Feeling The COVID Blues? How To Stay Productive As A Student

Have you been finding it increasingly difficult to focus on your task at hand lately? Or are you feeling a constant sense of fatigue that is hindering your ability to produce your best work?

17 Feb 2021

5 mins read

By Diyanah Syafiqah

Have you been finding it increasingly difficult to focus on your task at hand lately? Or are you feeling a constant sense of fatigue that is hindering your ability to produce your best work?

If you have answered yes to any of the questions above, you are not alone. These are common occurrences among students worldwide as they settle into a university experience that differs from the one that they knew before the pandemic.

SIM Peer Mentors, Bryan Allen, Winsley Ong and Irfan Maryono share their personal struggles in the new normal and ways to boost your productivity as you continue inching towards your aspirations!

#Set Your Intentions

In the past year, COVID-19 brought the world to a temporary halt and disrupted our routines and plans. When 2020 started, I was actually undergoing an exchange programme at the University of Birmingham's home campus in the UK. It was supposed to be a four-month programme that would end in April. When the situation worldwide worsened, the programme was cut short and we had to return home a month earlier. Some of my travelling plans were also suspended. This disappointment coupled with the lack of in-person social interactions as a result of online classes soon took a toll on my motivation to study.


I find that having a cold shower, a cup of hot tea and snacks on hand helps to boost my productivity.

One great tip that I had learned from Mr George, the counsellor at SIM Student Care, was to establish a personal “I'm-going-to-start-studying” routine that comprises the following steps:
  • Start by mentally preparing yourself that you'll be attending a class or studying.
  • Dress like you're headed for school.
  • If you have routines in school such as buying a cup of coffee or tea before class, emulate this at home by having your favourite drink near you.
  • It also helps to inform your family members of your plans to study for the day.
I personally find that going through these motions help to set the tone for the day and inspires me to focus on completing what I've set out to do.

#Develop Ways To Energise Yourself

As a student from Malaysia who enjoys the outdoors, the Circuit Breaker period affected me emotionally and mentally. I was homesick and missing my family whom I couldn't be with due to the border lockdowns. I also felt stressed as lessons and examinations shifted online. Soon, I was experiencing insomnia, anxiety and eventually sought professional treatment for depression as I found each day a struggle.


Spending a day in nature helps me to recharge and be ready to take on new challenges.

The greatest takeaway from this episode is that there is nothing more essential than your own well-being. Besides being more mindful about your feelings at any present moment, I would recommend finding ways to keep yourself energised. Take a day off and do activities that you enjoy! After all, your mind can only function best when it's clear and rested.

#Have Enough Quality Sleep

Like many others, having to adjust to lessons, CCAs, and workshops online was a struggle. I felt a constant sense of fatigue and found it difficult to concentrate during lessons and produce quality assignments.


A snippet from the Virtual Tea Party which SIM Peer Mentors organised to keep SIM students engaged in the new normal.

One of the things that enabled me to function better was having enough quality sleep. Unlike how the saying goes, sleep is definitely not for the weak. In the past year, I have cultivated the habit of clocking in a minimum of seven hours of sleep on most nights by having a bedtime ritual. On most days, after a good night's rest, I feel rejuvenated and productive at school and while doing my assignments. These are some personal tips that students can try:
  • Set a consistent daily sleep schedule to correct your body clock.
  • Relax yourself by playing soothing music. Some of my personal favourites include ‘Weightless' by Marconi Union and the ‘Zen Music for Inner Balance, Stress Relief and Relaxation' playlist by Vyanah.
  • Keep your devices away from the bed to reduce blue light exposure which can disrupt your sleep cycle.
  • Cover your windows with shades or curtains to prevent light from seeping through. It helps to increase the quality of your sleep as well.
If you find yourself struggling to stay motivated or face other personal challenges as a student, do not hesitate to reach out to our SIM GE counsellor. Keen to participate in SIM Peer Mentors' activities? Check out their Instagram page for the latest updates.