By Cali Cooper
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered our lives in countless ways. Many counties in Texas are instituting Stay Home Work Safe or Shelter in Place orders to prevent the spread of the virus. Though staying home is the best option for our physical health, many of us are feeling the effects on our mental health. Staying cooped up inside for weeks at a time sounds pretty dreary, and it can be for many.
Coronavirus is the topic of just about every news channel, Twitter timeline, and Facebook wall. I talk about it with friends because of the way it has affected our college experience and lives, and it is the main thing talked about on my Twitter timeline. The trending topics have had something to do with COVID-19 for the past five weeks. It feels hard to escape it even for a second. After all, it is a pandemic and it is reshaping our world. It makes sense for it to be everywhere. But, taking in so much information can become overwhelming. I recommend taking a step back from your phone, laptop, and the news and breathe for a second. Here are some things you can do while you take that breather:
Avoid Social Media.
Even getting off Twitter and Facebook for a few hours can make you feel a lot better. Like I said previously, social media is consumed by COVID-19 news. Just logging off or putting your phone down can do wonders. Start that new show on Netflix that you’ve been meaning to or watch that new movie you’ve been wanting to see forever.
Staying at home gives us a lot of free time to start reading. I, for one, have had some books that I’ve been wanting to read for months, but school took up all that time. Now, since classes are moved online and all student organizations’ programming is canceled, I started to read some things I had been waiting to read for months! A lot of bookstores are having some good sales! Right now, Haymarket Books, a non-profit bookstore based in Chicago, is having a few good sales on some essential reads by authors such as Angela Y. Davis and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.
Start learning things you always wanted but haven’t had the time for.
Try something new or find a new hobby (that involves staying inside)! For example, I have been wanting to learn how to sew for years, but, sadly, I’m always busy doing something else. This break has allowed me to finally start what I wanted to for forever and I’m finally learning thanks to YouTube. YouTube can be essential for finding and mastering a new hobby. You can watch some how-to videos on knitting, embroidering, skating, taking photos, cooking, decorating, and most likely whatever you’re into!
Video call dates with friends.
Not being able to see my friends has probably taken the biggest toll on me because I usually see them everyday. The next best thing is a video call or group video calls. It’ll almost be like you’re hanging out again! Plus you get to talk to them and see their faces again.
Take a hike.
Sometimes we may really just want to get outside of the house, but it is a hard feat since we need to avoid coming into contact with other people. One of the best things to do is to take a hike to finally get some fresh air. There usually aren’t many people around (if there are make sure to stay 6 feet away), so you can be free to enjoy the outdoors.
One thing that this pandemic has shown us is that the world is very fast paced. Now we have the opportunity to step back, take a break, and breathe for a bit! When school was out for two weeks, I had free time to do just about whatever I wanted (indoors). I spent a lot of time thinking critically about the world, reading, sewing, skating, and catching up or rewatching some of my favorite shows. During this time, it is hard to tell what the world surrounding us will look like in a few weeks or months, and worrying makes sense. Everything around us is changing, and it may be hard to keep a level head. Some of these tips may help us cope for a bit while we experience this major world shift.