Student life

13 small wins you should be celebrating throughout 2020


Whether we’ve been deep in lockdown, or restricted to socially distanced outings, 2020 has looked very different to any other year in history. It’s made us realise never to take our freedom for granted ever again. At Endsleigh, we want to help you get used to the ‘new normal’. That’s why we’ve been working with NUS & Totum to provide as much support to students during this confusing time as we possibly can.

Because of the limited outings, celebrations, traveling and heading into work for many of us, our daily life has changed a lot. For example, your daily activities may not seem like a lot right now, especially when you compare them to your normal life. But here’s why you shouldn’t compare your current daily tasks to your normal life: we’re in the midst of a pandemic and life isn’t normal right now. It is near impossible to continue life at the same level of productivity that you normally try and achieve. But how do you celebrate your small achievements?

In the age of the coronavirus, here are 13 small wins you should be celebrating throughout 2020.

How do you celebrate your small achievements?

1. Not giving yourself a hard time

Realising that we’re in a pandemic, something which none of us in the UK have experienced before, and reminding yourself to go easy on yourself is small win number one.

We think this is a really important win to start with, because although we want to help you realise the small wins you’re probably already achieving, we don’t want you to put yourself down if you can’t relate to any of the below. And we certainly want to help you realise that although you may see your friends learning new skills and being productive, this is not expected of you. You are free to get through this lockdown the best way you know how.

2. Getting through a bad day

Most of us have probably felt low or anxious at least once through lockdown. And as horrible as it may have felt, the key thing to remember is that you got through it. You powered through feeling a bit more rubbish than usual in your own way and came out the other side. You did it and you’ll do it again!

3. Being there for a friend/family member

With so many people social distancing alone, most of us have needed to check in with another human at some point. Lockdown has definitely made us see the value of our gadgets and possessions! Your friends/family, just like you, will have had bad days too. By making time for them, helping them smile or just being there for a chat, you could have helped without even realising… and that sounds like a win to us.

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4. Acknowledging your feelings

You are allowed to feel a certain way. There are no rules dictating how you should feel throughout this pandemic. Taking some time to check in with yourself can be healthy for your mind and help you keep in touch with your mental health on a daily basis. This can be hard sometimes, so if you manage to even attempt thinking about how you feel, that’s a huge start. And don’t forget that you can always reach out for professional support if you’re struggling.

5. Maintaining a positive outlook

This can be a hard one, especially if you’re feeling particularly rubbish right now. Don’t make yourself feel bad if you’re having a bad day, but try your best to remember the positive things that might have come out of this situation. Things like valuing your friends and family, realising you have a great support network and so on. Passing this outlook onto friends and family can also help cheer them up and provide them with some support.

Interestingly enough, there’s been some research that shows that those who practice gratitude daily are less anxious and even see improvements in their physical health.

6. Abiding by the lockdown rules

Although most of us have been very strict when abiding by the government’s lockdown rules, there are still so many that have broken rules to travel, see family and so on. If you haven’t already, you should really give yourself a pat on the back for being so careful. It may not feel like it, but you’ve made a big difference to this situation, inspired others around you and put other people’s needs above your own. Well done you.

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7. Getting out of your PJs

Onto more of the physical wins now. When you’re getting up with nothing to do, nowhere to go and no one to see, you may not have worried about getting dressed. But if you’re hanging around in your PJs all day, unknowingly, it can have an effect on how you’re feeling. On the days where you find the motivation to get up, have a wash and get dressed, congratulate yourself! It can take a lot to find the motivation to get ready if you haven’t got much to do. You’ve done a great job.

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8. Eating well

Lots of things can slip if you’re not in your normal routine. You could be eating much more, or much less than normal. And that’s fine, as long as you’re keeping yourself healthy. This routine is swiftly becoming the ‘new normal’, at least for a little while, so a huge ‘well done’ if you’re trying to look after yourself on the nutrition-front.

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9. Getting out of the house

Leaving the house can cause anxiety for lots of people at the best times, but leaving during lockdown has certainly been a lot more intense. From supermarket queues to giving passers-by wide births on your daily walk, it’s been difficult to gauge just how careful you need to be to protect yourself. If you’ve managed to get out for some fresh air recently, that is a huge win and you should be proud of yourself!

10. Managing to study

You’d think that lockdown would be the perfect time to get some work done, but for many, it’s been the opposite. The worry of your future, or your loved one’s safety may have made it hard to concentrate. So if you’ve managed to get some work done during all this, you’re smashing it.

