Bella A. is a junior marketing major at Rutgers Business School. Since her freshman year, she has had the most amazing experience as a social media and marketing intern for the Rutgers Residence Life Marketing Department. Bella’s interests include music, fashion, and good food. Connect with Bella on Instagram @bella.awalt
How I Am Staying Happy During the Pandemic
Missing your home on the banks? So am I. During these difficult times, it is our responsibility to stay at home and follow social-distancing guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19. These are tough times for everyone, and it is easy to feel idle, restless, and lonely as we self-isolate. Just because I cannot spend physical time in my classes, at club meetings, or with my friends, however, does not mean that this time should hinder our self-growth. I have decided to use my time at home to work on myself. Here are the ways I have been staying happy while staying safe at home.
Establishing a Daily Quar-Routine
You will hear this time and time again, but it makes such a huge difference. This is something that I have been practicing daily. No, I’m not saying that I wake up at 6 AM every morning and get dressed in a suit, but I have been putting in a little more effort than wearing the same sweatpants for 3 weeks straight and staring at my phone in bed all day. I take it one day at a time, and every day, I incorporate little bits of my daily routine into my quar-routine. Even the little things, such as getting dressed for my online classes, establishing a skincare routine, and going to bed at a healthy time have made such a drastic difference in my daily motivation and energy levels.
Picking Up Hobbies
As a college student, it is a rare thing to have this much free time on my hands, so I might as well make the most of it. That ukulele that’s been sitting in the corner of my childhood room since my middle-school indie phase, waiting to be played? Or that candle-making kit I invested in years ago and swore I’d get into? They’ve been getting a lot more attention! Picking up newfound hobbies has allowed my creative mind to run free. This allows me to destress, pass the time, and learn a useful new skill. Some hobbies I’ve been dabbling in currently are painting, sewing, singing, reading, cooking, gardening, and even learning a language! The possibilities are endless, and there is no better time than today.
Going for Walks
The constant change in the media and news can be a source of stress and anxiety. I’ve found it very beneficial to find some time during each day to unplug from all of the noise and practice mindfulness. Getting outside in the sunshine is be a great way to clear my mind and enjoy some fresh air. The CDC actually recommends walking as part of daily exercise to relieve stress during this time, as long as individuals are sure to remain six feet apart from each other. I turn off the TV, step away from my phone, and just listen to the birds chirping as I remind myself of what I have to be grateful for.
Talking to Friends and Family
If you’re anything like me, the hardest part about being away from Rutgers is missing all of your friends, classmates, and coworkers every day. Luckily there are so many platforms to stay connected as a Rutgers community. Using platforms like Facetime, Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts really helps me stay connected with my friends and loved ones and feel less lonely during these times. I’ve even been doing fun birthday parties, study sessions, and Netflix watch parties over video calls!
Connecting to the Rutgers Community
Luckily, Rutgers mental health resources are still available remotely. Counseling, Alcohol and Other Drug Assistance Program & Psychiatric Services (CAPS) have been providing their counseling services remotely, over the phone. CAP’s informal consultations, Let’s Talk, will also be available also the phone. Students should call 848-932-7884 and leave a message. Protocol, a phone-based counseling system for students in crisis, remains available when CAPS is closed. As I said before, these times have personally been a source of anxiety, stress, and grief. These counseling services are excellent resources for students in times of need that I have always been appreciative of as a Rutgers student. It really comforts me to know that I will always have someone to speak to during this experience, and I feel reassured that I should never feel alone. Rutgers is a family, even when we are apart.
These times are very difficult and can cause copious amounts of stress. These five simple changes have made a significant difference in how I’ve spent my time at home. By maintaining a daily routine of self-care, protecting my mental health, and connecting with my loved ones, I am contributing to the strength and resiliency of myself and my community during these trying times.