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Mental Health

Building Good Habits Helped Me Make It Through This Quarter

Like the majority of college students, this quarter posed a challenge for me both mentally and academically. The uncharted territory of attending classes from my room, all the technical difficulties that come with an unstable internet connection, and the stress of making sure I’m not missing any deadlines made me hyper-aware this entire quarter. Getting used to this new way of learning has definitely taken a toll on my mental health. With classes being held two steps away from my bed, the line between work and relaxation was no longer black and white. There was never a moment where I could fully disconnect because the constant flow of updates and emails from professors kept me on edge. 

To cope with being in this constant work mode, I realized that building a consistent schedule was vital to my mental health. I had to find a way to make sure I was setting time for myself to take a step back and recharge and make sure I had outlets to relieve my stress. Thus, I began to build small habits and routines that I could achieve every day. Completing these small daily goals helped boost my motivation to tackle the bigger tasks of the day.

One of the first things I did to get myself in a routine was to write down my class schedules. This included weekly live Zoom classes, as well as weekly due dates and assignments. Then I set specific blocks of time dedicated to completing assignments for specific classes. Being explicit in what time and what classwork I would do helped make sure there was no space for excuses to push back assignments. 

[bf_image id="65wbsmvs7cs3x9g457sqkwxn"] The second habit I instilled this quarter was the commitment to exercise at least five times a week. I started out small, with a ten minute ab workout in the morning. Over the weeks, I built myself up to a routine of jump rope cardio on top of my ten minute ab workout. By starting off the day with a quick workout, I found myself feeling pumped and ready to take on the day. It also became my primary way of relieving stress. 

After establishing my morning routine of working out, I found making myself a cup of coffee before my morning classes also gave me a moment of relaxation. Preparing my French press and waiting for the coffee to steep, I find peace in the silence, when all my other housemates are still asleep in the morning. Small moments like these have helped me to feel grounded during this chaotic time, and being at home most of the day has prompted me to find ways to build moments of calm. 

[bf_image id="mtpw5n6s2mpkrzn45j7f6xrz"] Reflecting on this decision to incorporate these habits into my routine, I can say that it has been a beneficial experience, and I hope to continue to build more habits to help me partition my time. With no real end in sight with this pandemic, I have come to realize how important it is to appreciate the little things and take time to take care of myself.   

Emily is a fourth-year at UC Davis, pursuing a bachelor's degree in Communications and Cinema & Digital Media. She is currently Design Director for VITA at UC Davis and Digital Media Director for Her Campus UCD. She enjoys thrifting and getting coffee with friends.
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