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Mental Health

So, The World is on Fire…What Now?

In the last week things have gone to shit. We are currently living through an unprecedented global crisis, and it’s a little bit stressful.

As a person with anxiety and a bit of a catastrophist mindset, this has been a really stressful time. The amount of upheaval and unanswered questions have had me on the brink of a panic attack for the last six days. But, since things won’t be calming down for a little while and I really don’t want to be consumed with anxiety for the next several weeks, I have decided to live in conscious ignorance of the shitstorm brewing outside. That doesn’t mean I am pretending that everything is normal, but it does mean that I am taking steps to ensure that all this crap doesn’t take over my life.

If you’re like me and are looking for some ways to disconnect from all the anxiety-inducing stuff that’s happening, I have some advice for you! Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Disconnect from social media

I’m not saying you need to be totally detached from what’s happening in the world, but social media is incredibly stressful right now. Fear-mongering and negativity are rampant on Twitter and Facebook and that constant bombardment of negativity can make it really hard to stay calm.

What I recommend is to check into social media maybe once a day, find out what’s happening, then turn it off. Don’t spend hours scrolling through Spotted at Laurier on Twitter or Facebook, because it is just going to make you anxious. Instead find some other ways to occupy your time (don’t worry, I have suggestions. We’ll get to those in a bit).

Make a plan

Part of the reason things are so stressful is because school stuff is so up in the air. It can be really overwhelming when each of your profs has a different plan for the rest of the term.

The easiest solution is to make a plan. For me, that means going through all my emails and updated syllabuses and listing what each prof’s plan is so I can see at a glance where things have changed. Then I list all my due dates for upcoming assignments and how they are being turned in. It took a bit of time, but I feel so much more relaxed now that I have all the information laid out in front of me.

Get moving

Stagnation is anxiety’s best friend. It might seem nice to have free time to sit and veg for a bit, but it’s important to keep yourself moving. First of all, it keeps you healthy (which is kind of important right now) and second, it helps reset your brain and release some of that anxiety that can build up in your body during times like this.

There are a few ways to get moving. You can go for a walk or run outside (the germs can’t catch you if you’re moving quickly), or if you’re more inclined to stay inside there are lots of workout videos online that can keep you moving in the comfort of your bedroom. Some gyms are offering at-home workout plans and there are lots of YouTubers who do tutorials for things like yoga, Zumba, etc. Just find something that gets you moving and makes you happy. It will keep things from getting boring and help keep you calm.

Keep yourself busy

Speaking of keeping things from getting boring, we have just been given a lot of free time and not a lot of ways to spend it. Pretty soon we’re going to run out of things to do and once that happens, it’s going to become too easy to focus on the negativity. To make things easier, here is a list of things that are fun, distracting and relaxing to keep you busy during the next little while:

Read a book

Now is the perfect time to pick up a book and read for fun! Escape all the shit going on in our world and spend some time reading about someone else’s adventures.

Adult coloring books (or kid coloring books! We’re not picky)

Remember how a few years ago adult coloring books were the shit? Well now is the perfect time to pull one out and start coloring! It’s super relaxing and can fill up a decent amount of time. Plus, you can watch tv or listen to a podcast while you color!

Learn a new skill

You can learn pretty much anything on YouTube these days and teaching yourself something new means that at the end of self-isolation you’ll be able to do something you hadn’t been able to before. Consider learning to juggle (fun, doesn’t require that you leave home to get supplies), knit (cheap, time-consuming and you’ll end up with something you can wear) or watercolor paint (cheap, time-consuming and you’ll end up with pretty art you can display in your room).

That’s all I have for you today. Things are really scary right now and it can be really overwhelming, but I hope this article has some tips that will help keep things from getting too stressful. Love you all; stay safe and healthy!

Meghan Mazzaferro

Wilfrid Laurier '21

Meghan is an English and Film Studies major who has dreamed of being a writer all her life. When she's not writing essays and watching films for class, she loves to read YA novels and rewatch her favourite TV shows for the 100th time. Proud plant mama of 24 green beauties, and willing to adopt all the dogs.
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