The daily life of students has been disrupted, shaken up and completely shifted amid the coronavirus crisis. Many universities around the world decided to take their classes online, closing their campuses and urging students to go back to their permanent home addresses.
This situation has left students all over the world wondering about their next steps forward and their approach to studying. Is it even possible to continue studying amid the uncertainties of today, or act like nothing is happening? Day by day, the outcomes of the crisis are followed closely by every human on Earth, but no one can say for sure how it’s going to play out, what kind of consequences there will be and what will be the overall impact on the education system.
That is why it’s important to have a strategy in place to continue with your academic progress even as the crisis goes on. Here are some tips for studying at home effectively even if you are stressed out and in isolation:
Always plan your day, week, month
There is a very good reason why every productivity guru will tell you that planning is the key to success. If you prepare and plan, you will reach your goals through hard work and strategic thinking. Without planning and preparation, you either won’t reach your goals or you will reach them based on pure luck.
The same theory is applicable to studying, and it’s worth noting that in times of isolation, it’s more important than ever. Leaving your studying habits up to your mood or energy levels during your day at home will result in a lot of procrastination and productivity challenges.
Image source: 123RF.com
Keep in touch with your classmates and tutors
Even though we are going through social distancing, it doesn’t mean that we are unavailable to each other. On the contrary, now is the time to form even deeper connections with your classmates and tutors with the help of social media and messaging apps.
You can even organise group study sessions on Zoom or Skype if you want to keep the esprit de corps going even during quarantine times. This is a great way to stay connected and fight feelings of isolation while working on your study workload at the same time.
Prepare a workspace to study at home
All expert tips for studying at home always accentuate the importance of having a good workspace that will be designated exclusively for reading, writing and studying. Of course, you can use the same space where you studied so far, but make sure you don’t do any other activities there.
For example, if you scroll through social media or watch Netflix at your study desk, your brain will start associating this space with free time and entertainment rather than studying.
Image source: Reddit
Take breaks during the day
Breaks are necessary for effective and productive studying periods, but in isolation, it can be hard to remind yourself where the line is between work and play. Also, there is the so-called isolation productivity pressure, where people feel like now is the time to be more productive than ever before. If they fail, they feel guilty and depressed.
To make sure you don’t burnout from studying, you need to take frequent breaks where you will really relax and take your mind off all the stuff you have to do. Try doing easy stretches, yoga, pilates or watch an episode of your favourite show. As soon as you’re feeling tired and stressed from studying, it’s okay to take a break; just make sure it’s a real power-break and not procrastination.
Don’t forget about a daily routine
The fact that we don’t have to get up, get dressed and be on our way to university is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, studying from home will save you a lot of precious time that you would otherwise spend on getting ready and rushing to classes. On the other, you won’t have your stable structure to rely on.
Setting up a daily routine that will closely resemble your usual daily habits is the best way to make sure isolation and quarantine don’t shock your physical and mental health too much. Try waking up and going to sleep at roughly the same time as you would normally, sticking to your usual daily plans and keeping up with your hobbies and interests.
Image source: Venngage
Serotonin and dopamine that are produced during exercise are one of the best recipes for isolating yourself and remaining happy and in a good mood. It’s even better if you have studying to do because your brain and body will be grateful for that extra energy boost.
As you know, your options for working out and doing sports are limited compared to pre-coronavirus times. However, you shouldn’t see this as an excuse to stagnate or miss out on your training sessions. This is a chance to work on individual improvement and be back in tune with your own body.
Try to be creative, find a hobby
Remember how you used to have tons of hobbies before studying took up most of your time? Well, here is your chance to go back to them, reconnect with your talents and explore new affinities!
Many students who like linguistics and exotic cultures like to turn to studying foreign languages when they have extra free time, which is now. You can use online certified translation services that can help you translate your study material from one language into another. Also, research has proven that studying another language keeps you sharp and quick, which will be useful even when you’re studying your regular material!
Doing work with your hands such as crafting, drawing, painting or sewing is also very soothing for the brain. You can use these activities as a relaxation session between your study periods.
Chat via Messengers, Skype or Email
One of the hardest things about staying home is that you won’t have the chance to hang out with your friends like you used to. As you know, sometimes just a quick talk or coffee with some of your friends can get you ready and motivated for studying.
Use the wonders of technology to connect with your friends on Facebook or Instagram messengers, Skype, email, or other channels. Video chatting is the best way to get the full hangout experience and alleviate the feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Find useful tools and applications for studying
When you’re left to your own devices, you have to equip yourself with the right tools to make studying from homework for you. Try some of these to make your life easier and boost your academic results:
- ProWritingAid – a grammar and spelling checker for perfect essays and papers
- Toggl – a time management app that can help you see how much time you’re spending on each activity
- Evernote – keep all of your documents organised in one place
- MyStudyLife – a smartphone app to keep track of all your academic obligations
Choose the right diet for brains
It’s been scientifically proven that you can boost your memory and focus with food. Naturally, everyone has a hard time focusing on work and studying nowadays, so it’s likely you will need some extra fuel. Load up on foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, walnuts and spinach.
It’s also important to stock up on vitamins that will help keep your immune system intact and your brain working on its maximum potential. You should also include a lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet because they contain nutrients that will make you feel good both cognitively and physically.
If you approach this coronavirus isolation with a positive mindset, it can be a chance to get more work done than ever before. At the same time, you shouldn’t put pressure on yourself by setting goals that are too ambitious or that are not aligned with how you’re feeling. If you feel like you need some rest, go for it. Take frequent breaks and give your brain the relaxation it deserves in these hard times.
You can also look at studying as a mode of taking your mind off of the current crazy state of the world, news and discussions. Whenever you feel like you’re anxious or stressed about the coronavirus crisis, try to take your mind off it by studying. This will have a double benefit: both for your mental health and your grades.
Mark Blackwood is a professional localiser cooperating with some of the world’s biggest content publishing platforms. Mark is also a certified translator at TheWordPoint working in language pairs EN-FR and EN-DE. He’s an avid language learner and teacher who likes deepening his knowledge of foreign cultures by travelling and exploring new countries.