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5 Steps I’ve Taken To Stay Motivated While Studying During A Pandemic

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ReimagineTogether logoEditor’s Note: This article is a part of #ReimagineTogether, a campaign by Youth Ki Awaaz in collaboration with UNICEF India, YuWaah and Generation Unlimited, to spark conversations to create a new norm and better world order in the post-pandemic future. How have you and those around you coped with the pandemic? Join the conversation by telling us your COVID story and together, let's reimagine a safer, better and more equal future for all!

The views expressed in this article are the author’s and are not necessarily the views of the partners.

Before I start, I plead guilty to the offence of leaving my math homework midway, just to write this blog. But, it is also important to note that it was the homework itself that triggered the urge to put this message across to everyone reading this.

The year 2020 hasn’t been a kind year to any of us. We have been on the brink of a world war, witnessed gigantic wildfires, seen innocent lives being lost in the wake of gory communal clashes, super cyclones ravaging our coasts, the excruciating loss of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter in a helicopter crash. Not just these but also an unprecedented migrant workers exodus, a massive economic slowdown, gargantuan waves of protests against the institutional murder of George Floyd in the US, devastating floods in Indonesia and much more.

Dibrugarh: A medic official uses thermal screeing device on a passenger in the wake of deadly coronavirus, at an airport in Dibrugarh, Saturday, March 7, 2020. (PTI Photo)

However, the defining moment of this year has been the seemingly unstoppable spread of the novel Coronavirus, or as the WHO calls it, COVID-19. Said to have originated from a wet market in Wuhan, China, this virus has now spread to almost all parts of the world.

To slow down the pace and magnitude of transmission, the world retreated into unparalleled ‘inactivity’. Nationwide lockdowns were announced, sanitisers and masks have become essentials, and ‘social distancing‘ has been introduced into our vocabulary and is the new normal.

Sometime in the second week of March, the state governments in India began closing down schools and colleges to contain the spread of the virus. On 19th March, the Central Board Of Secondary Education (CBSE) temporarily suspended the remainder of board exams for students of Class 10th and 12th. The new schedule for these exams, they said, would be released after deliberation within the organisation. Due to their closure, most of the schools and colleges have turned to online learning. Owing to the circumstances, many students have begun their new session in front of their computer screens.

While online learning might be the new normal for a post-COVID world, it also brings with it its own set of downsides.

Closure of schools will not only have a short term impact on the continuity of learning for more than 321 million children in India, but it will also engender far-reaching economic, social, and psychological consequences.

Personally speaking, navigating my lessons through online school has been a little fatiguing and arduous, since a ‘school’ caters to the need for socialising with peers, enhanced interaction, better learning milieu and much more.

Navigating my lessons through online school has been a little fatiguing and arduous. Representational image.

While online school is convenient in the sense that we can attend classes without having to wear those uncomfortable uniforms and access a multitude of helpful resources with the click of a button, it also has its own list of drawbacks.

These range from long hours in front of the screen, which has undeniably weakened my eyesight and worsened my headaches, to the onus of completing assignments and homework by typing them out.

For an Indian student, this can be extremely tough as we have been accustomed to the chalk-talk teaching model. This pandemic has managed to transform the centuries-old conventional model of learning to one driven by technology.

More than attending classes, what has caused greater stress for me is the burden of completing assignments, revising my concepts, and studying on my own. Initially, it was hard for me to scrape through, but I eventually came up with my own strategies, mechanisms, and ways to study fittingly and boost the motivation to hit the books, while, at the same time, monitoring my mental health in these times of strife and pain.

1. Set Reasonable Goals

An efficient way to create a routine is by preparing a list of things you want to do the next day. However, setting unreasonable goals and not achieving them by the end of the day can bother you, and the feeling of guilt can overrule all the other things crossing your mind.

Set minor goals to tackle as you move through the process of getting things done, and make it a point to reward yourself once you have achieved these goals.

2. Take Breaks

As uncertainty looms over all of us, it is natural to indulge in ‘unusual’ behaviour. I have often found myself trying to study for long hours at a stretch but in vain. Doing so is extremely unhealthy.

It’s important to take breaks and not overwork. Do something interesting while you take a break so that your mind gets activated.

More than attending school, what has caused greater stress in me is the burden of completing assignments, revising my concepts and studying on my own.

3. Organise Your Study Environment

Clutter can cause stress, decrease productivity, induce a negative feeling towards your study area. This can also have a negative impact on your grades and overall performance.

One way to reduce the amount of stress is by making your study area minimalist, soothing, and free of distractions.

4. Use The Power Of An Afternoon Nap

Naps help to clear the gunk that builds up in our minds. They also help prune away some of the connections between neurons, making space for the new information we would be coming across once we wake up.

Hence, when you feel exhausted or fatigued, take a nap and reset your mental space.

5. Curate Your Own Menu Of Self-Care Activities

Self-care can mean different things to different people, but the core philosophy is that it’s essential for your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Self-care begins with baby steps towards improving your well-being and making yourself happy, whether that means taking a nap, reading a book, or simply sitting in silence for a few hours.

Having a healthy diet can also be beneficial as it functions both as a stress manager as well as a study aid. Taking breaks from, and setting time limits around, social media use can help us re-energise ourselves. Constantly being swamped with upsetting news and stories can unnecessarily intensify worry, agitation and anxiety issues.

We need to ride ourselves out of this together, seeking solace in the idea of there being a light at the end of a tunnel. Hope this helped. 🙂

Featured image credit: Getty Images
This post is a part of COVID Diaries, a special series under the #ReimagineTogether campaign. Tell us how this lockdown and pandemic has affected you! Join the conversation by adding a post here. here.
You must be to comment.
  1. Devina Singh

    love it!

  2. ashpreet


  3. Gurpartap Singh

    What a write up dear Ishaan Singh. You are a talent to be nurtured.
    Keep it coming. Don’t stop. Something inside you is making its way out.
    God bless you.

  4. Gurminder Singh

    Keep writing 👍 you have a wonderful way to express

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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