As humans, we very much rely on our mental and emotional health to help us thrive in our daily lives. However, understanding and controlling our emotions may be one of the hardest obstacles to overcome; and right now, the pandemic has made us feel more lonely, scared, anxious, and all the feelings on the spectrum.
An article by Health Affairs
says that a “Preliminary surveys suggest that within the first month of COVID-19, loneliness increased by 20 to 30 percent, and emotional distress tripled.” Even amongst all of the data and research, we have the power to take small steps to become happier, more relaxed and to achieve peace of mind.
If you’re a student it might be hard right now to handle school and your stress levels may be skyrocketing; that’s why it’s essential to take time for yourself. Here are some suggestions of activities that can help you feel happier and lead to better mental health in college students and high school students, alike.
- Take up a new hobby (preferably an active one since most of us are sitting down for many hours). Ex. skate
After a long day of looking at your computer, it’s a good idea to move your body by doing a fun activity. You can learn how to dance, box, rollerskate… I recently started to learn how to skateboard and I try to practice as frequently as possible. It’s cool because it provides me with some release, while I exercise attention and focus through an activity that connects mind and body
- Read instead of watching TV
Reading is just a better use of your time. It is much more beneficial. Studies have shown it can reduce stress by around 68%. Check out this link to see how reading is good for you.
Whenever you feel tired, don’t fight it. If you’re not motivated to do anything else,or need an energy boost, take a nap throughout the day. Remember that we’re supposed to get 8-10 hours of sleep every night!
- Sit outside and look around
If the tech/computer world feels like too much, go outside. Quietly listen to the sounds around you and try to identify what you hear. In this moment, take time to breathe and be present.
Shake your body! Jump up and down, run, do anything you want but keep yourself active. Most of the time we exhaust ourselves mentally, but our bodies don’t receive the attention they deserve.
- Spend time with your family/friends/pets
You might be feeling very lonely or isolated right now; that’s why it’s important to spend time with family, friends, or pets. If this isn’t possible for you, take time out of your day to call a loved one or write a letter to a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Just don’t isolate yourself emotionally from the world. Keep in touch with as many people as possible!
Also, check out this Instagram account by a New York based writer called Mari Andrew: @bymariandrew.
Happy Holidays! Until next year!!
For more information on mental health resources as well as tips for better student living, see the following:
• Mental Healthy in College: Campus Resources for College Students
• How to Unwind During the Holidays
• Three Ways Students Can Stay Sane During Quarantine