Instead of staying cooped up at my makeshift dining-room-table desk today, I’m blogging from my hammock outside with my dog at my feet. In times like these, it’s so important to add variety to your days to keep you feeling at your best. These new circumstances can have a mental toll on all of us, but I’ve found a couple of good ways to help beat the quarantine blues.
Change up your work environment.
On campus, I always felt that changing up my study spots helped me to feel more productive and less drained. Obviously, it’s more difficult to change your environment when you’re stuck at home, but a bit of creativity can easily solve this. When I get sick of working at my desk, I move to my room or the backyard. Occasionally, I even construct a blanket fort under my dining room table (you’re never too old to build a fort). A change of pace can really help you focus better and makes going to school or work each day a little less monotonous.
Go for a walk.
Walking between classes every day is a normal thing for most students. Whether that walk is a short five-minute stroll through the high school hallways or a fifteen-minute trek across campus, that break can be really refreshing. Taking a walk in between online classes or assignments will help in exactly the same way. Even though you’re not actually trying to go anywhere, taking a walk will help you to de-stress and disconnect from your work for a while. If you have any nature trails nearby, this is even better, as it has been proven that just being out in nature helps to significantly reduce stress levels.
Start a positivity journal.
In one of my courses this semester, my professors made an extra lecture on mental health for us to watch. This was something that I really needed because it had a lot of great tips on how to prioritize your wellness during these confusing times. One tip from the lecture that I have found especially useful is starting a positivity journal. For each day, briefly write about your favorite part of the day and three things that you’re grateful for. This might sound a bit cheesy, but taking some time to stop and focus on positives can actually train your brain to remember the good things every day. Right now, we all need a little optimism, and this is one really good way to spread it.
Find ways to give back.
If you’re someone who loves to volunteer, I completely understand how hard it is to be cooped up inside constantly. It’s hard to feel like you’re making a difference when you’re sitting on your couch. Luckily there are plenty of other ways to give back right now. Donate to a food pantry, give blood, order food from a struggling local business, or become a pen pal to an isolated nursing home resident. Even doing something nice for a friend or a relative can brighten your own day. Drop off a coffee on a friend’s porch, send a note to a relative that you’re thinking of, or leave a nice chalk message on the sidewalk for your neighbors to see. There are so many ways to spread kindness right now, and giving back will make you feel really good too.
Make time for the things you love.
It’s so easy to let massive to-do lists overwhelm you. Having all of your assignments for eight weeks sitting in front of you at once can be stress-inducing, to say the least. It’s easy to get caught up in finishing everything, but it’s important to take time for other things as well. If you have a favorite hobby, try to make time for it every day. This is the perfect time to revisit things that we sometimes neglect in our busy everyday lives. Read that book you’ve always wanted to, get caught up on that series you like, or learn how to play that song you’ve always loved. The possibilities are endless. Take the time to pursue your passions. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even discover a new one.
At the end of the day, remember that your mental wellness is more important than anything else. Not just right now, but always. Do the things that make you happy and stay connected to the people you love. Most importantly, stay positive. We’re in this together, and we’ll get through this together too.