Throughout quarantine we have collectively been dealing with life’s stressors in our own ways, and unfortunately it’s made us easily susceptible to fall into a loop of bad habits. But fear not! Here are some of my personal habits that have supported me, and might be able to help you too.
- Maintain daily you-time
When it comes to long periods of productivity, it may seem as if time is flying right past–leaving barely any room to treat yourself. Try and set yourself a designated time every day for something that makes you happy. It is human nature to follow what pleases us. Whether it is listening to some music alone for a couple hours or simply standing outside in the sun, your brain will thank you.
- Taking “mindful minutes”
The times we are awake in the early morning or winding down late at night can be the most vulnerable. Taking a “mindful minute” is a moment of reflection and positive self-affirmations. When you start or end the day, take time to reflect on your intentions for the day and why they are worth doing. It can boost learning to stay in the present moment and make yourself feel better.
- Weekly Journaling
Containing the racing thoughts in your mind can lead to heightened stress and overthinking, making you more likely to burn out quickly. Having your own mental sanctuary to write down whatever is on your mind will clear unwanted baggage that may go left unnoticed throughout the week. These can be recorded digitally, in an actual journal, or in small notes depending on your comfort!
- Outdoor time
Being indoors constantly has become very common throughout the pandemic. Despite this being a safety measure, it can be overwhelming and even cause anxiety. Some safe ways to go outdoors include sitting in your backyard/outside your home, or taking a short walk around your neighborhood. You can also open your windows and move around in your room. The fresh air and scenery may elevate your mood, along with some minor physical activity to replenish your mindset.
- Breathe–but really do it.
With extended homework sessions, our breathing goes on autopilot. Surprisingly, sometimes your breath can become short-paced or very quick. One technique that helps is to take a deep breathing session—before and after an assignment is finished—for 3 minutes. The technique I use is to breathe into your diaphragm for seven seconds, hold for five, and then breathe out for another seven. Breathing provides circulation to the blood in our bodies and is needed to maintain energy and relaxation.
- Remember your efforts are always counted!
Taking a break and devoting time for yourself while you are in a mental state to be productive may be difficult. General anxiety can trick you into thinking that it will throw off your schedule. Remain mindful of this by reflecting on your past efforts and the reasons why you keep working. Despite mishaps or challenges, your past success and attempts to improve are never thrown away and should be celebrated. Whether you happen to have a handful of missing assignments or are consistent in your classes, it is important to remember that every little step counts!
- Have a Weekly/Daily motivation resource
Have you ever caught yourself in the middle of working on an assignment and suddenly lost motivation? If so, this method may help you find that drive. Create a space, such as a wall of post-it notes, poster, collage, or anything of your choice that shows your aspirations and future plans. It may take some time, but it can help you to remember the direction you are going in the first place!
- Find your “reset” break
With each passing day, our moods can be thrown off due to our environment, affecting our school performance. When this occurs, it can leave your energy half full or cause slow days. A reset break is a self-created series of steps to take to catch yourself if you are feeling too burnt out. A reset break I’ve made is: Playing music while beautifying/organizing your room, going to eat a snack, washing your face, and then taking time to understand how you are really feeling before starting to work again. It can also be helpful if you are struggling with breaks that take longer than they should.
- Acknowledging yourself
It can become difficult to handle issues and personal problems while keeping up with school. Learning acceptance and acknowledging your own emotions is a form of self-love that can bring forth validation to your thoughts and feelings. This can be done through meditation and your weekly journaling, reset breaks, or breathing exercises. It is good to remember that your ideals should be respected!
- Celebrate every day with gratitude
With every object you touch or look at, be thankful for it! Your dilemmas and emotions do matter, and having gratitude does not minimize them. Having gratitude is to see the good amongst the bad, as the bad can sometimes become the only thing that is noticed. Sit back and be aware of the environment you are currently in. Observe what is around you and how it has changed over time. Taking this time to look around and appreciate can make your days a little brighter.