It can be very isolating to have our entire lives shifted online, and even more difficult to mentally cope with seasonal changes as a new school year starts. 

Photo by Kristina Tripkovic via Unsplash

With post-secondary institutions focused primarily on online learning, part-time jobs, and extracurriculars going virtual, while also being restricted from seeing loved ones, one can most definitely struggle with their mental and physical health.

Here are some ways to cope physically and mentally with the isolating restrictions of the pandemic:

  1. Taking care of your hygiene is taking care of yourself. Wash your face, take a shower, brush your teeth, detangle your hair if you can. Being clean and looking put together can help you feel better even if only by a little. 
  2. Along the same lines, clean your bedroom, bathroom, and living space as a whole – clutter can greatly contribute to anxiety. 
  3. Be mindful of what you eat – the food we consume can directly influence our mood.
  4. Reserve 30 minutes to an hour of your day exercising if you are physically capable – either by doing yoga, running, joining an online Zumba class, or by going to the gym or to a dance studio following COVID restrictions.
  5. Find a friend to hold you accountable for keeping a routine including self-care, and exercise. 
  6. Practice learning and doing something completely unrelated to school or work – learn a new language, read an unassigned book or article, watch a film, or a series of your choice for your own pleasure, watch a Master Class on a topic that interests you, etc.
  7. Stay social – video chat with your friends and family when you feel lonely – chances are, they’re feeling the same way and weren’t sure if they should reach out.
  8. Reach out to people in your program and/or at your workplace, and ask them how they’re coping – sometimes hearing others’ experiences and struggles can make us realize we’re not alone in how we’re feeling.
  9. Go outside (following health and safety protocols) if only just to breathe in some fresh air. It can really be a mood booster.
  10. If you live on your own, have the means, and are allowed pets – strongly consider getting one – caring for one can motivate you to take care of yourself. 
  11. Watch/listen to/create art in whichever form it may take. 
  12. Be easy on yourself. Your main concern should be to stay healthy and safe. 

With all of that said, just because we’re often stuck inside, does not mean that we can’t look after ourselves by taking care of our mental and physical health, and if you need help – please reach out to your peers, to professionals, or to a local helpline.