During this pandemic I'm sure many of you, like myself, have been thrown a little off your game. Routines are different now and sometimes it is hard to stay motivated when you are stuffed up in one room all day. I have had a hard time trying to feel like me again, but here are some tips and tricks that I have been using to make my day to day life feel normal again.
I know this one is pretty basic, but I love to treat myself to a nice coffee every once and a while. Especially after a long day at work when I still have a ton of homework to do, it is so nice to stop at Starbucks and pick myself up one of my favorite sweet drinks. Right now with it entering autumn so many yummy seasonal drinks are coming back into coffee shops, and I cannot resist the temptation of trying each and every one of them for myself. Drinking coffee and relaxing is something that makes me feel grounded inside, and you can always order ahead/use drive through in order to maximize social distancing.
Saying "NO" to pajama days
Because of the pandemic, I (like many other students) have been having exclusively online classes, and because of this I haven't really needed to leave my dorm very often. Something that I've worked into my routine that really helps is actually really simple, I have made a habit of changing out of my pajamas every morning, no matter how tempting it is to wear them all day and stay cozily cuddled up in my blankets... I've also tried to do my makeup regularly like I normally would and it really helps me stay motivated and feel like me again, maybe it will help you too.
Going for walks
Since we've all been cooped-up indoors for the past few months, it is so important to take time for yourself and get some fresh air, along with a little exercise. One way I have found that helps me has been going out for walks on the trails around my campus. The occasional walk has helped me feel a little less boarded up, and also has let me experience the changing of the seasons rather than staring at my computer screen all day, which is a really refreshing change.
This one has been admittedly a tough one for me, but also so important. While staying inside for such long periods of time, it is so easy to let yourself go and not take care of your surroundings, especially if you are someone like me who has a tough time trying to stay organized. I've found that it helps me stay motivated and feel cleaner when I try and stick to doing a few simple tasks to clean up around me everyday. Making sure to keep up with your laundry, dishes, garbage and just the overall cleanliness of your environment can make a world of difference for you.
Sometimes it is hard to rationalize spending money on things that do not seem necessary, whether that means ordering food from your favorite restaurant, buying the new album your favorite artist just released or spending money on material things that you might not necessarily need. Every once and a while though, its good to indulge in yourself and treat yourself to something nice. I've found that ordering food once a week, or spoiling myself by ordering a venti rather than my normal grande can make such a difference when it comes to my mood and overall state of mind. Everyone deserves to indulge at least a little bit in themselves.
Get a companion
Living in isolation can get really lonely and boring, having a pet can help give you a new sense of responsibility and also help you start a routine. During the second week of March when I first got sent home from school because of the virus, I convinced my mom to let me get a pet fish. I chose a red male betta that I named Paprika. Having a pet of my own really helped me fix my routines, since I was responsible for making sure he was getting fed and taking care of his water, where before I only really had to worry about myself. Of course getting a pet is not something that everyone should do, but for me personally I think it was a really good choice to have the little guy around.
Self care is so, so, so important! I can not stress how much of a game changer practicing good self care can actually be. Not only does it help you keep up with hygiene, but also it just makes you feel fresh and ready to take on the world. Some things I love to do that make me feel great are exfoliating when I'm in the shower, doing face masks and taking nice hot bubble baths. You can also meditate, snuggle up with your favorite book, or do whatever makes you feel the most at peace and relaxed. Everyone deserves to be a little spoiled, and trust me, with this pandemic we ALL have earned it.
Spending time with people who make you happy
Although this is the last thing on the list, I think this is definitely the most important. During the pandemic it is easy to seclude yourself from others and to feel as if you are all alone, but it is important to remember that your friends and family are all just a call away. There are so many fun ways to keep in contact with others, whether through late night FaceTime calls, getting together online for a Netflix Party or meeting up with a group of your closest friends on Zoom. Spending time with friends and family is so important for your mental health, but also is a fun way to brighten your day after a long week of studying.