5 tips to keep positive and motivated during lockdown

Aarhus University International Club has gathered a number of recommendations to lighten up these current times. Suggestions and ideas were given by other internationals in the city of Aarhus.

2021.01.19 | Daniela Trifiletti

Three men walking in the forest with map and camera

Photographer: Simone Quach Hougaard - Visit Silkerborg

Many agree when saying that 2021 did not started on the right track, considering the strict restrictions imposed by the government and the extension of such over several weeks.


Being an expat during these challenging times add certain degrees of difficulty, whether it is because you are obviously away from your closest friends and family, because you have not build up a strong network in your new location, or simply because you are still in the adaptation stage of your recent move. Hence, dealing with lockdown measures and sometimes-even isolation is not an easy thing to tackle.


The UIC has reached out to two large online communities of internationals in Aarhus, to ask them about what are people doing to keep positive and motivated during this time. The many answers received are compiled here for you to have some inspiration to tackle the upcoming weeks ahead. Furthermore, and understanding the special circumstances for families with children, we have added a special section at the end.

Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness


More and more people mention these activities as part of their everyday routines. Some mentioned this brings “peace to their home and mind”, while others state that a yoga session allows them to disconnect and move their body. If you are looking into this but not sure where to start, we recommend you checking the apps Headspace, Calm or DownDog, as suggested by many users. If you are AU staff or an accompanying partner, we also invite you to join us in our weekly mindfulness sessions at Your Wednesday Boost. Now, if you just need an introduction to it, Netflix has recently launched a new show called “Headspace, Guide to Meditation” you can watch.

Lastly, whether you practice it or not, do not forget to take breaks. Even a 5-minute pause will benefit your mind and productivity.


Outdoors and exercise


We fully understand this is the coldest time of the year, so if you are not used to enjoying a walk in the forest in minus degrees it can be uphill decision to get outdoors. However, most people suggested allotting a minimum of 10 to 30 minutes per day to go out in the nature, regardless the weather.


Aarhus and the rest of cities across Denmark are privileged with the amount of nature and walking paths, specially forests and waterfronts. Most websites from the municipality will inform you about routes in the area. Check this website for specific suggestions in the municipality of Aarhus or consider the areas between Ry and Silkeborg, Himmelbjerg, between Randers and Langå by the Gudenå, Hærvej between Thorning and Tollund, the trail from Silkeborg and Aarhus, the westcoast towards Lønstrup and the Thy and Mols National Parks.


Maintaining schedules and routine


Many users commented on the importance of maintaining an organized every day, and we fully agree it being a key element for overcoming this period. Whether if it is you are working from home, having your children during the day or a combination of different elements, it is a good idea to plan your day ahead, creating small routines and whenever possible adhering to schedule.  Among the many good suggestions are “getting some fresh air/exercise before anything”, “selecting one main task to accomplish each day” and “committing to your pauses and breaks during the day”.


Music, literature and more


Though this tip can be self-explanatory, make sure to turn to your hobbies during this special period. Your day can become very varied when you collect all those things that can spark joy during the winter months. In combination with pauses, nature and exercise, good books, music, podcast and other source of entertainment can be very valuable when working towards positivity and motivation.


The recommendation list here could be endless, yet a in case you lack a place to start we invite you to join the UIC Book Club, let the Spotify algorithm introduce you to new music, give it a go to some online dancing or try out knitting. Surprisingly this last one being not only a very popular hobby in Denmark but one very recommended by internationals in Aarhus.


Acceptance, resilience and development


An international mom of two mentioned in one of the groups: “Accept this craziness and don’t question it. I found myself having waves of anger, I was being worked up about things I had no control over. However, you can only control so much and do so much. Focus on what you can control and make the best of it.” And yes, most of the times easier said than done. Yet, this continues to be one of the strongest recommendations for times like the one we are all experiencing.


Remember to put your focus and attention of the things that make you happy, or as mentioned before that spark joy in your life. It can easily be a home project, personal development courses, cleaning and sorting your home or as many other users mentioned continuing to have an open conversation and engaging with your loved ones despite the distance.


Learning through play and fun


Many families, especially those with small children, found themselves once more balancing the counted hours of the day between being employees, teachers and caretakers. Having your kids are home does put a lot of pressure on every family member and finding the right routine –as mentioned before- can be an uphill task. Even most of the above-mentioned activities can seem unachievable for most.  


The international parents suggested many different things than when compiled they all tackle the same elements we have described above from a child-perspective. Though expectations shall be different, you can always allot time to go outside every day, engage the children in new practices like mindfulness and yoga despite the age and combine their online learning with practical activities. For example, cooking and baking can always become a math class when handling the ingredients and following a recipe, a quick tour to the forest into a science class, and a dancing session into the physical activity of the day.


We send you the best energy for the time ahead. If you have any other further idea, suggestion or online initiative you would like to invite others make sure to send us an email to uic@au.dk or contact us through our Facebook Page.

Staff, UIC