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This lockdown has felt very different. Long gone are the days of the first lockdown where we had the time, and the agreeable weather, to go on a long walk every single day. This lockdown we are all very busy, we all have lots of uni work to do – as a stressed-out third-year trust me the struggle is real. But we can’t let all our lives be occupied by the seemingly endless pile of seminar prep, lecture notes and our dreaded looming deadlines. This is how our writers are keeping busy, and let’s be honest, sane during this lockdown.
For me, the struggle of this lockdown is how to occupy my weekends, aka the time I would normally spend socialising with other people. This might sound insane, but I have got to a point where I don’t really want to mindlessly watch Netflix anymore. I’m sure others can relate: at this point, we don’t have to watch an episode of Black Mirror for Netflix to feel like a video game that we have completed. So, I have been finding new ways of occupying my time that are away from a screen.
This term I have got into the habit of cooking for my family every Saturday. So far, I have made a chilli, pizza from scratch and toad-in-the-hole. But I don’t just simply cook, I make an event out of it! Sod Jamie’s 5-minute meals, my meals need to take hours to cook. I like giving myself far too much time so that I can slowly prepare. Don’t ask me why but I have realised that I find chopping vegetables really relaxing. I put an audiobook or podcast on and have a great time cooking up a meal.
During lockdown, I’ve been keeping myself busy the only way I know how: procrastinating from doing my very close-approaching dissertation deadline. Hopefully, however, in a good way. I’ve been using this lockdown to stay on top of my health and do some exercise. This is my basic attempt at avoiding the inevitable slump behaviour that characterised the first national lockdown. As well, it makes sure I take full advantage of my one walk outside a day! Specifically, I’ve been aiming to jog each morning and focus on portion control (because one handful of pasta just doesn’t seem enough). Exercise and healthy living are good things to consider if you’re feeling restless or bogged down with work, as it gives you a considerable break which simultaneously calms your nerves and aids mental health.
With an increase in activity, I’ve been making sure to fully relax in the evening too. For my flatmates and I, this means re-watching every single Disney movie and belting our hearts out to Gabriella’s ‘Gotta Go My Own Way.’ Camp Rock won’t know what’s hit it. I’m still wondering why the neighbours haven’t filed a noise complaint yet.
As we now find ourselves in the third or fourth lockdown, life can get quite boring at times. Creating a routine and incorporating some healthy habits has been my number one priority to keep me busy. Even if I don’t have an early morning class, I make sure that I get up early, listen to some podcasts, and clean my space. Uni work obviously dominates my life at the moment, but I also try and make sure to not spend too much time in one go in front of my computer. So, I like to take quick breaks in between studying where I do anything other than staring at a screen, whether that involves reading a book or having a little dance break in my room.
Something that I have found quite helpful throughout lockdown is to explore my creativity more and to take care of my mental health through journaling and meditating. I also try and make sure that I leave the house at least once a day to get some movement and fresh air. Besides keeping busy, I have also found that lockdown has made me appreciate moments where I don’t do anything much more. Sometimes it is important to just pause for a second.