University Life Post-COVID: A Balancing Act

Anxiety flourishes in the face of uncertainty. Fuelled by the ever-changing environment COVID has thrown us into this past year, we face a final challenge. Returning to before. Hear from blogger Iona about her best tips for handling back-to-normal.

COVID-19 brought with it a lot of time. Time out the house became limited, regimented and somewhat of an illegal nature. Rushed chores became essential breaks to screen time. Face-time replaced time with other faces and commuting became something of the past. As university work began to role in late September, we were no longer faced with the socialise or work dilemma posed so regularly throughout terms before. Work was now the only option and access to it became unlimited. Life was no longer in the balance.

As we start our stop watches again outside of lockdown and enter back into all elements of university life, we are faced with the chance to reset. To bring back time with friends, breathlessness on sport pitches and laughter in societies. Five minute chats in the kitchen that last until dinner and quickly switch plans leaving routine to go astray. Going back to before can be difficult; learning to balance life with the everyday or work with the new time limits is difficult. So what can we do to create a healthy work-life balance?

Learn your values

Behaviours guided by values are behaviours we go on to appreciate. Our values reflect our core beliefs and living life by these can leave us feeling happier and more confident in ourselves. It minimises regrets and makes decision making far easier. Live by your values and you’ll be living the life you asked for. So how do we know our values?

A simple exercise requiring no more than a pen and paper can point us to their direction. Begin by writing down 10 words you would use to describe the most important people in your life.

Cross 3 off.

Cross a further 3 off.

Cross a final 1 off.

You should be left with 3 characteristics. These represent your core values. Do these match how you live your life?

To challenge or to be kind?

Photo by u0410u043du043du0430 u0420u044bu0436u043au043eu0432u0430 on Pexels.com

We hear a lot at the minute about being kind to ourselves. That we must look after ourselves and be gentle. But has this gone too far?

Being kind to ourselves can mean having a bubble bath, turning on our favourite binge-worthy T.V. programme and getting into bed. It can also be doing something that really scares us.

Setting ourselves challenges is as important as giving ourselves comfort. We grow and thrive off challenge. The more we challenge ourselves, the more confidence we will get when challenges, we perhaps have a little less choice in facing, occur. Challenge, challenge, challenge. But do it with support. Speak to friends and family about your plans to gain that encouragement you may need.

If challenge to you is following a routine to get enough work done as well as taking part in university activities, challenge yourself to this. If challenge to you is breaking lockdown habits of continuously working, challenge yourself to rest.

Rest

Photo by Stefan Stefancik on Pexels.com

There are multiple types of rest and it is important all are enlaced into your university life. Firstly, and most obviously there is physical rest which can be done through sleep. Secondly, we need emotional rest which can be implemented through activities such as journaling. Thirdly, we need social rest through time alone. And finally, a key one to those engrossed in academic work for hours and hours a week, we need mental rest. Mental rest can be practiced through mindfulness and meditation, but also through listening to music or going on a walk. Allowing our mind time to process all the information we have gathered is essential to maintaining a work-life balance.

Balance can be challenging and we can not get it right 100% of the time. However by implementing some of the tactics above, it can be possible to thrive in the constantly changing environment of today.


Want some more tips on a work-life balance? Head to ‘Should You Treat Studying Like a 9-5 Job?’ or check out A Campus Comeback for the lowdown on Warwick Campus life. We have loads of topics to browse on the Study Blog, have a look at our Contents page.

How have you managed returning to normal after the pandemic? Let us know in the comments below, tweet us @WarwickLibrary or email us libraryblogs@warwick.ac.uk

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