It’s no secret that the current state we all sit in is anything but familiar to us, especially as college students. Our classes have moved to an online platform, graduation ceremonies have been canceled and incoming freshmen are not even able to attend freshman orientation in-person. I know it can be difficult, so here are five things I have been trying out to help combat the stress and boredom that has come with self-isolation!
Pick up a new hobby.
Being in a self-enforced isolation can be extremely draining emotionally and physically. When we first started going on lockdown, I felt immediately out of energy and motivation to do anything that was not 100% required. I was taking long naps daily on top of sleeping in until noon and I didn’t feel productive in the slightest bit. I decided to finally try some new hobbies and after going down a list of some that didn’t keep my attention fully, I finally came across one that was just challenging enough for me. I went on to Amazon and purchased an at-home nail dip set. I will admit that I used to go to the nail salon at least once a month to get a fresh manicure. It was something I saved money for each month and made sure I put time aside to go into the salon and get a manicure done. This is the one thing I did routinely to feel like I was at least a little bit put together. For some reason, having my nails done helped me feel a bit more prepared to tackle whatever tasks I had to complete that day. It was a bit difficult to catch the hang of when I first tried the at-home kit, but after a few tries, I finally have a manicure that I’m pleased with and keeps me going! I would recommend checking the reviews of each kit and being patient with shipping if this is something you might look into as the shipping and processing times are delayed right now!
Implement self-care into your routine.
I will be the very first to admit that my self-care game prior to the COVID-19 pandemic was not incredibly strong. I would get so stressed about time-management and making sure that all of my work was completed before even checking in with myself mentally. However, since I started hunkering down with my family and dogs, I learned pretty quickly that self-care was what would keep me semi-sane if I would continue to be in the same place basically every moment of the day! I started with small steps by setting a timer for two minutes when I washed my face. One of my favorite aesthetician influencers, LA Beautyologist (The Golden Rx on Youtube), actually has a method about how washing your face for a minimum of 60 seconds with your hands and a good cleanser will change your life. Sure enough, she was totally right! This change not only helped my skin, but made me feel like I was really practicing self-care and making sure I was taking care of myself during this time. It’s amazing what kind of changes in our productivity we experience when we start taking care of ourselves on a deeper level. On top of that change, I now do routine face masks, steam sessions and will even do a scalp oil treatment similar to what a masseuse does during a massage treatment. It has been nothing but positive and I don’t see myself ever dropping this routine, especially when things go back to a sense of normalcy. If you start small and really try to form a habit for these small tasks, you won’t regret it and I’ll even let you thank me for it later!
Pick up a new book.
Even if you’re not a big reader, I truly believe there’s a special type of book for everyone. If you don’t enjoy reading a lengthy novel, maybe taking on a small personal growth book is more your style. Maybe this is something like the Intern Queen herself, Lauren Berger’s books, which are absolutely amazing by the way! Another option is audio books. Now, before you ask if audio books are still only on a CD you play in a car, time has long changed. There are several services that offer audio books! Amazon has a great service called Audible that you can easily access from your Prime account and have basically any book you can think of read to you by a narrator. If reading is challenging on a motivation level, I would encourage you to look into a virtual book club. One that I like to follow is Reese Witherspoon’s book club (https://hello-sunshine.com/book-club) and following her monthly recommendations. It can sometimes be easier to pick up a book and feel enticed to read it when you know that someone else is following the same timeline. If you want more of a structured book club with strict timelines and routine meetings, your solution might be one simple Google search away!
Get yourself organized.
Whatever it is that you’ve been thinking could use some organizing lately, now is the perfect time to do it! I recently organized my schoolwork because I felt like I needed something extra to keep me on track while my university was transitioning from in-person to virtual classes. I have always kept a physical planner with me and followed it religiously. However, my habit of following and checking my planner wasn’t as constant as it was prior to self-isolation. I think this may be because I wasn’t pulling it in and out of my backpack before and after my in-person classes anymore. I knew I needed some changes to help me truly adapt to this big change! I did the general decluttering of unnecessary paperwork that I no longer had a reason to keep around and made sure I kept my online documents in a folder according to the class they went with. However, this is what I added on that I feel has improved my time management this semester! I went through all of my revised syllabi and created a document using Microsoft Excel for each class. I followed the color coding I used in my planner prior to the transition when deciding on a design factor of the document. I listed out each assignment, when the due date was for each, what module it was included in and any other necessary information. I keep this in a binder with the rest of my class information and I cross each assignment off as I complete it. This is also a great way to keep track of your grades without having to go back and forth between your Canvas or Blackboard Grade pages.
Go on a geocaching adventure.
I remember geocaching with my family and our neighbors when I was younger during our summers and it is something I imagine I won’t forget for years to come! If you’re unfamiliar with geocaching, think of it as a secret community scavenger hunt. Different users on the Geocaching app will create their own hidden treasure in spots around neighborhoods, parks, shopping centers, trails and more! The whole goal is to track the geocache from your phone based on a general pinpoint and to sign your username on a sign-in sheet attached to each cache hidden. On the app, you will be able to decide which cache to track based on the level of difficulty, the terrain in which it is hidden and the size of the cache itself. The app will also show you a clever description with clues and qualities of the cache as well as the most recent activity that the cache has had. While most cache’s can be spotted with minimal physical touch, you’ll want to bring your own pen or pencil to sign the visitor’s sheet that most caches have. Just be sure to bring your hand sanitizer to use after touching the cache if you decide to!
About the author: Savannah Stratman is a third year student at Arizona State University studying Tourism Development and Management. She loves all things DIY, pink and on a podcast! You can find her on Instagram @vannahstratman and on YouTube (www.YouTube.com/savannahstratman).