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Remaining sane during COVID-19

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Sitting under forms of lockdown, one may easily give in to thoughts like ‘this will never end’ or feel like the end of the tunnel is a far way off. There is a lot to be anxious about, which is a normal response to any change be it a lockdown due to COVID-19 which we are facing now. But, how do I remain sane during home isolation?

Keep a research routine

Try to keep a structured daily routine for writing and research going. Start by creating a schedule. Try to insert as many blocks of uninterrupted time into your schedule during the lockdown period. Insert all your commitments (draft the problem statement, frame research objectives, collect literature, decide on the citation management software, create thesis outline, finish my manuscript, discuss the research gap, etc.) into your Google Calendar or on to your whiteboard. Check your commitments to plan on what to do for the day. Having unstructured time is very challenging and overwhelming. So, structure your time, be disciplined and systematic about your research routines.

Declutter your workspace

Organize your desk as well as your computer files. Organize all your work papers so that searching for a specific paper is easy. While saving papers, use descriptive names and do not use too many folders. Always put order into your things when you are done for the day, so that you are prepared for the next day and save time

Collect data

This is the best time to venture into new techniques and put to use for research purpose. Instead of suspending data collection or re-designing your project to consider social distancing measures, you can use video-calling or text messaging apps for collecting qualitative data, if you are a Masters student (since you may not afford to postpone data collection). Online surveys can also be used for gathering qualitative and quantitative data by posting open-ended and close-ended questions, respectively. If you are doing a PhD, you can focus on desk research (i.e. reviewing literature to collect secondary data).

Upskill yourself

Increase your knowledge on different topics by opting for online course conducted by professors from across the world. Use this time to build your skill set which in turn will give you the confidence to cope with the anxiety engendered by the pandemic. You can also attend various online events related to your field of study that are being conducted across the world. This will help you develop new ideas and perspectives about your work.  

Maintain social connection

Become a part of an online research community. This will help you gather different perspectives on your research problem as well as maintain a sense of community which is an important determinant of your well-being.Use online forums to discuss your work which will balance out the biases and also be proactive to give reasonable suggestions to others queries. This involvement will increase your contacts in online forums. .  

Not the least, take this time to work on your physical and mental health. Different activities like an exercise routine, meditation, etc. can be practiced. It is a good time to look out for each other (friends or relatives) and use this time to reflect upon the most important things in life. Good luck!

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