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Mental Health

I Can’t Do School Work *and* Cope with Coronavirus Anxiety—But Everyone Expects Me To

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Between constant news updates about COVID-19, school, and an online internship, I feel like I haven’t had any time to catch my breath. The activities I used to find calming, like going to the grocery store or stopping at Target, have now become huge sources of anxiety. It certainly doesn’t help that I’m isolated from all my friends and family right now. 

Though the pandemic is responsible for a large part of my anxiety, another layer is keeping up with work and school. Many of my teachers have expressed sympathy for students right now, but still expect the same workload to continue (and right now, my workload is actually heavier). 

It’s hard to pay attention in class when it ends by closing a tab. I can’t pretend this is the same education I’d be receiving if I were on campus in classrooms. But as many schools have closed down until next fall, we’ve got to make do with what we’ve got. 

What’s helped me cope

I work from home for five hours before class, then sit in class for three to five hours after that. That means I could be sitting in front of my laptop for up to 10 hours. Yikes. Screen time can add to anxiety, as it leads to headaches, sore eyes and a lack of sleep. For that reason, I invested in a pair of blue light glasses to help reduce the amount of blue light I’m taking in. 

Since I’ve got a lot on my plate every day, I also try to stick to my normal, non-quarantine routine. I wake up, grab breakfast and get to work. If I’m drinking coffee, I make sure to grab a glass of water to go with it to keep hydrated. The same goes for nighttime: watch an episode of something on Netflix, take some melatonin gummies to help me sleep, brush my teeth and take a warm shower. For me, it’s important to establish those routines to keep a schedule and actually be productive. 

That being said, I also make sure that the sweats I’m sleeping in are different than the ones I’m wearing for “school.” Though I’m still keeping comfy in the daytime, getting dressed into something that’s not pajamas means I’m ready for the day, and it provides a little normalcy to the situation. 

Once I’m finished with school, I make sure to take it easy and keep my anxiety in check. I take anti-stress gummies that help me keep calm and alert, and usually make myself a cup of tea in my favorite mug. I also set aside an hour every day to walk around my neighborhood, listen to music and really have time for myself. Getting outside of the apartment I’m cooped up in and giving myself a break from screens and social media helps decrease my anxiety — plus, it gives me something to look forward to everyday. 

My advice is to figure out a routine that works for you, making sure to target your anxiety symptoms. My big ones are a lack of sleep, lack of appetite, and fear for my family and friends. Set aside time to make sure you’re eating full meals, drinking water and sleeping enough. Reach out to friends and family to see how they’re doing too. 

I get anxious knowing everything is uncertain right now, but it’s important to remember that this is temporary. With the right precautions, we’ll get through this — together.

Maya is a senior majoring in journalism at Boston University. She has previously written with College Fashionista as an editorial fellow and FASE Magazine as a fashion editorial intern. Passionate about writing, thrift shopping, memes, skin care, and binge-watching Broad City.
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