Planning your day
Relaxation techniques can be used to calm the mind and alleviate muscle tension caused by feeling anxious. The more you practise, the more you will start to feel the benefits, and it can take some time initially to fully get the hang of them. To prepare for the relaxation exercises:
- Google Keep (iPhone and Android)
- Evernote (iPhone and Android)
- TimeTune (Android)
- Todoist (iPhone and Android)
- Any.do (iPhone and Android)
Alternatively, you could use a notebook/diary/planner. There are many downloadable daily planners available online, such as these: https://www.canva.com/planners/templates/daily/
Finding balance 1
It is important to have a balance of different activities throughout the day. Try to do something to make your brain work, something active, something relaxing and something with other people. Similarly, aim to do a mix of things that you have to do, such as work or studying, and things you want to do.
What keeps you going? 2
If you have recently moved, think about all the activities you used to do each day back home (for example, walking to the shops, cooking a meal). When you are in familiar surroundings, doing your usual activities (the things we need to achieve wellbeing) can be taken for granted. By reflecting on which of your usual activities you value the most, you can then think about how this activity, feeling or routine can be transferred to a new place.
Setting achievable goals of what you would like to achieve each day can helps to keep your mindset positive and focused.
The creators of the Mindfulness app Headspace recommend establishing personal routines for:
- Thinking time – to process and worries and problems weighing on you, instead of letting them build up.
- When you’re ready, shift your attention to your right foot. Take a moment to focus on the way it feels.
- Low level tasks, such as paying bills and replying to emails. These tasks can be accomplished more or less on autopilot but if they build up, this can be a source of stress.
Studying or working from home 3
If you are not in University on some days/weeks, getting into a rhythm is important. Here are some useful tips:
- Managing workspaces – there is some evidence to suggest that productivity and focus improve if you are able to allocate different places in your home for specific tasks. It may be tempting to study while sitting in bed, but your brain will then associate being in bed with working instead of resting.
- Energy mapping – as mentioned before, it is important to include a variety of activities in your routine and you should try to strike a balance between tasks that boost and deplete your energy levels. Give consideration to the intensity of the work you need to complete.
- Staying connected – interacting with others has positive benefits for your wellbeing and even if you are not communicating with others face-to-face, using digital technology enables you to stay in touch with friends and family. Try to balance keeping in touch with friends/family back home and making new friends.
- Exercise – getting outside for some fresh air and aerobic exercises like walking, jogging and cycling can help improve concentration.
Taking stock of how you are doing 4
Once you experimented with your routine, acknowledge what is working. Adapting to a new place can be difficult so recognise your achievements. Take 10 minutes and list some of your accomplishments or successes over the past few days/weeks/months – no matter how big or how small. Are there any unexpected ones in there? Perhaps you learned how to cook a new meal, spoke to friends and family more or finished a book you have been meaning to read. Whatever your accomplishments are, take time to reflect on and be proud of them.
1 https://www.nhsggc.org.uk/kids/resources-for-covid-19/resources-for-covid-19-children-and-young- people/creating-routine/ 2https://warwick.ac.uk/services/wss/topics/studying_abroad 3 https://people.nhs.uk/guides/maintain-routines/steps/routines-for-working-from-home/ 4 https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/how-to-manage-change-coronavirus-covid-19/