While many people across the world are currently experiencing a shared experience as we try to cope with the restraints the pandemic of COVID-19 has had on our lives, the experience of being a college student during this time is one of specificity. So, to help college students during this trying time are a list of ways to keep them sane and optimistic as we make the best of an unknown and honestly scary time.
1. Do your homework.
While this may be an obvious tip, it may be difficult for some students to adhere to the demands of college course requirements without their usual schedules and built-in ways to keep themselves accountable.
Set up virtual study groups, find ways to keep in touch with professors, look to those you may be quarantined with to help with motivation and accountability and create a new schedule to assist in completing assignments and attending virtual classes.
2. Look for internships and possible jobs.
While many places may not be hiring, depending on the job you are looking for or the career you are pursuing, it does not hurt to continue to research and learn about what is to come when things begin to take steps to “normalcy.”
Motivate and inspire yourself by discovering what options you do have in relation to what is to come after college and/or internships or jobs you aspire to attain during college. Don’t stop dreaming even if it feels like life is on hold.
3. Give yourself incentives and rewards.
Being in the comfort of your home, it may feel like there is no point in getting anything done. Try not to let the days blur together by giving yourself something new to do each day and encourage yourself to work towards rewards by completing chores or achieving goals for yourself.
Keep in mind that doing new tasks does not mean spending money. Something new could be finally writing in your journal or learning how to braid your own hair. If you have been wanting to reorganize your closet, don’t keep putting it off. Reorganize your closet by a set date and reward yourself with a new dessert you’ve been meaning to make yourself, or a virtual Sunday Funday.
4. Virtually hang out with your friends!
Many of you may be separated from your friends with actual distance because they are back home or because of social distancing. Find ways to stay connected. During these times it is easy to feel isolated and experience symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. Play games with your friends through apps like Houseparty, or have Zoom sessions for happy hours.
While you are having fun, also share with your friends how difficult living through this pandemic is and how you are or are not coping. Do NOT hold these feelings in and check in on your friends, as they may be struggling too.
5. Seek help!
Do not think that you have to suffer in silence or alone. There are ways to get professional help if you find you are having a difficult time coping with these major changes. Reach out to your parents, school counselors, etc., in order to get the help you need.
Telemedicine is an option! While telemedicine can seem uncomfortable or unknown, it may not be as bad as you think. Do not wait until things get back to “normal” to get help. If you do not have insurance or do not know where to start, reach out to a mental health facility, your primary care physician, or your school counselor and they can guide you to getting the help you need.
6. Stay active.
Although many of us feel like summer is canceled, the positive side of this quarantine is that the weather is nice enough to get outside.
Staying active can mean anything from going for a walk, practicing in-home workouts, doing yoga, or just stepping outside and getting some sun on your face. It is easy to gain weight and be inactive because we are restricted to our homes. Do not let that deter you.
Instead, find creative ways to get your body moving, even if that means making an embarrassing Tik Tok that is only meant for your archives.
7. Keep in touch with family.
With this extra time, take time out of your day to call family members you have always been meaning to call but never had time. Check on grandma, Facetime with your niece, or send a text to family members just to say “I hope you are safe and I’m thinking of you.” Find ways to connect with your family, especially if you can not see them.
If you are back home living with your family, this may be a blessing and a curse. Have game and movie nights with your family members, and ask them questions to get to know them in a way you maybe hadn’t before.
Practice patience if your parents or family members start getting on your nerves, but also pay attention to what you need. If you need to hide in the bathroom for 10 minutes because finding a moment to yourself seems impossible, then by all means, take those ten minutes to yourself.
8. Be still.
There is this misconception that you have to come out of this quarantine with new skills, written a book, and be your best self. That is not true. Take the time to be still.
Days you feel low and do not feel the motivation or energy to do anything, be kind to yourself and do just that.
This is a scary time and the future may feel uncertain. There is a lot of loss many of us are experiencing. Loss of lifestyle, loss of freedom, loss of people due to COVID-19, and loss of what was.
It is okay to be still and be present in what is. All we can do is take it one day at a time.
At Clarity Clinic, we have highly trained staff who specialize in psychotherapy and psychiatry services. To learn more about how we can support your mental health, call Clarity Clinic at (312) 815-9660 or schedule an appointment today.