. It helps me feel like time has past, looking back at all the little ticks on the wall, even if at first it felt like a pretty daunting poster which didn’t progress very quickly.
4) Find a hobby which you can enjoy in your ‘spare’ time. Personally, I have enjoyed taking more dance classes that I have ever done, and watching the carrot seeds I planted earlier in lockdown grow. I’ve progressed at both dancing and the seedlings have grown so much, and this has really helped keep me grounded in the day-to-day, as well as marvel at nature and what my body can do if I push it.
5) Finally, look after yourself! If you are too exhausted, mentally or physically, to do something, that will show in how long a task feels.