My corona life sucks, and these are the 11 ways I’m fixing it
From cutting your own hair to looking outside the window…
Yes, here we are in lockdown, again! Many students are feeling the stress in the midst of term and expressed their stress on Camfess (the memes there are phenomenal!!). The pandemic is having a negative impact not only on student life but also on students’ mental health. Many things, especially people’s social lives, are very restricted, if not annihilated. It seems gloomy especially for many freshers because there are not that many chances to make friends.
Feeling negative, sluggish, and unproductive? I know, I know. Life is tough, but you are not alone. Here are 11 ways to help you engage with life in the pandemic.
1. Make yourself some tea
If you don’t like tea, it’s fine – you can also consume your favourite coffee/hot drink of the day. Just make sure that you treat your mind and body well by giving it some warmth in an increasingly cold season. (I know, it’s impossible to receive hugs at this moment, so we have to hug ourselves with tea). I personally choose herbal tea over coffee or green/black tea (unless they are decaffeinated) because a good cup of tea or two always helps me relax and it does not build up caffeine reliance. My tea of the day also helps me appreciate the day better and creates a sense of ritual when I start my day or afternoon.
2. Dance in your room
Obviously, it is VERY important to improve your dancing skills before the clubs are open again – next time you’re back in Cindies you’ll steal all the attention and be the dazzling star of the night. Seriously, some physical movements may cheer you up. (But please don’t disturb your neighbours or do this at 3am!)
3. Cut your own hair
This is probably one of the most…useful skills that many people picked up during the pandemic. I bought hair clippers for eight pounds (errrr I bought the wrong one with the cord and made it a bit tricky). My first try last week wasn’t perfect because I made a few glitches, but since no one seemed to have noticed until I told them, I suppose it was good enough. As for how I learned it? There is such a thing called YouTube. This is such a life-changing experience and I think I will have to say sorry to my hairdresser x
4. Listen to music
Music is such a big part of life for many people, but during the pandemic, things may change and people may even forget that music used to be a part of their life! Take me as an example, I am terrible at concentrating when music is on, so I never listen to music when I have to do serious work. As corona hit, the time I spend in my room skyrocketed, and that means the boundary between work and life was often less clear. So I have not listened to music for quite a while because I only wanted my solitude and focus on work. It dawned on me that I could still listen to music today to add some vibrancy to my life!!
5. Keep track of your time wisely
Life is messy, and coronavirus makes it even messier, and I’ve found that tracking time helps me become more mindful about how I’ve spent my time. You can evaluate whether you have enlarged your fear of lagging behind or whether you have indulged in your guilty Netflix pleasure too much, which makes you feel even guiltier afterwards. If you feel your life is falling apart, this may be a life-saving tip and it also helps you build up a routine to avoid being unorganised. Read more about this technique here or take a look at this free worksheet.
6. Keep a daily or weekly journal
Staying aware of your emotions is so important, especially in such a difficult time. Again, keeping a journal is just like keeping track of your time. You can also tell your journal everything and it will not judge you—you are the only person who can judge your journal. I always love the relief after writing down my worries and anxiety. Often my perspective changed afterwards. I personally type on my PC, but I started years ago with a real physical journal.
7. Buy grocery, cook your food, and do the dishes
Buying grocery and cooking give me more sense of control over my life and helps me to eat healthy. Doing dishes can be quite nice and relaxing…I love doing dishes…I sometimes secretly wish my housemates would leave their dishes out for me to wash. (But please don’t take this as an invitation to break our door down to leave your plates here!)
8. Exercise, or just go out for a walk
Just like dancing, any physical movement can be beneficial for you – the benefits of exercise cannot be over-emphasised. Getting some fresh air while jogging or cycling can clear up the mental chaos.
Park your bike creatively!
9. Clean and ‘lüften’ your room
College staff will not pamper you and clean your room for you, but the short switch of focus in tidying up for yourself may help you gain inspiration. And if you didn’t know the word lüften, congratulations, you have just learned a German word! It’s a German thing of ventilating rooms for five to 10 minutes in the morning and evening to get fresh air.
10. Look outside the window, especially when the weather is bad
Thanks to Churchill College’s massive window seats and windows, I always enjoy the view outside my window. The weather in Cambridge is very often horrid. That wind… as my supervisor puts it, “no one ever forgets those blustery gales coming across the fens, so it was said, directly from Siberia!” It sucks when the weather is so depressing, but maybe an alternative way to view it is that thanks to online teaching, we do not have to deal with this mad weather and can attend lectures or talks in our cosy rooms (or bed!)
11. Meet friends online or just one friend in person
Human connections are still one of the most important aspects in life, so don’t feel afraid to write your friends or family a message, call them, or schedule an online talk. (They might well be feeling the same way!) If you’d like to meet someone in person, be sure to stick to the government’s one-person-at-a-time guideline and meet outdoors, with social distancing.
You might have noticed that most tips mentioned above follow a pattern—they all aim to direct your negativity elsewhere or at least provide you with a way to vent it. In a way, they can help you break the vicious circle you are trapped in. Vicious circles are vicious circles because they are circles. The only way to overcome them is to break the circle! Be kind to yourself <3
All picture credits to Kuan-Chun Chen unless otherwise specified.