College is hard. College miles away from campus is even harder.
The Covid-19 pandemic is isolating for everyone, but being a fully remote student—far from friends and the buzz of campus life— can leave you feeling particularly overwhelmed. I’ve picked up a few things over the first half of this semester that have helped my mental health during these challenging times.
Tip #1: Do not sacrifice your morning routine. I think we’re all guilty of rolling out of bed 10 minutes before a Zoom class. It’s possible and definitely tempting. However, research shows that implementing a morning routine leads to less stress, and even healthier eating! Little things like making your bed every morning give you a sense of accomplishment and leave you feeling more motivated. And a made bed means you’re less likely to get back into it between classes!
Tip #2: Be sure to implement a “commute” into your routine. We’re all used to short walks between our dorms and classes. While this may have felt like a lost ten minutes of sleep, studies have proven that morning activity can help optimize brain function and boost overall well-being. Whether you choose to walk to a local coffee shop or take a 5-minute power walk around your block, you very well may perform, and feel, better from it!
Tip #3: Do not do work in your bed. Zoom class has a tendency to not feel like real school, so it can be tempting to turn your camera off and lay down. Maintaining separation of your work and rest spaces is key. Not only will it make you less productive, but it can also affect your sleep quality and relationships, which are two factors that significantly impact your mental health.
Tip #4: Schedule Facetimes or Zoom calls with friends. Being a fully remote student can be extremely lonely. Next time you’re texting a friend about how much you miss each other, ask what night that week they’re free! My group of high school friends plans weekly Zoom catch-up sessions. Whoever can make it jumps on from their college campus across the country,making us all feel close, despite being hundreds of miles apart.
Tip #5: Plan things to look forward to. Even though many things are up in the air right now, making small plans can be beneficial. Even seemingly insignificant plans, like picking up Thai food on Wednesday, can break up your week and get you through that day’s lab by giving you something to look forward to.
Tip #6: Cut yourself some slack and remember this won’t last forever! My final tip, and objectively the most important, this isn’t the college experience any of us were hoping for or expecting. I know I definitely didn’t picture taking Geology from my parent’s house! However, there is comfort knowing that everyone is in the same boat. This will pass, so be kind to yourself and try to find silver linings.