Sam and friend in front of art that reads

We may be in another lockdown – but our student blogger, Sam Watkins, shares advice on things to do to keep busy and maintain motivation!

  • 28 January 2021
  • 4 min read

We can all congratulate ourselves in being professionals in experiencing lockdowns. This third lockdown has allowed us all to learn and reflect on how we spent our first lockdown, and I think it’s great to share things to do and ways to cope to help one another in what can be a lonely time. 

These are 5 things I’m doing to get me through lockdown, and would recommend to you. 

5 tips for staying motivated and productive

1. Maintain a Rhythm

Find what works best for you and start to get into a routine. What I find works best for me, is to get up and always make my bed, have a workout and have a shower. Having a few simple steps to follow that get you up to start your day, can put you in a positive mindset to get going! I have an ongoing to-do list where I’m always adding new tasks to get on with and find this helps me stay focused on what I want to get done.

I find there is a lot of pressure currently to be productive and achieve 100 goals daily, but this isn’t realistic. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Focus on what you want to do, and not what social media pressures say you should do. 

2. Stay in touch

Keep in contact with your friends and family at home and at university. Lockdown can be a lonely time for everyone so it’s very important to keep in contact with one another. I’ve loved having weekly facetime catch ups with my friends and would always recommend it.

The university’s health and wellbeing service is here to support you no matter what. Don’t be afraid to reach out for some help and guidance or even a chat. 

Sam's friends on the seafront

3. Board games

My flatmates and I have spent a lot of our time playing board games, like The 5 Second Rule and Frustration, and card games, like Irish Snap, Sevens and Chase the Ace. It’s nice to distract yourself and have some fun together. 

I’ve also been playing online games over Facetime and Zoom calls with friends. I really recommend the apps Psych and Emoji Charades which allow you to play with your friends virtually. I would really recommend looking into Jackbox Games as they have hundreds of great interactive games like Quiplash and Drawful. Plus it’s nice to do something different to another dreaded quiz…

4. Self-care

We all must ensure we take care of ourselves and indulge in those guilty pleasures that we know make us happy. Having time to relax after a long day of studying or working is vital to allow us to switch off. Do things that make you happy during lockdown, let that be baking, reading, sewing, watching films, having baths or walking.

I try to be proactive and get out into the fresh air every day. This can be for a nice long beach walk or even just popping out to get some food. I’ve also found sewing has really helped me switch off totally and distract me. I’ve made lots of face masks for my family and they’re probably bored of receiving a new one every week! Sometimes I find myself scrolling on Pinterest for hours making new pin boards, so definitely recommend using this app if you want some creative inspiration. 

Sam's friends on the seafront

5. Cooking

I enjoy cooking with my flatmates so like spending time browsing different websites for new recipes. I love to cook so I enjoy making a nice meal for myself and housemates. 

My flatmates and I recently did a “Come Dine with me” week where each night someone would cook something different and we had to vote on it. We had tacos, chicken and chorizo tray bake, Biscoff cheesecake and more. This was a fun idea and was great in including everyone.

Collage of homemade dinners

Thank you for reading! Speak soon, Sam.

If you have any questions about my experience or there’s a topic you want me to write about in my next blog, please email me at samantha.watkins@port.ac.uk.

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