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Since being home, I find I have days that I’m really engaged and motivated; however, more often then not, I’ve fallen into the same, effortless routine that, sure makes me comfortable, but it doesn’t push me to true happiness. That routine often looks something like this:

8:30 am - wake up & eat

9 am - Netflix

2 pm - lunch

3 pm - Netflix

10 pm - school work

1 am - sleep

This is a good lazy day routine, but living each day like this can make me feel monotonous and less unique. We’re all unique - whether we know it or not. It’s just a matter of making the effort to see what you like that makes you unique. So, here are a few things that help me feel more productive and attached to who I am when I fall into that slump routine.

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Journaling

Something that I’ve taken up since being home during the pandemic is journaling. When I was a kid, I never was one to journal or keep a diary because I was always intimidated by following certain rules, or being so young because I didn't have as many aspirations as I do now after experiencing college. So now being over halfway through my undergrad, I have a lot more to think and dream about, which makes journaling more fun and directed. Journaling can be whatever you want it to be, but I always feel much more connected to myself when I spend some time writing things that inspire me, drawing things that make me happy, or planning for my future. To get started, I suggest watching some YouTube videos such as this one, to get some inspiration.

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Pinterest, Redecorate, Organize, and Clean

Pinterest is my new favorite app. It has pictures of almost everything and anything that can inspire you to redecorate, try new recipes, or just find really cool pictures! Creating different Pinterest boards has helped me visualize some of my favorite things and organize my thoughts. This, in turn, has helped me understand who I am and feel a lot more connected to things I like besides sitting and watching Netflix all of the time.

Another thing that helps me feel better and more productive is having a clean space to engage with. During online classes, I’m in my room for hours at a time, and if I'm loving the space I’m in, it helps me stay in a positive mindset for the whole day. I’ve donated a lot of stuff that I no longer have use for and the space I’m surrounded by makes me feel really happy. Hanging pictures up on the wall and decorating my space with things from Pinterest or my favorite souvenirs really helps me to learn more about myself and reflect.

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Listen to Music from Low-Stress Times in My Life

Feeling disconnected from the world during this pandemic can make me feel antsy and anxious. Something that I've found to really make me feel calm and nostalgic is listening to the music I did when stress was low, particularly music I listened to early on in high school or during the summer. I turn back to my Spotify playlists from 2014-15 and I find I feel a lot more connected to who I was in the past and how, innately, nothing has changed. It's a really therapeutic exercise and I encourage you the next time you’re feeling disconnected from yourself to try this out.

It can be scary if you ever feel like your interests don’t go far beyond Netflix and social media. A friend and I opened up about how we really want to find what we're passionate about in our free time and it inspired me to intentionally work to find it. Whether it be painting, running, or cooking, there’s something for everyone and hopefully some of the suggestions I made in this article can help you relax and feel more in touch with YOU.

Elizabeth Webler

U Mass Amherst '22

Elizabeth studies Philosophy and Political Media Communications at UMass Amherst. Her favorite topics to write about include politics, personal growth, and current events. She loves reading, watching SNL and exercising in her free time!
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