An Isolation Update

Two weeks ago I posted my plans whilst in isolation, and three days later the UK was in lockdown… crazy times am I right? I set out how I was going to approach the Easter break in terms of university work and what I would do to stay sane. I knew my post was somewhat optimistic, these are unprecedented times and no one knew how we would all be affected. I thought I’d give you an isolation update, an honest account of how my plan has or hasn’t worked, and what I’m going to do now.

A brief recap of my weekly plan goes as follows: Mon-Fri, up early ready for 6 hours of uni work a day and an hour of exercise, Weekend, free to do whatever I want. The weekend remains the same, my week however, not so much.

After the lockdown was announced I found myself unable to concentrate on anything uni related and ended up taking most of the week off. I’m trying not to feel guilty about this, but old habits die hard. I sat there for a couple of days with my word count remaining the same, and the hours ticking by – in all honesty, it wasn’t worth it, I could be doing something else that would make me happy instead. The start of this week saw me have a better outlook on our situation, I tried getting up early and working, but again, nothing really happened. I had slight bursts of motivation some evenings, which I took full advantage of, but other than that working was hard. This isn’t to say I didn’t get things finished, I sent off my literature review for comments from my supervisor and finished my data analysis, but nothing like I could have done. I also found myself not doing my daily exercise as I stressed myself out over work and ended up with a severe case of cabin fever.

If that fortnight taught me anything, it’s that I’m finding this quite difficult to adjust to, and I will never be able to stick to a concrete plan. I did get some good news; my dissertation deadline has been pushed back 11 days, which means I have a bit of breathing space. So, what are my next steps?

On reflection, I’ve established I work better in the evenings, after I’ve done exercise – currently I’m enjoying an hour bike ride and plan to head to the docks to get some fresh air in the coming weeks. It’s also very clear that trying to work every weekday is burning me out, especially when I haven’t been productive and just feel guilty.

Considering these issues I’ve come up with the following ‘plan’ – I use plan as a loose term. I haven’t been able to get up early thus far, so I am now aiming for 10am. 10am rise, have breakfast and sort out my academic to-do list for the day. Then I’m going to go for my hour of exercise, probably a bike ride, and by the time I’m back, showered and have changed into loungewear – what else are we wearing at the moment? – it will be around lunchtime. Obviously I’ll have had a late breakfast, so I might not be too hungry, but it will give me the chance to cook something from scratch and maybe watch a YT video or two. Then I’ll start my uni work. Yes, this will mean that the bulk of my work will be done after 1pm, but that works for me. 1pm till around 8pm, that gives me around seven hours to get work done, and still all before the light goes.

I want to make sure I leave the house every day; I’m isolating with my best friend and she can vouch for the fact that this is a need. Doing exercise will focus me and keep me fit. I’m also planning to do a home workout 5x a week, because I don’t want to go back to hockey in September with 0 strength and stamina. I’m giving myself Wednesday’s a day off too. Arguably, a much needed escape from my study space and something to look forward to. If I think about the time I wasted sitting at my desk over the last couple of weeks, I’m more than certain I waste a day’s worth of work, so why not utilise that time as a reward?

Weekends stay the same of course, a work free zone, for brunching, blogging, dying my hair any number of colours; you name it. Overall, I think isolation has taught me a lot, for example how much time I actually have, and how much I don’t use effectively. I can’t lie, it’s taught me I waste a lot of time, but also that I am not someone who can sit down and work till it’s done, unless I’m very near the deadline – and that’s okay.

I hope my isolation update has been mildly interesting; I wonder if anyone else has found themself in a similar situation. Let me know how you’re coping and any tips you’ve found help!

Beth x

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