How to deal with stress during an online semester

Hey my loves,

the entire world is still dealing with this pandemic and while everyone’s life has been influenced by it, one that has influenced me the most is the shift in how my College deals with it. It is now my second semester with just online classes and I don’t know about you, but I find online semesters a lot more stressful. While I do think it is necessary to deal with this pandemic accordingly, and I am for online classes, I do feel like some of the lecturers, as the students, are overwhelmed with the situation and how to deal with it.

But, why?

First of all, a lot of the work lays with us, the students. If the lecturer decides to do an asynchron class, which means no video calls or uploaded video presentation, we have to do a lot of work to show that we do something for this class and did enough to gain the credit points. But even if the class is synchron, which means you have video calls or chats each week at the same time, you have to do a lot more than usually. Or at least, it feels like it. For a lot of students, even me, this means more stress and a lot of planning. And for a lot of students this is hard, because they do not know how to plan everything right.

I currently have nine classes, two are for my electives, which means I have seven classes for my major. I plan on writing two papers and take one oral exam, the rest of the classes I am doing for the credit points. This is a lot for a semester and I know that, but I have reasons for this. I am a semester away from starting my master thesis and I want to give myself enough time and space to do it right, which is why I want to have a pretty full semester now. I could have done it differently, but I personally am pretty organized and have found ways to deal with the stress.

Here’s how to deal with stress during an online semester

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

Plan everything out

I personally find it very helpful to have a weekly to do list. I like to write my task for each individual class with deadlines down and add things like home stuff to have an overall view. I also like to assign time slots in my calendar to the individual tasks. I plan the synchron classes and the asynchron classes the same, if I have a time slot free between classes where a asynchron class is assigned I will use this time to take a break but also to start the work for the asynchron class. It’s also a great feeling to tick off the to do list. Sometimes it gets overwhelming to see what you have to do in a week, so I like to make sure to categorize them in order of importance. Under each class I put the thing I definitely have to do and which needs the most time and then move forward to the next thing.

Take breaks

Breaks are very important especially when your doing all the work from home. In between classes I have around thirty minutes that I usually spent snacking, watching YouTube, shake my legs or do something at home that does not involve College work. I also make sure to have a lunch break around the same time every day that way I keep a routine down. For more about my daily routine, check out my blog entry from the other day:

It’s okay to ask for an extension

This is a difficult time and it is a stressful time, which is why a lot of lecturers a willing to give some extra time on your hand-ins and exercises. Just be truthful. It happens to the best of us. Accepting that you cannot do it all is sometimes the only way to accept the stress and deal with it properly. But, if you have a good plan and stick to it, it won’t be often that you will have to ask for more time.

Make sure to eat right

It sounds stupid, right? But, I have found that if you take time out of your day to prepare a whole meal and a healthy one at that it helps with keeping up your stamina. I like to eat at least two times a time a meal with vegetables or fruit. Meals and snacks that are well balanced keep your mind sharp and your energy level highs. Try to avoid highly processed food and too much sugar, I also found that I like to keep my caffeine intake low. If I do drink a coffee I like to keep the number at one.

Set boundaries

It is so easy to just keep working into the late hours, but a good night sleep is very important in stressful times. I personally do not work longer than around 7 pm. Everything over that just keeps me up at night. Sometimes, especially when you have something due, it can be difficult to stick to this timeframe, but for most days of the week I like to make sure that around 7 pm I am closing my laptop.

Do something besides College work

If you have a lot to do it is hard to find time to do something other than your College duties, but it is so important to make some time for family or friends or a hobby. I personally like to go for a walk or meet up with a friend to cook and watch a movie. But, whatever works for you is the best. I would suggest doing something physical, because we do tend to sit for a long time.

What do you like to do in stressful times to calm yourself? Let me know in the comments I would love to know.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin

Getting back into a routine during Lockdown

Hey my loves,

I don’t know about you, but I had enough of this whole pandemic. But what can you do, right? Well, in the past couple of months I have been through all of the emotions. I felt sad, depressed, happy to have some time at home, emotional, blessed that so far, I haven’t gotten the virus and so much more. Especially the first few months were horrible. I am so dependent on seeing my friends, I have to see them at least once a week as well as my granny and all of them I couldn’t see. It was hard, but I got through it. We got through it.

