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Avoiding the Slug Life: Staying Motivated During COVID-19

If you’re anything like me your first thoughts when you heard “stay at home” indefinitely consisted of wondering how you were going to pass time and keep yourself motivated to get schoolwork done from home. Adjusting my home from a place of relaxation and fun, to a productive working environment wasn’t a part of my game plan, but there have been a few tips I’ve learned along the way. 

  1. Get Dressed 

While staying in your pajamas all day sounds like the easy (and comfy) way out, you’re losing a key component to your old routine. A simple task such as getting dressed for the day has the ability to shift your mindset. Having on my normal going out clothes helped set the tone and helped me create a more productive atmosphere from the get-go. 

  1. Find a New Hobby or Perfect an Old One 

Downtime means time for self-exploration and filling free time with activities. While everyone enjoys taking naps and binging shows (I miss you Friends), choosing a few activities to keep your brain or body active will not only pass time but get some endorphins flowing. Look into cooking, card games, puzzles, etc. or check out some new work out options online or from the App Store.  Staying active can be a particular challenge without the gym to motivate you but a lot of workout studios are making accommodations and now streaming classes to keep their members involved. I can thank a yoga studio from my college town for recording their classes and allowing me to work on a hobby I love while practicing social distance. 

When in doubt, catching up on your reading is always a good go-to option. You can grab that novel that’s been sitting on your shelf or host a virtual book club with friends and family. Here are a few reading options to check out if you’re looking for something new: 

  • The Woman in the Window by A J. Finn 

  • A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler 

  • The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand 

  • Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate 

  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Deliah Owens 

  1. Communicate with Your Professors 

It’s certainly been a big change with pretty much all classes moving online. Without regular face-to-face interactions, it can be easy to feel distant from your professor or fellow classmates. That’s why it’s key to proactively reach out.  Speak to your professors directly about online class expectations and anxieties. See what their expectations are for the rest of the class or any upcoming changes they plan on implementing now that everyone is virtual. Remember, they’re in this with you too. Let them know what you’re feeling and check-in regularly so that you feel connected and understand what’s going on. 

  1. Keep in Touch 

At the end of the day, we are social creatures. Leaving campus means you can’t interact with your friends or do your normal activities. The good news is, though, that between Facetime, Skype and Zoom you can stay connected. Schedule time for you to hang out with your friends online. We’re all stuck in our own homes, so who isn’t free for a virtual get together? You can also try setting up study sessions with your friends or classmates too. Make it part of your routine. Being together virtually might not be perfect, but it can have a drastic improvement on your mental health and overall motivation.

About the Author

Sara Leiding is a student at the University of Iowa and is studying enterprise leadership and communications.