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Be kind to yourself 

Be kind to yourself 

Who would have thought that in March of 2020 we were on the cusp of the first lockdown and the pivot to remote teaching. Whilst most restrictions are gone now, we still live in the new usual with more interactions and activities being online than ever before.   

We’ve come a long way since the pandemic started. Initially we all had to rapidly adapt to the new format of digital lectures etc., whilst trying to guess ahead as to how things were going to work for the rest of the academic year 2019/20… Over the summer of 2020, some restrictions started to ease and we could get back to some of our usual routines.   

As the academic year 2020/21 started, the ‘plan’ was digital lectures and limited in-person teaching. The academic year was both exciting and challenging, but everyone was driven by hope that things would be returning to normal. But the end of the year brought tighter restrictions, a profound sense of disappointment and frustration, when it became clear that we couldn’t progress with completely moving back on campus for in-person teaching.  

In the academic year 2021/22, a lot more teaching was on campus, many restrictions were also lifted as the year went on, providing more and more opportunities for face-to-face interactions. Some people had their first ever in-person classes, others returned to what they were used to before the pandemic started.  

This academic year is even closer to what it would normally (or perhaps: previously) look like. As always, Flexible Learning Week is a chance to experience innovative and creative learning and teaching, as well as a break from the usual teaching timetable. It’s also a chance to get some rest, visit home or meet up with friends you haven’t seen for a very long time.  

Though we can physically go on a break, it’s also important to give ourselves one mentally. Even though the pandemic doesn’t shape our lives to the extent that it used it, the semester has still been challenging, also academically, with everyone being tired of all the reading, writing, attending classes and chasing deadlines.   

So take a moment to be kind to yourself this week.   

Forget about all your university work for a few days (or, if you have too many deadlines coming up, at least for a day). Go out for a walk, even if it’s just taking a different route to the shops. See if you can see any signs of the changing seasons (the crocuses and snowdrops are almost blooming in Edinburgh). If you’re in Edinburgh, you could try one of the Feel Good Walks organised by the Centre for Sport and Exercise. Or try some of their exercise ‘How to video guides’ (if you’re that way inclined…). Or maybe read that book you’ve not gotten around to yet. Cook a fancy meal or order a takeaway. Call/face time someone you haven’t spoken to/seen in a while. Take a nap. Deep clean the kitchen (if that’s your sort of thing). Clean out your closet. Try a new craft, or finally get round to finishing something you started ages ago. Play a game of cards, chess, word builder (you know, the one that sounds like ‘crabble’). Listen to some podcasts (for example the University’s own Teaching Matters podcast), interviews, talks or debates.   

Give yourself a bit of time and space, physical and/or mental, away from your studies and focus on you. Be kind to yourself! 



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