As of Monday, we will go back into a light version of a lockdown, which means again a little more restraint and a lot less contact to people. I am also fully back at Uni (online) and am working (home office), so I spent a lot of time by myself in my apartment. But I’ve gotten a pretty good routine down, I would say. And I think even though we tend to stray from a routine with so much time at home, I truly think having a routine is the best. Especially for people, like me, who struggle.

I have a pretty busy schedule, all in all I have nine courses for Uni, and I work around seven hours, I also visit my grandma once a week to take care of anything she needs and to spend some quality time with her. So, my days a pretty packed, which is why it is important to have a structure.

Here is what I do:

I like to get up one hour or two before my day gets started with work or Uni. If I have gone to bed late or had troubles falling asleep, I sometimes only give myself like 45 minutes to get my day started, but that’s just a personal choice. Do what you prefer and are used to. If I hadn’t showered in the evening, I usually do this first thing in the morning. I don’t know about you, but I just can’t eat right away, especially with being home I don’t feel hungry at all. After some time in the bathroom, where I tend to at least somewhat comb through my hair and sometimes do a little bit of makeup to make myself feel better (all this heat from the radiator is messing with my skin), I like to get dressed in comfy bottoms and a big sweater and some fuzzy socks.

Some of my favorite loungewear items for a cozy work day:*

  1. Ripped PJ’s
  2. Hogwarts Hoodie
  3. Glitter Socks

*Not affiliated. Just recommendations.

One thing I like to do right away getting out of bed is pulling up all the blinds and open my windows to get some fresh air into my apartment. I usually leave it open until I get a bit cold, which is usually around like two to three hours. After my time in the bathroom I go into the kitchen to make myself a hot tea or coffee, whatever I feel like that morning, and I also get some water. If by then I am hungry I will make myself a somewhat big breakfast, since I usually just snack during Lunch (no matter what I eat, warm food or salad, I get sluggish). I’m currently obsessed with cucumber and cream cheese, so I usually snack on that.

I usually have pretty good plan on what I have to do each day and also what I can do each day. Wednesday is my longest Uni day, which is why I usually just take part in the classes and actually use the breaks in between to move around and relax. It’s so important to get some movement in your day if you sit long hours at your desk, like I do. Besides making sure I move around I also like to call my grandma during lunch hours to just chat with her. If the weather allows it, I also like to go for a walk around the neighborhood to get some fresh air.

Something I didn’t do in the first lockdown is something I changed very quickly: I set myself on a time limit. It is so easy to just keep going with work, Uni stuff or something else, but taking time off is equally as important. So, I like to end my workday around 6 or 7 pm, if possible. That way I have enough time to cook and relax and take time for my nighttime skincare routine. It is so important to set yourself boundaries or else you’re constantly working and that is not healthy. It’s good to be productive and active during lockdown, but you cannot forget that this whole situation is still very stressful and emotional. It’s okay to take time for yourself.

Three Tips if you’re feeling stressed:

  1. Get out. Go for a walk. Listen to music or not. And just breathe.
  2. Workout. Something I haven’t been doing as much as I should, but it helps. There are so many great workouts you can do from home now.
  3. Talk to your family and friends about something else but Covid and work. It’s so important to keep up with the people you love when you cannot see them as much.

I also have to admit that my eating habits were so bad in the first lockdown and I felt not only my skin changing, but also my moods. That’s what I probably changed the most: I incorporate a lot of healthier foods and time slots for eating than I did before and I not only have more energy, but I also feel a lot better about myself.

Taking care of myself doesn’t mean “me first.” It means “me, too.” – L.R. Knost

All in all, take each day as it comes. There is no have to or must’s, you can only try to do your best each day. I hope this entry helps you out a little and I am always open to a conversation in the comments or my Instagram direct messages.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.