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Self-Care in the Era of Wake, Zoom, Sleep, Repeat

College can be hard. But this semester? Likely one of the worst.

Most of us have online classes and are even stuck doing them at home, outside of our college community.

At best, we’ve had to adjust to a new learning style. At worst, we’ve felt disconnected, isolated and utterly disheartened.

That’s why it’s more important now than ever to take good care of ourselves.

Take Some “Me” Time

It’s easy to get caught up in all the work you have to do. It can feel like you’re playing a constant game of catch-up and that taking an hour to rest and recharge crush your grades.

It will not.

Time to yourself is essential. Prioritize your most pressing assignments (and do your best not to procrastinate!), and you should be able to find spare time each day.

Every night, I watch an episode or two of a favorite show after my work is done. It’s a reward that I look forward to throughout the day. For several weeks early in the semester, I wasn’t doing anything for my own enjoyment.

It got draining fast.

I decided that I needed to change. Since then, I started relaxing for a while most days, and I’ve felt much better.

 

Tips On Succeeding in Online Classes

Don’t Be a Stranger

Being home alone can make it too easy not interact with people outside of Zoom classes.

While it’s not always safe or possible to spend time with your friends, it is good to give them a text, call or email. Check up on your old high school friends.

Traditionally, college would allow you to get caught up with you new life super quickly and cause you to become a little distant from childhood friends. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because people grow and change, but it can be nice to reconnect with the people that mattered to you as you grew up. These conversations can be both refreshing and nostalgic, and can help save you from isolation during these difficult times.

Or, try to recreate the natural college experience and reach out to Zoom classmates. If you make new friends, it gives you something to be excited for when you’re back on campus. And, you won’t have to be nervous about not knowing anybody when arriving for the first time.

Get Up, Get Dressed & Get Moving

It’s way too easy to stumble out of bed, plop in front of your laptop and then shuffle back to bed later that night—all without hardly changing clothes or eating a complete meal. Easy, and a little lazy. But does it feel good?

Nope.

With online classes and few people around to see you on a daily basis, it’s easy to fall into a rut and feel unmotivated to care for your health. But with all the talk about self care nowadays, shouldn’t we know better?

It’s hugely important to maintain a structured and healthy routine. Do your best to do things like wake up at a decent time, put on an outfit that you like, eat regularly, and get a bit of exercise.

It may seem unnecessary when your only obligations are online for a few hours a day, but letting yourself skip these things can lead to a worsened mood. You might not even realize why until you try getting back into the habit of them and notice how much better it feels.

So…

Give yourself more time to prepare before a Zoom class.

Dress the way that makes you feel confident and more like yourself.

Eat consistently and throw in a healthy meal once in a while (OK, maybe every day).

Keep regular mealtimes to stay structured, so your day resembles the ones you would have had living on campus.

Take a short walk around your neighborhood during a break. If you’re anything like me, you might not want to do a vigorous workout, but being sedentary all day every day makes you feel bummed out after awhile.

Gray Days are A-OK

Staying positive is difficult some days.

While it’s good to actively work on keeping yourself healthy, it’s also comforting to know that off days will happen.

One day it might be hard to stay motivated and focused, and you can’t find a real reason why. Days like these happen to all of us. We’re all being challenged in new, unexpected ways, and it’s important to be forgiving of ourselves.

This will not last forever, and in the meantime, treat yourself with kindness.

Your future self will thank you.

Need more motivation to get you focused?

Niche ambassador Summer comes through with some helpful tips.

Author: Heidi Temple

I am a first-generation student at Princeton University. I am currently planning to concentrate in Molecular Biology there. Then, I plan to go to grad school and eventually pursue a career in medical research.