Small hacks for staying in a *better* headspace while we're all quarantined.
When all my classes moved online this semester, I was struck with relief. I rejoiced at the idea of forgoing a lengthy daily schedule of commuting to campus by train, sitting in stuffy classrooms, and camping out at the campus library until I finished my assignments. It was only a week later, during a newly-online Korean lesson, that I noticed a common trend in the answers I gave in our warm-up exercises:
“그 시간에 뭘 했어요?”
(What did you do during that time?)
“집에 쉬었고 영화를 많이 봤어요.”
(I rested at home and watched a lot of movies.)
“뭘 하고 싶어요?”
(What do you want to do?)
“밖에 돌아다니고 싶어요”
(I want to go outside)
Everything centered around staying home.
But, what else did you do? What do you really want to do?My teacher was looking for a new answer; a bigger variety in the verbs I was conjugating. But there wasn’t anything left that came to mind.
This continued as I approached my work in my other classes. I found it hard to think creatively when I encountered problems, and unexpectedly, I also found that I was in a less positive headspace than I normally am.
It then dawned that I’d slipped into a rut; I fell into a new routine I hadn’t taken the initiative to plan for myself that centered primarily around the increased time I was spending in my house. But I now intended to find a way out, even if I was limited by place and space.
Here’s what I started doing:
I took a walk
It’s easy to get stuck in a particular headspace if you’ve been in the same space for a while, but taking a walk is a good way to clear your mind and see something at least slightly less familiar -- birds flying, squirrels climbing tree trunks, anything. Here are sometips on how to stay safe while taking a walk.
I brought the outdoors indoors
If the weather hasn’t quite warmed up where you live yet, or you’re uncomfortable with going out, even opening the window makes a huge difference. It changes the atmosphere immensely and acts as a subtle reminder that there’s a world outside of your bedroom that’s dynamic and lively.
I cleaned up my room
A cluttered room is a cluttered mind. It’s harder for me to focus on tasks if the second I look up from my laptop all I can see is a stack of papers I’ve put off organizing since the semester started. Cleaning up any visual reminders of disorganization has led me to organize my thoughts a lot better.
I ate healthier foods
It’s easier to feel bogged down if you’re eating unhealthy foods, whatever that constitutes in your diet. But thinking about and making the foods that keep you energized or excited to eat makes a huge difference. Even cooking at home is a great way to get the creative juices flowing and think about the flavors you want to taste. If you are able to, try experimenting with a new dish today!
I made time for self-care
This is a huge one. Pretty much every example I’ve listed so far constitutes self-care, but it’s super important to take the time to really understand and care for yourself and your needs, especially in more stressful situations. Whether that means taking a bath, applying a face mask, or spending an evening on Houseparty, a service that allows group video calling, with your friends catching up, it’s good to do (and prioritize) the things that make you feel relaxed or happy.
I broke my work up into smaller tasks
Large projects and assignments can be daunting and seem nearly impossible to approach, but breaking the work into smaller tasks can make it significantly more manageable. This even works in a creative sense: writing one plot point rather than breaking down the whole fictional world or sketching a part of work, rather than taking on the whole canvas.
I diversified the content I’m consuming
Lately, I’ve been branching out with the genres of shows and movies I’m watching and seeking a real sense of adventure in them. I want to see the foods people eat in different countries, learn about diverse and distant ecosystems, and follow the quests of unlikely heroes in fantastical worlds. Seeing these new perspectives has served as such a source of inspiration when I’m surrounded by so much of the same.
During a time where we’re advised to stay home and are stuck seeing so much of the same news, it’s so easy to fall into repetitive patterns of thinking and behaving. But for me, taking the time to take care of my needs, decluttering my thoughts, and actively reminding myself of the world around me has really shifted my perspective and helped me recenter myself. This has boosted my creativity level loads and led me to perceive my situation more positively.
WRITTEN BY Addie Joseph Baruch College in Manhattan
After earning her ears at Disney, Addie moved on to study Journalism, Creative Writing, and Photography at Baruch College in Manhattan. She is interning for Macmillan Learning as a Student Ambassador, but in her spare time, you can find her tucked away in a café, crafting stories or editing photos and videos, with earbuds fixed firmly in her ears. Don’t be afraid to interrupt and say hello; she always enjoys meeting new friends (and perhaps indulging them with music recommendations too)!