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5 Ways I Learned to Prioritize My Mental Health During the Pandemic

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at OSU chapter.

During COVID-19, when most days feel like Groundhog’s Day, we can easily fall into cycles of sluggishness and fatigue. We are stuck on our computers trying to stay connected to the people and things we are separated from. We can find ourselves tired at the end of each day, bored and burned out. 

As we pass the one-year mark of COVID-19 rudely interrupting our lives, I took some time to reflect and compile a list of the things I have done during the pandemic to prioritize my mental and emotional well-being. 

Implement a Morning Routine

This one is obvious, but it is necessary. When we are stuck in an isolated place where our normal day-to-day disappears, we can begin to neglect ourselves. By implementing a morning routine, we create a sense of structure and take responsibility for ourselves when days feel like they blend together. 

Some of the rituals that are part of my morning routine and that I do every day include brushing my teeth, making my bed and eating breakfast. While these may sound so obvious, if I get all three of those tasks done and I end up having an otherwise unproductive day, I at least know I accomplished something. 

Try a New Hobby

When we spend our days at our computers and on Zoom, it is important to do things we enjoy as well as try new things. 

During the first few months of lockdown, I lived at home, and my sister and I decided to get into tie-dye. It was easy, and it gave us something to do. As the months went on, I continued to try new activities and even picked up things I did pre-COVID. Some of my favorites included tie-dyeing, trying new recipes, painting and caring for plants.

It is all about finding what your interests are and going from there. 

Get Some Sleep

Sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies. It impacts so many different aspects of our lives: our energy, productivity and physical and mental well-being.

Do your mind, body and soul a favor and start setting a bedtime during these strange times to get to sleep at a decent hour.

Get Outside and Take a Walk

When so much of our time revolves around indoor activities, the great outdoors can become almost obsolete.

So throw on a mask and get outside. 

If you are lucky enough to have furry friends that can join you, take them with you. If you can socially distance with masks on, go for a walk with a friend or two.

Some fresh air always does us good. It will break up your day and give you new scenery to look at. Do yourself a favor — put on some music or a podcast and go for a walk. 

Reach Out and Check in on Your People

I cannot stress this enough: check in on the people in your life. You never really know what is going on behind closed doors, and last year was emotionally jarring for everyone.

Truthfully, I used to think checking up on someone made me seem overbearing. After talking to friends and family about this, I came to understand that this, in fact, is not the case. 

Whatever the circumstances — going into lockdown, quarantining, dealing with grief, loss, stress, frustration, etc. — everyone needs to be checked on sometimes.

What is most important is making the effort. You never know whose day you will make by sending a text or making a call to ask them how they are doing. By doing this, you are letting them know you are thinking about them. When everyone is separated, it can be astonishingly lonely, so when the phone rings or the notification chime signals and it is a loved one checking in, it can be something incredibly special. 

Take a moment and reach out to your people, even if it is to simply say hello. Not only are you making that other person feel loved, but it is giving you something social to do.

Emily Herman is student at Ohio State University studying Communications. She is interested in all things pop culture, interior design, politics, social media and entertainment. When she is not busy with school, she enjoys reading, writing, spending quality time with loved ones and finding a good television series or movie to watch.