Before I delve into this week’s installment of your *favorite* music/life column, I just want to let you all know that this week is going to take a turn for the more personal. I try my best to keep a happy-go-lucky attitude––especially when writing these thought pieces––but I want to be perfectly transparent and share with you all that staying positive during these trying times has been a lot harder than I anticipated.
While it may sound a little silly, I truly hadn’t realized before this point that the social aspect of college really grounds me. Being separated from the little microcosm of a community I had become a part of truly feels like losing stability. My friends, my boyfriend, and even the professors I get along with have all become a vital support system for me. They are the ones that give me the motivation to get up for class, participate in extracurriculars, or even go out and explore new places. They also encourage me to work hard, have fun, and take care of myself. That’s not to say that I have stopped doing any of these things since I’ve gotten home, but there is a part of me that feels a bit depleted lacking energy overall.
I wake up for class, listen to lectures, and do my do-diligence. Then I whip up something quick for lunch, chat with my mom, shower, go back to my room to do some work, come back down for a snack, stay in the kitchen a little too long, work some more, eat dinner, FaceTime my boyfriend, wash my face, check my emails, watch an episode of something, fall asleep, then wake up and do it all over again.
I have zero reasons to complain partially because A. I basically live in my pajamas and B. I get to sleep in my comfy bed every night. I love coming home, but if I’m going to make this social distancing work something’s gotta change. After a particularly illuminating FaceTime call with a good friend of mine from high school, I have decided that I need to phase out of the sad and somewhat lethargic portion of my time back and focus on finding a routine that works for me.
I’m not going to make any promises to myself like Tuesdays are for working out or Thursdays are for meditation and painting. I used to be a highly regimented person, especially in high school, but once I got to college I realized that this lifestyle was not for me and was actually counterproductive to my mental health. Instead, I’m going to test out little adjustments to my schedule and see how it goes. And I’m going to call this technique “feelings-based ritualization” because giving it a fancy name makes it sound more official.
I’m going to try stretching sometimes (although I’m far from a yogi), maybe some breathing exercises when I wake up, and I want to try a very casual version of bullet journaling before I go to bed. I also want to designate and set up fun Zoom sessions with my friends because based on individual, sporadic conversations, I think we’re all a little stir-crazy and could use some company, even if it’s digital. I’m still a full-time student and my work comes first, but I want to leave some space for doing things I love like baking and experimenting with watercolors (a.k.a. things that don’t require a screen).
As of late, I haven’t really been listening to much music (that’s how you know that this social distancing has been really taking a toll on me). Although, I did listen to the new Childish Gambino album all the way through and it did not disappoint. For this week’s playlist, I’ve compiled a group of songs that range between pump-up bops and relaxing slow jams. These days I’m trying to lean into my feelings, and what better way is there to do that than through listening to songs that always hit my emotions on the spot?
Being okay takes a lot of hard work. Of course, all of the energy and heart that you pour into yourself is worth it in the end because you’ll be able to look back and say, “Hey, life got rough, but I tried my best to make it work.” As preachy as it sounds, it’s worth recognizing that even when the world feels disconnected you have the power to keep in touch with yourself.