Avoiding burnout during the coronavirus quarantine

The new coronavirus has interrupted the world’s usual flow of activity. Prague’s universities, schools, shopping centers, cultural and entertainment venues must remain closed until the end of the Czech national quarantine. Our city’s landmarks and streets are empty. UNYP students and professors are continuing the spring semester online. All UNYP departments are now operating from home office. Studying or working from home during the quarantine means that you will be spending a lot more time indoors than usual. The necessity of social distancing and endless coronavirus updates may cause feelings of loneliness and anxiety. As in normal times, it is essential to let yourself rest and take breaks from your school and work tasks. Instead of watching live news feeds non-stop, there are plenty of ways to distract yourself and relax. 

You could argue that quarantine is a gift of extra time to push your academic performance and do nothing but study, because you can’t go out with your friends in any case. However, it is not healthy to become obsessively preoccupied with work and school, and it doesn’t translate into higher productivity. If you push yourself to do too many hours of work per week, your brain will push back. Ideas that once flowed freely will quickly dry up, and easy tasks that you would usually perform quickly will become a burden. If you study psychology at UNYP, you will know about the overwhelming amount of research which shows that giving our brains a break now and then is essential to getting any work done productively.

What can you do in quarantine besides work and study? 

With all the uncertainly happening right now, the best thing you can do for yourself is to keep your own life organized and structured. Ask your friends who study Communication and Media, about their strategies to avoid being overwhelmed by news and social media posts about the current situation. In the meantime, we have made a list of activities that will help you manage stress and burnout. 

Think about your ideal future.

Make a list of your longterm goals. Use this time to dream about the future, think of what you would like to achieve in a month, a year, after your graduation. Reflect upon your life up until now, and ask yourself: what you would like to change, and what should you be doing differently? If you can figure out what you would like your future to be like and understand your direction in life, you can make plans and set goals. 

Spend time with your family.

Even if you study abroad and your loved ones are miles away, you will have more time for Skype now. Depending on the time difference, you can set up a Skype family dinner or breakfast and have a friendly chat session. 

Spring clean! 

This is a great opportunity to declutter your room and organize your wardrobe. Pack up your winter clothes and bring out your favorite spring outfits. You can try on all your clothes and determine what to keep and what to put in the orange container. 

Get some reading done.

Have you had an unfinished 800-page novel collecting dust on your bedside table since 2019? Make a rule to read 50 pages per day, or even better, allocate a specific daily time slot for reading. 

Start a Virtual Film Club. 

Pick a list of movies to watch (For example, Palme d’Or or Best Picture Oscar winners).  Set a time to watch the movie, meet up online and discuss it. 

Reconnect with yourself.

Get into the habit of practicing yoga or meditating every day. Quarantine and social distancing can help you to focus within and explore your mind-body connection. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube if you don’t know how. 

Be sure to eat well.

If you don’t know how to cook, this is the ideal opportunity to learn. Alternatively, upgrade your culinary skills and try out an elaborate new recipe. Learning how to cook will diversify your menu during the quarantine, and can help you make better choices when you eat out in the future. 

Keep your brain fit by solving a puzzle.

Puzzles have made a huge comeback this year – order a large box online and indulge in hours of mental workout. Solving puzzles also helps to fight anxiety by putting your brain into a state of active meditation. 

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