A lot of people are at home trying to earn their degree during the pandemic and there's not much to do. Despite not having much going on, we still find ourselves stressed from long Zoom calls, our own thoughts and motivation, assignments, and the feeling of overwhelming uncertainty for how the upcoming years will go. I find myself stressed out more than usual, whether it be here in my apartment here on campus or back home. I have been doing a number of things to keep myself upbeat about earning my diploma in either setting and found some really simple ways to handle the stress of all of it.
1. Rearrange your bedroom setup.
Moving a piece of furniture from one side of the room to the other might be enough to alleviate your stress. It's really strange to see your behavior change when you move things. You get so comfortable with the environment you're in that it causes you to be unmotivated and uninterested in a lot of things. You see the same thing happening with any animal in a small enclosure. When they don't have anything new to stimulate their mind and body, they lash out or find interests somewhere else. Performing the same tasks day to day causes us to find other things to do and explore. It turns into a bad habit when there is work to be done.
Whether it be one piece of furniture or several objects, it's nice to take in a new perspective of a room you're very familiar with. I placed storage bins on top of each other and draped a piece of furry fabric over it to make a nice DIY nightstand.
2. Have your door open when you can.
This is a really great thing to do when you have roommates who are experiencing the same conditions as you are. Having your door open forces you to peer out and invite others in. You encourage interactions and build a well-rounded character with this minimal gesture and that idea may help you feel better.
Also, opening a door provides better air circulation so your mom doesn't have to come in and say "why does it smell in here?" because you've been cooped up in your room all day.
3. Invest in new lighting products.
I hate this, I do. I was always against girly dangly lighting and strip LED stuff because everyone I knew had it and I wanted to go against the trend like the stubborn person I am. However, I admit getting new lights, and having them around the room is alleviating. It's so easy to produce different vibes with the change of a button. When you're really tired but still need to focus, having dim lights with lo-fi beats is enough to keep pushing you.
4. Always have yourself facing a window.
You're likely getting really frustrated staring at a wall and those posters are tempting to tear apart. Having your attention aimed at whatever is out your window can bring peace of mind while producing a train of valuable thoughts to your work.
I'm doing that now as I write this article. It's something about those trees and the quiet chirps that make it feel like I am in such a huge space (when really I'm not).
5. Set some small goals for yourself on a whiteboard or post-it notes.
This honestly keeps me in check. I catch myself zoning out during the day, staring blankly at my walls but I always refocus when I catch a glimpse of the notes on my whiteboard.
Setting small goals like "clean the kitchen" or "don't forget" with doing this or that is enough to make anyone feel like they have some value or worthy thing to do.
I'm admittedly a very vulgar person to myself, so I jokingly write awful things to myself on my whiteboard. It makes me laugh when I see it.
6. Stream content from or about professionals in your major.
Streaming Youtube channels from people who have mastered your major might be the most rewarding thing you could do for yourself. It's effortless to pay attention to what tips they have to offer, and it provides insight into what you can do after you graduate. You can stress less about your plans for your future and take whatever material you've learned from them into your own work. Reading short articles are great, too!
7. Clean what needs to be cleaned.
This means anything whether it be donating unused or forgotten clothes in your closet or dusting off the stuff on your desk. A cleanroom can help control the busy thoughts in your head. Going through a cleaning process can take someone down memory lane, a time before the pandemic.
8. Always have a glass of water nearby.
Sometimes you get too caught up in whatever you're doing and forget the essentials. Having a glass of water is a gesture of self-love that you subconsciously make a note of.
9. Get dressed like you're going out even though you're not.
I started to practice this maybe during the beginning of the fall semester because I needed something to motivate me. I can't have my wardrobe be made up of sweatpants and t-shirts. Wearing a cute outfit makes you want to have your zoom camera on and reminds you of the days when you would go out to do things and had to see people. It blankets your stress from zoom university with a bit of forgotten normality.
I know these tips or ways may never take all the stress away but I hope it was enough to make it manageable in your childhood bedroom or any bedroom. People are going through the same thing and handling stress in their own ways and this was one way I handle my stress as a college student majoring in Industrial Design.