Recently, with the current weight of the world, it feels as if staying positive can be one of the hardest things to achieve. Sadly, everything has become more “normalized,” and what is slowly fading out of news headlines is how virtual learning is still mentally draining for college students. Within the past year, students have had to shift their focus and dedication from being a student to becoming a student, teacher, and life coach all in one. We have had to accommodate new situations while being held to previous expectations. This makes reminding ourselves to stay positive one of the hardest boxes to check in our lengthy to-do list. We have had to adapt to being our own counselors in an ever-changing world around us.
I think I can speak on behalf of all college students attending virtual classes: this is exhausting. High expectations, confusion, and anxiety have driven us to our breaking points, where the last thing we do is take care of our well-being and mental health. Although we currently may not be able to change the circumstances of attending virtual classes, we can change how we treat and take care of ourselves during this stressful time. Below, I compiled a list of 5 self-care tips to better your well-being while suffering through Zoom University.
- Limit Screen Time
De-stressing can look different to various people. For some, it may involve texting someone you love, mindlessly scrolling through TikTok, or binge-watching Netflix. However, since we are spending multiple consecutive hours learning in front of a screen, I’d encourage you (for your own mental health and sanity) to take time away. Turning to other technology after a long day’s worth of virtual lectures simply doesn’t allow us to slow down and think about ourselves. A great solution is to set limited screen time under settings on your device, which will set off an alarm once you’ve exceeded your time limit.
- Dedicate Time to Being Outside
We are so used to turning to technology to de-wind and de-stress, however, spending time outside is better for your overall well-being. Especially now with virtual learning, we don’t have those five-minute breaks between classes to be outside and walk to a different building. Instead, we may not be as aware of how often we sit inside, as our biggest commute has been from our bed to desk (aka classroom).
Try spending at least an hour outside taking a walk, having a picnic, or riding your bike. Take time to be with yourself, away from distractions cluttering your screen.
- Set a Nightly Routine
Your nightly routine should be personalized for what works best for you. However, if you’re not sure where to start, here’s some recommendations. Drink some warm tea, do yoga, take a hot shower, do a face mask, or clean your room. To the best of your ability, try to choose a nightly routine and stick to it. Setting a routine will allow your body to relax and realize it is time to fall asleep. Truly take the time to pamper yourself, and register how much work and stress your body has been dealing with.
- Journal and Reflect
I have found that the best way to stay positive is to journal and reflect every day. Purchase a journal you are excited about and carry it with you throughout the day. Whenever something happens that makes you smile, no matter the size, write it down. This can be gestures made by friends, smiles exchanged between strangers, or nature’s simplistic beauty.
Also, use the journal for affirmations. Take a moment to love yourself, it’s not selfish. Write down what you admire about yourself and all that you have accomplished. Continuously look back at the journal and be reminded of all your strengths and beauty in the world.
- Do Something You Are Passionate About
Take time to either continue an old hobby or start a new one. Focus on yourself and what makes you happy while choosing your hobby. Whether it be photography, cooking, reading, or writing, dedicate time each day to that activity. Maybe even organize a group of friends that are passionate about the same things and complete the activity together. Grow within the group and find new passions and strengths!
Remember, there is more to your day than completing assignments and logging into Zoom, so take the time every day do something that will make you smile.