Post by Stephanie Hawley, programming coordinator for the Vocatio Center
Social distancing, safer-at-home orders and shortages of toilet paper. This isn’t what you thought 2020 would look like, is it? You may be feeling overwhelmed, uncomfortable, sad, angry, stressed … you name it. It’s OK to feel these things. A pandemic was not in any of our plans for this year.
Though we may not be physically present with you, the faculty and staff of Union University are allied with you as we move through these uncharted waters together. We’ve compiled some tips, strategies and resources to help you successfully navigate this period of social distancing and remote learning.
Keep track of changes
How do I access that class online again? What link do I need? When is that paper due? Put all of your key dates, big changes and important links in one place to help you stay on top of things. This might feel like a no-brainer, but if you haven’t yet compiled the course changes in one place for easy reference, go ahead and try it. Things might start feeling a whole lot more manageable.
Make a schedule and stick to it
You might find that you are suddenly operating with very little structure. While at first this might feel freeing, it might also leave you feeling more scattered and less productive. Create some structure in your day, scheduling time for your designated online class meetings and video lectures, for research papers and projects to complete by specific due dates and for exercise and rest.
Multitasking often tricks us into thinking that we’re being more efficient, when we really might be taking longer to accomplish those tasks because our attention is divided. Try to limit your distractions and focus on one thing at a time. Realizing that you need some help with your time management skills? Consider a method like the Pomodoro Technique, or check out the other resources compiled by the Center for Academic Success for time management tips, study skills and more.
Limit screen time
It’s so important to put a limit on your screen time, especially now that everything is online. By charting out your week’s schedule and giving yourself plenty of time to virtually attend classes and to study, you’ll also find that you’re left with time to eat, rest, exercise and maybe even read a book. Find some great book recommendations on the Library’s blog.
Are there ways to adapt your usual routines to your new environment? Do you need to strategize and create new routines? One of the best things you can do right now is to stick with that school schedule you were used to; get up and dressed as if you are physically going to class. Start the day ready to go.
Do you study best in a comfy chair with light music or do you need a desk, good light and no noise? Do you study best with a partner? Host a virtual study group with your classmates. Check in with your friends and share ideas.
Practice healthy rhythms
There’s a lot to think about as we adjust to these new routines and rhythms. Remember to be kind to yourself, and be kind to others. We’re all adjusting and adapting to this new period together.
Take a walk and exercise daily. If you’re living in a community under safer-at-home directives, you might find that tensions start to run a little high after being cooped up at home. Follow @uucampusrec on Instagram for some at-home workouts and nutrition tips to help you work out your stress and stay healthy.
Engage with your spiritual community. Is your church offering online services? Is there an online community group or Bible study you can join? Follow @uu_ministries and @uu_mobilization on Instagram as they help us engage spiritually through this time of social distancing, and be sure to tune in to chapel each week as it streams online.
Practice good mental health and coping techniques. There’s so much that we can’t control right now, and it can be really helpful to name those things and then limit the time we spend thinking about them. Rather than dwelling on all that we can’t control, shift your focus to what you can control, and then start doing those things. Check out Counseling Services for more helpful mental health tips and resources, and to learn more about their services during this time.
Listen to music, like the Gospel Coalition’s playlist, Songs of Comfort for Anxious Souls. This playlist is available on Spotify, Apple Music or Amazon Music, and includes some of our most beloved hymns and worship songs.
Ask for Help
One of the most important things you can do right now is ask for help. There are so many resources available to you, even from home. Check out the list of departments and services below, and let us know how we can help you!