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Mental Health

Together Apart: How to Care for Yourself and Others During the Lockdown

If you find yourself struggling to wake up in the morning because of everything going on in the world right now, you’re not alone. It’s going to take a while for all of us to adjust and figure out what works best when studying from home and dealing with stressful circumstances. Here are ten things I’ve been doing to stay sane that you can try too!

Practice positive reframing

Every day, when you wake up, ask yourself, “What’s one way that I can make this situation better for myself?” It could be switching up your morning coffee recipe, starting to journal, or just finally taking your clothes out of your suitcase. Whatever will make you motivated to get out of bed!

Limit your news intake

Pick one reliable source of news and stick to it. Refrain from the temptation of turning on CNN because the 24-hour news cycle is toxic. I personally love The NYT online because their coverage of the virus is FREE and very helpful. Reading rather than hearing the news also allows me to take in the information at my own pace.

Make a new morning routine

Listen to a podcast you love that’s NOT news, read a book, or dance to music you love to start your day. You can also pour your coffee into a travel mug and walk around the neighborhood or your yard alone to mimic your morning commute and get some fresh air to start the day.

Learn something for fun

Don’t listen to people telling you that you should keep “hustling” in the midst of a global pandemic, but do try to think of something you can teach yourself for yourself and yourself only. Learn a new language, work on your baking skills, start blogging, customize tote bags, try painting, read about astrology.

Avoid (some) social media

Twitter and Facebook will feed you stressful news 24/7. If you’re looking for comic relief, download TikTok for more realness from regular people and just fun videos. If you’re looking for a supportive community, the BU Reddit page is full of super kind students listening to each other and answering your technical questions to take some of your worries away.

Do fun activities with friends

Plan a trip you’ll take after this (and I mean actually plan the places you will visit), attend virtual conferences or yoga sessions with them, online shop with them while on the phone, whatever keeps you sane. Make sure to not just call because then conversations will often revolve around the virus, which can add to your stress.

Meditate or pray

Meditating or praying is an amazing way to just tune out the world and focus on what matters most to you. It will help you to feel grateful for what you do have rather than what this pandemic has taken away from you. It will help you to remember that you can lean on yourself (and if you’re a believer, on God) during this time. It will be hard to silence everything in your head at first but you don’t need to do it perfectly to get the most out of it.

Help your community

Helping others allows you to get out of your own mind and gives you a purpose. At a time where many of us feel useless sitting at home while others are risking their lives to go to work, there are still some things that you can do to make an impact on your community. Reach out to your elderly neighbors if they need help grocery shopping, donate to a local charity or hospital, participate in empowering challenges on social media, or ask a friend how they’re really doing.

Study with soothing background noise

Whether it’s the sound of waves or the sound of a busy coffee shop on a rainy day that calms you down, play some background noise from YouTube videos while you study to avoid sitting in silence if that’s something that makes you anxious. Also, if you live in a city, hearing the sound of ambulances going off multiple times a day is just not good for you.

Clean and redecorate your room

It sounds so simple and everyone repeats it over and over, but that’s because living in a cluttered space only amplifies the mess inside your head when you’re not feeling okay. Sometimes, depression makes it hard to find the motivation to clean your room, so don’t hesitate to ask a family member to help you get started. Decluttering and redecorating with someone else may take a bit of the pressure off and even make the process fun.

This is an unprecedented time for all of us and it’s okay to not be okay. Be patient with yourself and your loved ones as we got about this transition. And remember, it’s only temporary!


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Ariane is a junior at Boston University pursuing a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science with a minor in Public Relations. She loves exploring coffee shops and hanging out at the Harbor. When she's not writing and editing for Her Campus, Ariane talks about women's achievements on her radio show "Ladies of History."
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