The highs and lows of a new routine
It’s been a little over a month into the Fall 2020 semester and I’m slowly finding my groove while learning in an online environment. At the beginning of the semester, I was feeling both excited and nervous about attending online classes and watching pre-recorded lectures. The first week was mentally exhausting and I struggled with time management. By the fourth week, I was able to stay consistent with a regular routine that included these five elements.
A designated workspace
This is where I spend most of my day. Before I bought a second monitor, I would use my laptop and sit in different spots around the house. This was ineffective with the amount of distractions around me. Having a designated workspace free of distractions helped me stay productive.
Some of my workspace essentials include:
- 🎵 Music. I can’t stand working in silence, so I always have music playing in the background (except when I’m in a meeting).
- 📓 Notebooks and Post-It Notes. I use my Outlook calendar to keep track of online meetings, but I prefer to write down tasks in a “To-Do List” on paper. I am a visual and kinesthetic learner, so I’m constantly writing notes and drawing ideas in my notebooks and on Post-It notes.
- 🌊 Water. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day. I usually have a bottle of water and a pre-workout drink next to me.
- 🖍️ Colouring book. I give myself a mental break during the day by colouring. This also helps boost my creativity.
It feels good to get the body moving and take a break from sitting at a desk for hours on end. I have a spin bike at home and usually spend 20-30 minutes a day on it, 3-4 times a week. I also take time out of my day to walk around the block to get some fresh air. Plus, I always have music on. My personal Spotify playlist of workout songs: High-Energy Hits.
It’s important to take some time for myself to do things that make me happy. This includes watching my favourite movies and TV shows. I’m currently binge-watching The Simpsons in my free time. Taking a hot shower, playing with my cat, and connecting with friends and family regularly are healthy reminders to focus on my mental health.
At the end of the day, I wind-down by drinking a cup of tea. Sleepytime Vanilla by Celestial Seasonings is my personal favourite. Sipping on tea while I finish the tasks of the day helps me prepare for a good night’s rest and be ready for the next morning.
I quickly realized the daily overstimulation of online classes, working on assignments on the computer, email correspondence, and checking up on social media. Doing things throughout the day like exercise and self-care treatments help alleviate the toxicity of digital overexposure. While it’s important to stay connected learning online, without proper balance it can do more harm than good. By finding ways to de-stress away from screens, I’ve been able to sustain a routine and make adjustments to suit my personal needs.