These days, a lot of us feel anxious because of the pandemic, but we’re all doing the best we can with what we have. As we slowly but surely transition into blended or online learning, we also have to realize that this change could affect our well-being. People assume that studying from home is easy, because we no longer have to wake up extra early, wear our uniforms, or get to school before the bell rings. But we live in very uncertain times—and in a health crisis—no less.
Still, we're marching on, and we're learning to adapt. So it’s really important that we take care of ourselves. After all, tending to our physical, mental, and emotional needs while we do online learning is important, too! Below, some tips I find to be very helpful on how you can practice self-care at home.
Sleep early and follow your bedtime.
Without the premise of having to wake up early for school, it becomes harder for us to hit the hay at a reasonable time. But having enough sleep allows our body to recuperate and store enough energy for the next day. I use apps and listen to ASMR podcasts to help me fall asleep by 9:00 P.M. from Sunday to Thursday and 11:00 P.M. or midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. This is how I train my body clock around our new routines at home.
Open up to parents, siblings, or teachers and friends.
I know opening up is hard, especially now. Everyone's carrying added weight, which sometimes, we don’t want to acknowledge. However, my sister told me that it's very important to validate your own negative feelings when they arise. Sure, we may not all be close to our moms and dads or siblings, but it helps to let them know when you're having a hard time.
My sister, who was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) taught me the importance of sharing our thoughts and feelings with family because they should be our main source of support. If you can’t open up to them, reach out to your school's guidance counselor, adviser, or your best friends. Talking with people who care about you will help you acknowledge the negative feelings you have, so you can resolve them together. In the midst of this pandemic, it’s important to try to reach out to friends through calls or chats.
Meditate upon waking up.
The first thing I do once I open my eyes in the morning is to blink several times, check my phone, and close it again. Yes, you read that right. Before I close my lids again, I play self-meditation videos on YouTube, and listen to the audio as I breathe in and out slowly. This conditions my brain to wake up naturally, and sets me up to think positively throughout the day. There are tons of meditation guides that last for five to ten minutes to help us realign, and remove our anxieties as we begin the day.
Drink lots of water and snack frequently.
Keeping ourselves hydrated is very important. Drinking water helps regulate our temperature, and allows us to focus; while healthy snacking gives us enough energy to fuel long days.
Take your eyes off the screen and stretch.
Staring at the computer monitor for hours and being on camera for our virtual classes can be physically draining and emotionally taxing. We are flooded with so many images and that our brains get overstimulated and overwhelmed. I try to take my eyes off the screen every once in a while to stare outside my window, or the wall of my bedroom. In between classes, I like to stand up and stretch, walk to the living room or kitchen, and breathe deeply before going back into my studies.
At the end of the day, count your wins, and reward yourself.
Before heading to bed again, I write down all the things that I did in my journal that I consider "small wins." This helps me identify the things I'm grateful for in life, and it inspires me to accomplish more for the next day. It's a great way to put myself to sleep after a long day and as a reward, I usually drink tea or give myself a few minutes to do the things that I like, like listening to K-pop or doing paint by numbers.