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11. Planning

Planning can sometimes feel like wasted time, but you won’t get much done without it. If you’ve spent some time planning your workload, your weekly quiz with your mates, or even the order in which you’re going to see your friends once this is all over, be sure not to let this task go unnoticed. It takes time, effort and mental energy to get it done!

12. Doing something creative

With a huge reliance on social media to keep in touch with family and friends, most of us have probably seen our phone time increase over the last few months. If you’ve managed to find the time (and concentration levels) to step away from the tech and do something creative, that is awesome. Whether it’s reading a book, baking a cake, learning how to crotchet, or even colouring in; being creative is time well-spent and helps you become yourself.

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13. Shopping

As we mentioned earlier, leaving the house has been known to cause some anxiety over the last few months, particularly if you’ve needed to go shopping. The introduction of queuing systems and social distancing rules has been welcomed, but also stressful. You may have needed to go shopping because you’ve had no one else to do it for you, or you may have needed to pick up some things for a loved one/neighbour. If you’ve managed to head to the supermarket for some essentials, that’s a huge milestone during lockdown and don’t let yourself forget it.

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How to keep track of your small wins in lockdown and celebrate achievements

Because some of these ‘small wins’ are normally just a very small part of your everyday life (and may be minor when compared to your normal daily goals), it may be hard to keep track of them at the start. So we thought we’d give you some tips.

Here are somethings you can do help remind yourself you’re doing a great job:

1. Break things down into little goals

Start by taking your large goals and break them down into smaller ones to make things more achievable.

For example, rather than ‘Apply for jobs’, break things down as follows: ‘Review CV’, ‘Update CV’, ‘Gather CV feedback’, ‘Create cover letter’, ‘Shortlist jobs’, ‘Apply individually’.

Breaking things down into smaller, more manageable chunks will help you see how much you’re actually getting done! It’ll also help you not feel bad when you don’t get the initial goal complete, because you’ll realise how many steps was actually needed to complete it.

2. Keep a journal

You could start keeping a short lockdown journal. Note down what you did, how you felt and on what day. Doing this will allow you to look over your lockdown days and feel proud of the things you managed to accomplish. And wouldn’t it be cool to look back on and show your Grandkids?!

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3. Note down your daily tasks

If you haven’t got much to do and you need something to focus on, note down every time you complete a new task. This will allow you to look back at the end of the day and see that you actually did accomplish a fair amount . Brushed teeth, washed, got dressed, ate breakfast, did the dishes – you get the picture.

4. Start a blog

This is similar to keeping a journal but doing it online. You may come across other people who are blogging about their day-to-day activities which could a) help cement friendships b) inspire you c) make you realise how well you’re doing. It’s important not to compare yourself too drastically to others – we’re each fighting our own battles. Also, you should be careful about who you’re speaking to online and make sure you’re keeping yourself safe.

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5. Pre-plan your days to celebrate success

A great way to try and actively get stuff done is getting up in the morning and writing a list of things you’d like to accomplish today. It’s important to note the smaller, more achievable things, rather than the larger things that you may not complete in a day, for example, ‘start and complete dissertation’!

This should feel nice and satisfying as you check things off your list throughout the day, or before you go to bed in the evening. It’ll also make you realise how much you’ve done, and give you some time to give yourself a pat on the back and celebrate success.


To wrap things up, we’d say that the main learning from this blog is that it’s important to remember the ‘small wins’ during lockdown. And that things probably won’t be like they were before for a while, and that’s okay.

You should try to keep in touch with how you’re feeling – this is always important, but especially right now. You need to give yourself credit for things you’re managing to get done in the current climate and remind yourself that none of us have experienced this pandemic before and we’re all learning as we go along. It’s important to celebrate achievements. There will be ups and downs, but hopefully by using this blog as inspiration, you’ll start experiencing more ups. After all, it’s all about your outlook.


Protect your gadgets

If you don’t know how you’d have coped without technology through lockdown, have you thought about what you’d do if something happened to your gadgets? Insuring your gadgets is a smart way of making sure that if your phone/tablet/laptop etc. is damaged, you won’t be without them for long.

Endsleigh have been supporting students for over half a decade and we’d love to help you protect the important things in your life. You can focus on embracing this new way of life, knowing that we will be protecting your things wherever you are. If you live in halls you can check to see if you already have cover in place by your accommodation provider. Otherwise, to get a student-friendly gadget insurance quote in under two minutes, click here.

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