Who even cares what week of quarantine it is now? You’re probably feeling exhausted from the constant vigilance the current pandemic requires, and the thought of starting classes soon might make your brain scream in exhaustion. It’s been a weird summer, and things don’t seem to be looking any better yet. It’s time to do a little self-reset before things get too hectic. Give yourself an afternoon of you-time, put your phone on silent, and feel your tension melt away.
The very first thing I recommend is to do a little environmental reset. Start with your bedroom. Clean up anything that’s been lingering over quarantine so you can have a fresh space to be in. Change your sheets, put away dishes and clutter, and get a candle or oil diffuser burning for some fresh scent. Even if you’ve just moved into the dorms, you can still do a little straightening here and there to freshen up the space. Once your cleaning is done, put on your comfy clothes so you can relax in your clean space.
Quarantine is an emotionally draining situation. All of our interactions have changed, from trips to the grocery store to endless online meetings. Digital communication is more exhausting than face-to-face because the screen dulls many social cues we depend upon. If you’ve been participating in online meetings or summer school for the last 3 months, you might be feeling extra drained. Take some time to acknowledge that, and then take some time to sift through the feelings that have been tamped down over the months of isolation. It is okay to be frustrated, angry, upset, or just plain exhausted with everything that is going on. Acknowledging your emotions and slowly letting them go is a healthy practice, but takes time to master. If you are really struggling, know that you can reach out to your campus’ mental health services or seek counseling in your area without a referral. Many practitioners are offering digital services or distanced appointments in order to help you wherever you are in your quarantine life.
If this is the point in your self-reset that you cry, then go ahead. There are a lot of things to grieve right now that can help you on your way to refocusing. Expressing grief can take a weight off your shoulders. You might be grieving your personal situation, or the life you were planning on having in college this year. Wherever you are at, it is okay to let all the bottled up tensions and feelings out.
As you return from your place of grief, think of the little things in life: board games with your closest friends, watching Mamma Mia! on Friday nights, the art project you have in process. Quarantine has taken so much of our world away, but it also has given us a healthier appreciation for the little things. As we return to our new normal and classes start up, remember to give yourself time for the little things you enjoy. Just because you are at home or in your dorm while classes are online doesn’t mean that you have to be twice as productive.
Another trick that helped me gain motivation for the day and de-stress my exhausted brain is yoga (sounds cliche, I know). Practicing meditation and on-command relaxation is good for the exhausted brain. There are many free practice resources on Youtube to get you started. A little bit of exercise in your reset can release endorphins in your brain, energizing and helping your reset process.
As we speed towards the return to classes and the variety of stressors that come alongside, remember to keep making time for your mind and body to reset. You’re more likely to be exhausted by your coursework due to the increased amount of screentime and the inability to perform some of your usual coping mechanisms. Making time for yourself can only benefit your wellbeing. So in short: give yourself a little environmental reset, take care of yourself emotionally, and work your way back to productivity with a little exercise and meditation on the things you can be thankful for. Your body and brain will thank you for the reset as you dive into your classes!