• Katie Heyes

How to Rest and Stay Productive

DISCLAIMER: Amidst the current pandemic, the widespread fear and anxiety may cause people to confuse their symptoms with Coronavirus. So, I have attached an article that I found useful in distinguishing the two illnesses if anyone else may be worried. I wanted to share some advice on how I’m getting through allergy season Despite how some of my symptoms may be similar to the virus, it is important if you’re symptoms may be similar to the virus to always check up on them on trusted websites such as the NHS to be sure.

Whilst the UK is currently welcoming glorious sunny skies and hot weather, high pollen counts are sadly not far behind. As allergy season seems to be here in full force, with reports expecting the highest spring pollen levels in 69 years, the increased susceptibility to hay fever can send productivity down the drain. And this week, that motivational dementor soon found its way back to me for his annual visit.

What’s even more frustrating was that Monday started very productive; I stuck to my Uni revision schedule, fitted in a workout and started getting back into a regular sleeping schedule waking up at 10AM (compared to the shocking 1PM I used to get up at). So after such a successful and motivational first day, I felt very optimistic for the week ahead.

But allergies soon started to kick in and before I knew it, the following day consisted of non-stop sniffing and sneezing, watery eyes and having little to no energy. So the past couple of days have pretty much consisted of getting through countless amounts of tissue packets and fighting off the fatigued in a futile attempt to get the slightest bit of work done. As annoying as this feeling is, we’ve all been there at some point or another.

Everyone hates feeling under the weather and hay fever in particular can cause a massive disruption to your sleeping schedules and student commitments. You feel groggy, lethargic and just generally unmotivated for the rest of the day. In fact, many studies have also linked certain allergies to certain psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Whilst dealing with a nasty flu or cold isn’t ideal and has definitely put me in a negative mind-set over the past few days, I want to share with you some of the ways I’ve been trying to deal with the workload whilst still taking care of my physical health.

1. Mindfulness Wordsearch: Usually in the morning I’d try to get cracking on with one of my module notes for an hour before lunch. However, as I’m often waking up still lacking energy and feeling quite unfocused, I felt like doing something a bit less demanding to get the cogs in the brain set in motion. And sometimes there’s nothing better than a good old fashioned word search. Not only are there benefits for the brain such as boosting your memory and vocabulary but the short lived success from finding a tricky word can be very satisfying which stimulates the brain’s reward system. This one I’m currently using is centred around Mindfulness; each page focuses on a different surroundings like waterfalls or flowers with an additional mindful quote at the bottom. So not only do I get a chance to practise one of my favourite therapies but I also get to keep my brain active and mind focused. Plus, it also gives us a chance to unplug from social media which given the current pandemic leading to a widespread TikTok addiction, couldn’t come at a more needed time.

2. Writing: I truly don’t know where I’d be without the good old pen and paper sometimes. Whilst life can feel very hectic and some of the situations we may face can feel out of our control, for me writing has always been a way I can make sense of what’s going on. By trying to define why I’m feeling a certain way and what could be causing it, it becomes a lot easier to manage rather than keeping it all jumbled. And what’s even better is that it’s something I can do in bed. I can rest and conserve my energy yet also doing what I love best. It could be writing a blog post like this or just whatever’s going through my mind at that point in time I can take my focus away from how rubbish I’m feeling by focusing on something else yet still not as demanding as studying may be.

3. Work in small bursts: Although it might be difficult at first because presumably all you want to do is sleep sleep sleep, by working in short bursts and adding frequent breaks it’ll not only help you gradually adjust back to a normal working schedule you’ll find the work a lot more manageable.

So whilst those are only some small steps I’ve taken at the moment, I’m trying to stick by them at least for the rest of this week to say on the pathway to recovery and not feel guilty for not sticking to a schedule. If any of you might be affected by hay fever season, hopefully some of these examples might help.

- Katie x

Difference between allergies and coronavirus symptoms:

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/coronavirus-hayfever-symptoms-difference-sneezing-coughing-pollen-count-a9454631.html

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