A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Guest blogger: Marly van den Boom, MA African Studies
Hi all! Hope you are doing well and had fun during that one short week of snow. You can call it a unicum in the Netherlands…
Unfortunately for me, I spend most of my time indoors. Behind a computer. Sometimes often dreading to start the day because of the outlook of having to be in meetings, produce content, and do it all over again the next day. I am starting to understand how Tom Hanks must have felt in Groundhog Day ;). Luckily for me I am not the only one reliving the same day over and over again. You, my readers, are probably going through the same thing. On the one hand we could call it a blessing, yet it sometimes makes us feel more lonesome than ever.
Let me walk you through what I do in order not to go insane.
Although it sounds like a cliché, it actually works. If you allow yourself to do your work in a certain day rhythm, you will start to feel more productive during those hours. What I do is that I get up at around 7:45. I start working at 9:00. Usually do 1,5 to 2 hours of work. Around 12/1 ish I grab some lunch and take an hour walk, often I grab a coffee along the way. When I get home its usually around 2 and I work for another two 1,5 hour shifts and then I end my day by thinking about dinner, reading a book, or watching a film. Sometimes the day looks a bit different but sticking to some sort of schedule really does work!
2. Work out
I often hear from people that because they spend the whole day behind a screen, they often dread to do a workout afterwards or before because all the life has been sucked out of them. Yet working out does miracles. The trick is, similarly with the first, to have structure in your workout. Plan a set day and time when you are going to work out. Find a routine which works for you, run around the block or do it at home, whatever floats your boat.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
I think that this is the most important point that I want to give to you. Do not be afraid to contact anyone to ask for any type of help. You sometimes really need people to assist you. Especially in these strange times, where we’ve become distanced from others, it is crucial to remain in touch and check in on others. Give your friends a call, talk to your mother, ask your (weird?) roommate for a walk. You can’t solve all of your problems by yourself. Even talking about it with others might help you create your own insight.
4. Change of scenery
Although this one might be difficult for some, change your scenery once in a while. Ask your friend if you can study/work at their place together. Go to one of the University buildings and book a seat there! Ask your friends if you can hang out with them and their parents for the weekend! It is important to stay creative in order to remain creative and productive.
5. Take your time
I cannot stress this one enough. Take your time if you need it. These are not normal times for anyone. Keep that in mind. There are limits to the capabilities of a human, just like you and me. Take a day off sometimes. What I’ve learned from my internship is that saying no is not a failure but an unconscious standard for yourself. It is not a lack of capability but a positive limit to what you can handle as a person. As long as you remain communicative about it, there is absolutely no one that will shoot you down. Your limits are your limits!
Do they work?
They work for me yes! In my next blog I will walk you through what my final product for my internship institution will be, together with the most important output I have produced thus far and under which circumstances. Till then, stay safe, healthy, and keep your head up!