Pandemic PAUSE button: How I changed my thinking to improve my College experience
This year has been a challenge for everyone around the world, in a multitude of ways. I can’t necessarily speak to the problems that have arisen for others, but I can talk about my experience. I am heading into my junior year at St. Lawrence University, a semester I didn’t know if I’d get to experience. And to be honest, I still won’t really know how I will attend or not attend school. College is such an informative and crucial time of life. It’s a rite of passage. My classmates and I have had to mourn the loss of our lives as we knew them. We lost our connections with our professors and friend groups, canceled sports games, and on-campus festivals are a thing of the past. These activities and routines are so essential to our experiences. But here are!
In March, I returned from spring break and found out I would be completing the semester online. At first, I was kind of excited, not going to lie. College online means I can sleep in (and in my own bed), and be with my family and dogs! That excitement lasted for about a week. Then, reality set in. It wasn’t long until I found myself starting classwork at 2:30 in the afternoon (which also happens to be my sleepy time). I wasn’t motivated to get much done. After a few days of lacking luster, doing the bare minimum, and binge-watching my current Netflix series, I decided I needed to do something.
Here are a few Tips from the Trail from Josie:
1. Add novelty and fun into every day. I started with something small. I make chocolate chip cookies or muffins. It gives me something to do and well, who doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies. Then to offset all the cookies I was eating, I decided I’d do my schoolwork until ten and then go work out.
2. Create routines. And, work out! Exercise is a mood elevator. Working out motivates me to find things to do for the rest of the day. I started to read (and drool) recipes by various food bloggers, and then I’d make their sweet treats or entrees. It was so much fun! And my parents enjoyed the constant fill of treats around the house. It wasn’t long before I found myself learning new things. I began painting, turning old jewelry into unique jewelry, and reading (and re-reading) all the books on my bookcase. When it got warmer out, I spent a lot of time sitting on the deck reading or taking long walks into the woods with our new puppy!
3. Explore new ways of finding joy. What I think has been the most impactful about this experience is that I’ve had the time and space to explore new things I wouldn’t usually have been interested in doing. Boredom really can take you to some fantastic places. At first, we didn’t know what to do with ourselves, and sometimes it was stressful to always be around your family. Finding new activities was my escape, and then when I could be outside, that was my escape.
4. Be outside as much as possible. I found I was much happier when I kept my mind and body engaged throughout the day. I grew up in the great outdoors. It’s where I feel the most grounded and clear about who I am as a human being. It’s not about doing, it is about being.
Let’s allow ourselves time to mourn the lives we once called normal. And at the same time, celebrate the fact that we are still alive! We can even find normalcy and joy in a world of chaos!
PS: Hold loosely to outcomes. Read more here about how to live mindfully in the present moment.
Peace and good health to you, Your Emotional Sherpa.®