Use your brain, but look after your mind.

Recent times have made it almost impossible to really take care of your mental wellbeing. In every direction you look, news, new rules, and negativity are flying around, there seems to be no escape from it all. If you’re anything like me, and the ‘coronapocalypse’ has brought uncertainty unlike anything we have known before, having something to do, with a purpose, can feel almost therapeutic.

As a student, your anxiety is understandably elevated, and with graduate jobs and experience placements cancelled, revoked, or postponed, our minds are desperate for a distraction.

Here are our top tips for Studenteering, and how to make the most of volunteering from home.

1. Be honest. Not just with us, but with yourself. How much time can you really commit? We are happy to have you for as little as 3 hours a. week, and only for more if you’re happy to do so. Ensure you’re aware of your own mental capacity, your skills, and your time. If things get too much, don’t hesitate to mention it. At the end of the day, your wellbeing is our No1 priority.

2. Stick to a healthy routine. We know how hard this is. Most of us here at Studenteer HQ are students and graduates and are used to a routine of union nights on a Wednesday, out until early hours, and then waking up at 2pm most weekends. When you’re volunteering from home, set yourself a time to go to bed and a time to wake up, as well as ensuring you have at least an hour scheduled into your day for lunch.

3. At-desk-dining is always a bad idea. Set aside an hour at least for lunch and walk away from your desk. Give your eyes a break from your screen: get some fresh air, stretch, and eat something nutritious. It will make the world of difference.

4. Avoid working after hours. Decide on a time to finish and stick to it. Even if a few things still need to be done, no one wants to be working through the night, and all this does is disrupt productivity the next morning.

5. I know it’s tempting… but please don’t work or study from bed… Set up a designated workstation and make it your own. Personally, I have a desk in my bedroom with some plants, a warm lamp, and everything I’d need in the day, whether that’s studying, or volunteering. (Plus, this is a great excuse to do that paperchase order you’ve been wishing for and stock up on new stationary…!)

6. Deal with distractions. It won’t be as hard to concentrate if you’ve already folded and put away that pile of washing in the corner of your room… I promise…

7. Set goals and track your progress. Use the playbook provided and fill in your personal development plan, Not only is this useful for your own organisation, but for professional development too. It acts as a great foundation for a portfolio and would be a great resource to bring to a job interview in the future.

8. Don’t be afraid to reach out. If things get too much, your situation changes, or you have any concerns, please do reach out. Whether that’s to your charity, good cause, your mentor, or one of us here at Studenteer HQ, we are all here to support you. Believe it or not, there’s a team of real people behind that email inbox, and we’re all lovely!

9. Prioritize your own learning, and always ask for help if you need it.
This experience is designed to educate and inspire, not just for a work placement. If there’s an element of your work you’re unsure of, or an additional aspect you’d like to know more about, ask! You’re a student, after all.

10. Limit your news and social media consumption. I’m guilty as charged. As much as I hate to admit it, I could spend hours scrolling TikTok when I don’t have anything else to do, or even when I do! But, in all seriousness, limiting your news consumption, and ensuring when you are reading any news, you are taking it from a trusted platform will help your mind process not only your work and improve your concentration, it helps calm those subconscious anxieties of the world around us.

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