Welcome back, U of T! I wish you all a happy 2022 and an amazing year ahead <3
We’re starting this semester online – some of you may be happy and some of you may be not. To be honest, instead of using “happy” or “sad,” I feel like “scared” is closer to how I would describe my emotions when I first heard the news.
My experience with the first lockdown that occurred in early 2020 was devastating: I was separated from my family, and I didn’t see anyone for at least 6 months because school was online. I was staying with a family friend, so I had no reasons to go out to run errands or do anything else. Almost 22 hours of my day was in my own room.
Obviously, my mental health took a hit, and it was the first time I felt that it was hard to stay positive. Which is why, I guess, my immediate reaction to online classes and then the lockdown announcement (announced early January) was the feeling of fear of what would happen to me.
Looking back, I realized there were things that I did routinely to find positivity during a difficult time. I am practicing these activities again, and thought I could share them with you all as well.
Exercise / Yoga / Meditation
I tried meditating a couple of times, but I haven’t succeeded yet. Still, you can always try it! There are 5 minutes meditations on YouTube 🙂 I really like doing yoga though, and I was able to get into a workout routine. I grouped these three together because I feel like no matter which one you pick up, it does good to your physical, emotional and spiritual health.
I journal to pour out negative emotions. So, a lot of my journal entries are written when I’m crying, when I’m overwhelmed, when I’m angry/frustrated/annoyed… you name it. Some people journal regularly to find gratitude (you know: write three things you’re grateful for) and a lot of them do it daily. I only journal when I need to. Do whatever you’re comfortable with: there’s no “right” way to journal.
Playing music in the background
Silence can be powerfully scary. I like to have music in the background. Usually, it’s to cover the silence and the loneliness. There are so many playlists on YouTube and I’m sure you can find that makes you feel a bit joyful for the day.
I just want to also let you know that you’re 100% not alone in feeling lonely. Please reach out to someone if you’d like to talk or reconnect. Who knows if they’re waiting for someone to reach out to them?
Writing a to-do list every night
Write a to-do list every night!!! This is very important, especially if you know that you’re going to be mostly staying in your room or in one place. It makes you feel motivated with a purpose in the morning.
Online classes and a lockdown give me the illusion that I have massive amounts of time when I actually don’t. It’s dangerous to me because I’m more likely to procrastinate. I feel bored, overwhelmed, demotivated and then stressed about my emotions, my work and myself. It’s a bad cycle. Staying grounded is important.
No matter what it is for you, find a way to stay grounded and maintain balance in this challenging time. I wish you all the best in the next few weeks and I know we can get through this.
Your 24/7/365 Mental Health Support & Resources
Navi: Your Mental Health WayFinder chat tool: http://uoft.me/naviuoft
U of T My SSP: Call 1-844-451-9700; if you’re outside of North America, call 001-416-380-6578. Download the app: http://uoft.me/mysspuoft
Good 2 Talk: call 1-866-925-5454; https://good2talk.ca/
U of T Mental Health Website http://uoft.me/mhresource
Stay safe, stay healthy!