Ah. Deadline season. One of the most stressful times of the academic year, which this time just so happens to coincide with the Easter break. Also, we are currently in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, which is definitely causing a lot of uncertainty and stress amongst students. I am sure most of you would much rather be enjoying chocolate eggs with your loved ones, and spending time with them and having a nice catch up after not seeing them for a while. Well, you can definitely still do that, but you must make sure all your work is complete and submitted before any deadlines! Also, interacting with everyone has just become very different, as a result of the 3-week lockdown we are currently experiencing. Deadline season is very nerve-wracking, even more so under the current circumstances, and can make even the most studious person feel drained, so this article will be giving you some top tips on how to stay active and refreshed during this time!

Make sure you have regular breaks

This tip is the first I will give, as it is definitely the most important. I get it; you want to get all of your work done and out the way, so you can start to wind down and prepare for the summer, but it is so vital that you take short but regular breaks, so you do not feel too sluggish whilst doing your assignments, which could cause the quality of your work to decrease. There is no set rule of what you should do whilst taking a study break; for example, you could refill your water bottle, call a friend, or watch a few minutes of an episode of your favourite television programme. That way, your mind will be refreshed once you are ready to go back to work! A small tip: set a timer for your break. Doing this will not allow you to spend too much time on them, and allows you to get more work done during the day.

Change up your work style

Sitting at your computer or poring over books all day will not do you any good, so it does not hurt to change up the way you work a little. If you’re bored of typing essays, maybe making a visual essay plan for your next assignment will help? Or, if you are in a class that requires watching a certain media text, contact your fellow coursemates and see if they want to join a Kast stream or Netflix Party? Kast requires downloading onto your phone (to watch) and computer (to stream and watch), and Netflix Party is a Google Chrome extension. Also, remember that it is okay to take time off from work. You do not want to burn yourself out by working day in day out, so remember that taking a day off just to breathe and do things you enjoy, will certainly not be held against you. Just do what works for you – but make sure everything is done before the deadline! All deadlines from Monday 30th March onwards have been extended for 2 weeks, so that gives you a bit more time to get things done.

Get some fresh air

Fresh air is really good, and when having study sessions I would normally suggest doing lots of exercise, just to keep your energy levels up, and to blow the cobwebs away. But, as a result of the 3-week lockdown that started on Monday 23rd March onwards, everyone is only allowed to venture outside of their living environments once a day to get some exercise; whether that’s walking the dog, walking around the block or going for a gentle jog. However, if you are at home and have a garden, you could always sit out there and bask in the lovely weather (whether we have it!). But, this can be harder for those who are still living in student accommodation, such as Newarke Point and Liberty Park, as there is no other way to get exercise apart from going for a walk every day.

Have a pamper session

Your personal self-care is very important, and it doesn’t become any less just because of any deadlines you may have! Pampering yourself, which may include doing a face mask, washing your hair, painting your nails or doing a new hairstyle, can help you feel refreshed and like a new person. These pamper sessions are best done at the end of the study day, as it gives you a reward to work towards and motivate you! 

Talk to others if you are struggling

As much as your physical health is important, your mental health is too. You will find it hard to work if you are not having a good day mentally, which can cause stress as it sets you behind in your schedule. It is completely understandable if you find it hard to talk about how you are feeling, but there are so many people around you that care for you and want to see you succeed – your family, your friends, your lecturers etc. They will definitely be ready to listen to you and offer help if you need it. I stress that you will not be seen as less of an independent person if you ask for support, as you will find that so many students feel the same way. It is especially important to keep in touch with people in general now, to adhere to the lockdown and social distancing rules. FaceTime your friends. Call your family to see how they are. Just make sure everyone knows YOU are okay too!

Deadline season is easily one of the most stressful times in the academic year, especially in the run-up to summer, but if you look after yourself both physically and mentally, you will find it a little easier. I wish you all the very best, and that you get the grades you deserve! Also, keep safe wherever you are, whether it is at home or in student accommodation. Keep working hard and looking after yourself – we will make it through this no matter how long, or what it takes.