The experience of going back to school is usually either very fun and exciting or very stressful. Some people love shopping for school supplies, meeting their new teachers, and finding out who is in all of their classes. Others cram summer work, plan their “fun fact” to say when teachers call on them, and just want it to be the weekend forever. Whichever category you may fall under, we can all agree that this school year is far from normal.
Some students are doing all learning virtually, and others are on alternating schedules. Even if you are in school every day, it is very likely that you are socially distancing and wearing masks. Even teachers are stressing out about how to keep their students-and themselves- safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this unprecedented time, we all need to take care of ourselves, both physically and mentally.
Physical health has been highlighted a lot recently. By this point, we all know to wash our hands, check for COVID-19 symptoms, and limit our contact with people from outside of our own homes when possible. A lot of sources, however, fail to acknowledge that this pandemic has been mentally taxing for many people. Although we are lucky to not be physically ill, many of us may feel emotionally drained or down-in-the-dumps. Self-care is a very important part of remaining physically and emotionally healthy. Below, I have included some of my favorite socially distanced self-care practices in hopes that you all will find them helpful.
Watch a TV show or movie.
Watching my favorite TV shows and movies always put me in a better mood. No matter which streaming services you have access to, there are millions of great shows and movies out there. Recently, I have discovered apps where you can watch Netflix, Youtube, and even Disney+ with your friends while socially distancing! My favorite is an app called Rave; as long as one of you has access to the desired streaming service, you can both watch the same thing at the same time. It even has a chat feature.
Spend time with your family and/or pets.
While many of us are finding ourselves at home more than usual, we might as well make the best of it! Spending time with my family and pets has definitely been one of my favorite activities during this pandemic.
Make time to spend alone.
Personally, I am an introvert; I draw my energy from being alone, and being with large groups of people for an extended period of time drains my energy. During my time at home this year, and upon my return to school, I have realized how important it is to take time for yourself. Even if it is 10 minutes a day to meditate or just sit quietly, it can make a big difference. I like to take 5-10 minutes as soon as I wake up to reflect on the day before and to plan for the day ahead. It really helps me get my day started in a positive way.
Listen to music.
For me, there is nothing like coming home after a long day of school or work, popping in a pair of earbuds, and listening to my favorite music. Apps like Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud are especially great, because you can find and create playlists for any mood.
Listening to your body is always important. There are many resources, both online and in-person, that can help us when we feel down. Until this pandemic is over, it is important for us to be especially kind to ourselves and to one another.