With everyone’s lives on lockdown and the spread of COVID-19 running rampant, the University of Colorado Boulder looks different. Pre-pandemic, The Hill, one of CU’s off-campus neighborhoods, was filled with liveliness on every street corner. Now, the energy and noise have been paused.
Let’s get one thing straight, it’s not just the lack of social outings affecting students at this time.
“I don’t know one person who’s okay right now,” CU Boulder graduate student Kate Lemons said.
Many can relate to this sentiment right now. The CDC reported that in June of 2020, anxiety disorder symptoms were approximately three times the amount of those reported in 2019 at that time (25.5% compared to 8.1%). As for the presence of depressive order, it was four times the number reported from 2019’s second quarter (24.3% compared to 6.5%). With no end in sight, the pandemic’s effects make it difficult to process everyday uncertainty. Students are left wondering if life will ever be normal again.
Whether or not the pandemic has had a serious effect on you, this year has brought on many new challenges that can weigh on your mental health. People are dying every day. In fact, many don’t always realize they are struggling until that struggle gets to be too much and they eventually break down.
People deal with sadness and anxiety in different ways. No matter who you are, it’s important to take time to check in with yourself and evaluate what you need. There’s a lot of things we can’t do right now, but we can use this time to slow down and work through what we feel so that the negativity doesn’t continue to damage our mental health.
Here are 14 activities you can do to help you feel more alive and well in this unprecedented time:
- Alone time: Time by yourself can be amazing for you. Before COVID-19, life didn’t slow down like this. When’s the last time you sat with your own thoughts and just let them run without a phone or television on telling you what to think about?
- Friend time: Too much alone time can be damaging too which is why you need human interaction as well. Balance is a good thing. Whether it is a real outing or just a video call, it feels comforting to talk to people and see how they are doing.
- Change your routine: We were forced into an entirely new lifestyle this year, and not a very exceptional one either. Since everything’s already changed so much, why not drastically try to change your life into your dream routine? Switching your routine up can be beneficial. Add a walk into your morning or do something you wouldn’t normally do every day.
- Read a book: Reading a book can be a distraction from social media. If you don’t love reading, you can get a book and read one chapter each night. A lot of self-help books have very short chapters that can still make you feel good.
- Get up earlier: There are plenty of reasons to wake up earlier. There will be more time in your day to eat, work, and do what you want to do. Adequate sleep helps with information retainment, memory function, and creativity.
- Podcasts: There are podcasts for everything: politics, lifestyle, pop culture, etc. Sometimes having a voice in the background can make you feel less lonesome and more connected.
- Quit a bad habit: Is there something you do that you wish you didn’t? You might feel proud of yourself for stopping whatever that is.
- Practice positive language: Be more kind to yourself. We live in weird times, mistakes are okay. Also, not everything needs to get done today.
- Quit procrastinating. This is an arduous task but once you finish everything on that to-do list, relief is there waiting for you.
- Deep clean your space. Clutter can actually influence our psychological state over time. Deep cleaning and organizing can make you feel put together.
- Cleanse your social media: Look into who you are following and what your feed looks like. Is that feed bringing you joy? Is social media helping you or harming you? If any aspect feels negative to you, you can unfollow them.
- Move. The hardest part of working out is just getting the workout started. Once you find the time and get ready, the workout actually feels good. Then you feel even better when you’ve accomplished it.
- Meditate on your purpose: Meditation, including a multitude of different techniques, helps with stress reduction and the release of negative feelings. You can find guided meditations on Youtube; ones for abundance, mental clarity, and so much more that help with unwinding.
- Create: Content from other people is circulating around us 24/7, whether that be advertisements or art. Tapping into your own creative side can be enjoyable. Maybe cook a new meal for yourself and your friend or make some new playlists to listen to. The options are boundless.
All of the activities above allow you to take a little extra time for your body and mind. Doing so can help liberate some of that pent-up stress and obstructive emotion, which will positively affect your mental health.
It’s alright if you are in low spirits, but you should know you’re not alone. We will get through this pandemic together.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Neriah England at firstname.lastname@example.org.