None of us thought when celebrating the arrival of scholars to the UK in September/October 2019 that their Chevening journey would include a global pandemic and quite so much time studying from home. But, when the world throws Cheveners a problem, Cheveners rise with solutions and make the most of it.

Globally, the education sector is still largely affected and many students are studying from home through remote learning measures. We wanted to know how Chevening Scholars are taking care of themselves whilst studying from home and six of our scholars share their self-care tips.


Anisa Indah Pratiwi, Indonesia

In unprecedented times where returning to normalcy is not within our knowledge, it is timely to take a step back and pause. Those quiet moments of respite help a lot in recharging my energy to cultivate positivity. More than ever, I learn to find joy and create meaning through my daily routine. Among many activities I incorporated during the quarantine, I particularly cherish the time I took to take care my ‘peace lily’ plant. Watching its growth since day one reminds me that things take time, and the importance to nurture ourselves with all the little things that bring the best in us. This period has been a change as we have moved to online learning, but, it has also been important to care for ourselves around this.

Additionally, I have developed my fondness of trying out new recipes. Just recently, I learned how to make a Dalgona coffee and bake an apple aatmeal cake. I started to enjoy the time I spent in my kitchen instead of counting it as a chore. Finally, after some quiet time by myself, I love to spend the evenings having virtual workout sessions with my dear friends. Working out together with your friends serves as a reminder to stay fit and harness positivity. Taking it one day at a time!’

  1. A PAUSE

 Kyra Ballesteros, Philippines

I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) a few years ago; this means that I am more susceptible to anxiety more often, and that I need to work a little harder to recognize fears, triggers, and real or imagined threats as less than catastrophic. The ongoing quarantine has not made living with GAD easier, but I found that several techniques I used to cope with GAD are similarly effective in keeping me steady during isolation and whilst studying remotely.

In particular:

  • Short grounding meditations at specific times of the day help me encounter emotions, name them, let them arrive, and then watch them go;
  • Speaking with my Chevening cohort from the Philippines, and other friend groups regularly give me something concrete to look forward to every week;
  • Small, low-key projects (posting photos of meals on Instagram Stories for a week then shifting to something else; participating in a writing group) help keep my social media diet less about keeping up with the news and consuming information, and more about holding space; and
  • Knitting and other craft projects to occupy idle hands.

These specific practices don’t require the same rigorous mental processing that writing, reading, and analysis require, and that break or pause is essential to helping me actually concentrate on assessments when I need to, or consume news without feeling overwhelmed.’


Yasinta Ariesti, Indonesia

I took this photo while shopping in the Tesco nearby. I was cycling and after bought my groceries, I took an extra lap and different route to go home. The sky was clear but there were fewer people in the streets. A perfect picture to express the irony of having amazing weather but needing to stay inside. But in my opinion, a sunny day can always be helpful no matter if you are in isolation or just studying more from home’


Dito Adisuryo, Indonesia

During these unprecedented times, I have been doing some interesting and enjoyable things to self-care around my study-from-home times. First, I have an indoor run. Just grab your apparel and trainers. It’s a “treadmill-like run” inside my room, facing the window, and combine this by running or walking in our flat’s corridors, stairs, and outside – not far from home. We could easily do this daily, taking 30-40 active minutes, and scale up to 60 minutes in the weekend.

Next, inspired by my lecturer Dr. Laura Watts creating a virtual field-trip-experience, I make trivia quizzes and share them with friends. As pubs are closed, my friends and I were virtually playing these trivia quizzes, and then I decide to make and share my own quizzes with topics such as British spring-summer journey, British geeks, and cherry blossoms.

With friends and coursemates, we have also been able to exchange our national languages and cuisines. For example, I exchanged some Indonesian phrases and sentences such as for saying thanks, and days’ greetings with my coursemates. I also shared some recipes of Indonesian foods like Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice).’


Rahimah Abd Rahman, Malaysia

‘I guess no one expected after the blissful six months of Chevening experiences in the UK, we will be undergoing this dramatic and unpredictable moment of our lifetime to practice social distancing.

It might be a confusing moment and devastating time now especially when you already planned your travel journey ahead and look forward to experience this summer season with your fellow colleagues. All of sudden, you have had to cancel every travel plan and have had to move to learning from home a lot more.

But, everything happens for a reason and this is a precious time for us to experience a Chevening year like no one did before and here is my top tips for self-care during this difficult time of distancing and learning from home.

  • Set up your daily routine:
    Make sure you get up on time, do light exercises, and fill your time with light reading through your daily schedule. This is to ensure that you stay focused and disciplined through your daily tasks even though you are spending the day at home.
  • Set up your top priorities of the day:
    Every little priority counts, from keeping in touch with your loved ones to successfully completing your 5000 word coursework. Getting your priorities done every day will keep you in control and contented.
  • Spread the love:
    Last but not least, let’s be nice to everyone online or offline through this difficult time. Avoid unnecessary comments and arguments because trust me, social distancing in the real world has really challenged everyone’s mental health and wellbeing.

Let go of the things that are beyond our control, there is nothing that we can say or do to change things that are out of our control. Allowing ourselves to move on from these is a self-caring act that we can do whenever we need to. Writing down feelings and thoughts in a journal is a good release mechanism. We are stronger than we think we are and together let us embrace this situation. Stay alert and stay safe my fellow Cheveners.’


Mel Fatric Rhai Yan, Philippines

My top tip for self-care when learning remotely and isolating is to seek help from fellow Cheveners. In this time of uncertainties, it is comforting to have another family here in the UK that you can count on. The Philippine cohort has been doing a weekly online ‘sanity check-in’ since the second week of March. Filipino Cheveners at the University of Leeds have also been doing weekly online academic support sessions to help each other with assignments, essays, and dissertations. The message is to not let social distancing hinder you from maintaining social connections, especially with the people who most understand what you’re going through.

My second tip is to pursue your passion and discover something new.  I have always loved cooking and experimenting in the kitchen but did not have much time in the past because of active engagements. Now that I’m staying at home so much more, I finally get to try making some new dishes. Even with limited ingredients, I was able to successfully make mochi balls for the first time using ordinary peanut butter as filling. My flatmates really enjoyed it so I will be making them again soon.’

Thank you to all of our scholars who submitted pictures and stories to this theme. Entries were submitted in April whilst the UK was in full lockdown.

To submit your own pictures and stories to the latest themes, please check your most recent Scholargram for submission details.

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