Image from Neuro Tracker.
COVID-19 has brought with it the virtualization of school and work, forcing students to undertake their regular academic obligations in the midst of a disorganized, stressful time. Studying from home is harder than students get credit for, and if burnout was prevalent before, it’s exponentially more present now. If you’re feeling exhausted and unmotivated with school and remote work, here are some (reasonable) tips for taking care of yourself:
Taking a break is nothing to be ashamed of, though it may not feel justified for many. If your brain simply can’t handle Kantian philosophy every day, plus the added stress of your current isolated (or with your parents) living situation, it’s perfectly understandable and acceptable to take a breather. Many schools have implemented a pass/fail grading system, so take advantage of that if you have the option! Remember missing one assignment won’t be the end of the world. You’re not going to fail the class. You’re doing the best you can, and that’s enough.
If your readings have you overwhelmed, take a nice bath while you read. Or do a face mask. Put on makeup. Listen to relaxing music. Drink tea. Just because you can’t do work at a coffee shop doesn’t mean you can’t simulate the experience at home. Don’t make homework harder than it already is—make it more enjoyable!
If you simply can’t take a whole day or week off, take breaks between assignments to do something you enjoy. Maybe watch an episode of a series you enjoy or bake something. You could even take a nap! Whatever feels comforting to you, do it. School is important, but if you’re constantly stressed and tired, you won’t perform as well as you normally would. Be kind to your brain.
This may be hard if you have to work in your room, but it can be done. If you have a desk, make that your working space and force yourself to only do work there. Working from your bed can form stress associations, making it more difficult to fall asleep and be productive. Create a sense of separation between the place you work in and the place you relax in to improve your productivity and keep your bed the sacred space it should be.
Whether you work in an office or in your room, beautifying the place you work in can encourage you to be more productive and make studying a little less dreary. Draw some pictures. Light candles. Get plants. Make the space feel inviting and warm, somewhere you’d like to spend time. Just don’t go too crazy with the spending, since that might add unnecessary stress to the creation process of your beautiful studying sanctuary.