Let’s face it — 2020 treated everyone like Thanos treated Wanda in Marvel’s Endgame. From being unable to celebrate milestone events properly to spending eight hours or more staring at a screen, 2020 took a lot from everyone. Those working or completing classes from home find themselves exhausted from the annoyances of what once remained in the outside world spilling into their safe havens — their homes. Even more optimistic students like myself found themselves burnt out after three semesters online. Things certainly appear a little more blue than normal, especially if you don’t own a pair of blue light glasses. How do you take care of yourself in such a gloomy point in time?
First things first — remember that this too will pass. The pandemic will not last forever, and while it may change things, sometimes change isn’t bad.
However, the hardest part remains how to get through the difficulty of the present. How do you take care of yourself mentally while juggling classes, work and other responsibilities? Many professors believe that because students can complete assignments from home, they can assign 20 discussion posts, papers and quizzes. Fortunately, a lot of my professors this semester seem to understand that burnout and offer opportunities to do the work at your own pace. I found myself with too many papers due on the same day and decided to reach out to my professor. Thankfully, he extended the deadline for my paper, which gave me a little cushion. Thanks, professor!
Outside of all those dreadful weekly papers that seemingly want to push me under, I found a few escapes from reality. Of course, anyone who knows me knows my love for reading. Stocking up on books ranging from historical fiction to fantasy (my absolute favorite genre), I spent the first summer without any obligations reading. From morning to night, I spent every second outside in the sun with a good book. I even started my own Bookstagram, managing quite an impressive following, if I do say so myself.
The hole left in my chest after not seeing my English Squad during class filled slightly with our hilarious conversations and PowerPoint nights. From memes about novels we read to wild PowerPoint topics, my lovely and intelligent friends helped ground me. We even managed a much-needed socially distanced trip to Barnes and Noble during the warmer weather!
Celebrating my 21st birthday, however, kind of left me feeling blue.
Despite my wonderful family making it as special as Covid-19 would allow with a drive-by, delicious cupcakes and balloons that scared my cat (sorry Buddy!), I never imagined spending my 21st birthday at home. Not partying it up in person with the people most important to me felt weird. But my friends hosted a Zoom call for me and we drank the night away while playing Among Us and Cards Against Humanity.
But even these fantastic Zoom calls with friends began to exhaust me — combined with schoolwork and not physically seeing friends, my mood only took a turn for the worse when I actually tested positive for Coronavirus thanks to my job. My family worked so hard to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines and restrictions, yet we still got it.
Fortunately, my family and friends regularly checked in on us, making sure to stock us with the necessities to get through our quarantine. Coming out of practically a month of quarantining, in addition to a year of staying home and not seeing friends or family, my outlook on life changed. I plan on doing things that scare me, excite me and help me grow. In addition, I plan on focusing more on my mental health by engaging in activities that make me feel good.
It definitely seems hard staying mentally present in difficult times. That’s why I recommend having things to look forward to, so that they might help you get through these pandemic and academic blues.
Marvel’s WandaVision releases episodes every Friday — watching the episodes with my mom first, then later on with my friends makes the end of every week so much better. After WandaVision finishes, Marvel scheduled the release of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. What I’m looking forward to the most? Loki’s release in May. Oh, and my graduation too.
My family and I also began taking walks after dinner. Not only did it allow us to spend time together as a family outside of the house, but we got some much needed exercise and Vitamin C. Spring and warmer weather come soon, please!
After surviving the coronavirus, I try to apply the advice my mom always told me — life is too short, so enjoy it while you can. That’s some pretty good advice, if I do say so myself.