8 ways to stay sane while staying home

"Mixed Emotions" by Sara Myers

By Kyra Pooley

Everyone handles new experiences differently.  When the world suddenly goes into panic mode during a global pandemic, it can be hard to know how to respond and what to do. 

Regardless of what you’ve been up to, it’s been about 2 weeks since schools began switching to online learning and most college students are starting to go crazy staying inside around the same people all day. Here are some tips from students on what they’ve been doing to stay sane in this unprecedented time. 

Get creative

1. Cook or bake something new

This especially applies to those of you who stockpiled a bunch of food when things started getting serious. About now, most of what you haven’t eaten is probably starting to go bad. Rather than throwing everything away, find a recipe that uses those foods.

Flagler College junior Lillie Crawford was faced with this dilemma when all the bananas she bought last week started turning brown. Instead of trashing them, she made banana bread and was also able to use milk and eggs that were also close to their expiration date. “It felt good to create something that my family could enjoy instead of wasting it,” said Crawford. 

2. Switch up your look

If you’ve ever wanted to change your look or style, but haven’t felt bold enough, now’s your chance. You won’t be seeing anyone for weeks, maybe months. So go ahead, do it! Give yourself bangs, dye your hair blue, buy that funky outfit. It’ll probably look cool and even if it doesn’t, no one will be around to care.

3. Paint

Painting is something anyone with hands can do. Even if you’re not very artistic, there is no better time to learn something new than when you’re stuck inside all day. St. Augustine-based artist and Flagler College senior Sara Myers said that for her, “painting really helps as a way to relax and distract myself from all of the chaos that’s been happening.”

For inspiration or to buy art to decorate your home (now that you’re stuck there), check out her website: https://whoizsm.bigcartel.com/

Relaxation and staying positive

4. Netflix!

This is probably the only time in your life that you will be able to help yourself and others by staying in your home and not doing anything. Why would you want to waste an opportunity like this?

The new Chrome extension, Netflix Party, works great and allows you to connect with friends and loved ones while keeping up with your favorite shows even if you’re not physically together.

5. Practice self-care

Doing things to improve your body and mind is a great way to relax while trying to maintain a positive outlook on the situation. Whatever self-care means to you, now is when you should be maintaining these habits more than ever.

If you don’t have one, create a skin care routine for yourself and stick to it.  Even if you have perfect skin, it still gets dirty and having built this into your schedule will help your days feel more structured in such a chaotic time. 

6. Meditate

Meditation is proven to reduce stress, control anxiety and promote emotional health. Sophomore Katherine Stephenson said that meditating has changed her life. When she first started, she “would look up beginner videos on YouTube and just went from there.” It is something anyone can easily do from home.

Now that Stephenson has built meditating into both her morning and nightly routine, she has found that “when skipping it, I don’t sleep as well.  My thoughts are more intense especially now that I’m stuck at my house all day.”

The apps Calm and Headspace are another great place to start. They both offer free trials for those who just want to try it out before diving deep into the world of meditation.

Tips for productivity

7. Brush up on your technical skills

If you’re a part of the COM Department, take this time to practice and get better at using Adobe programs like Photoshop and InDesign. Through the in-app tutorials, this is something you can do by yourself without having to be on campus.

Being able to navigate Microsoft Office with ease is huge no matter what department you are in. If you are not comfortable with basic applications like Word, PowerPoint, or Excel, Flagler students get free access to all of these.  When you’re bored at home and have your laptop nearby this is something you can figure out relatively easily on your own.

Check out OnTheHub for information on how to access Microsoft for free and get access to Adobe Creative Cloud discounted at over 60%

8. At home workouts or yoga

With most gyms around the country now closed, YouTube has become a surprisingly helpful replacement. You can tailor your searches to find videos that target the specific area of exercise you’re interested in.

If you’re not really into building muscle or getting super sweaty, yoga is the best way to stay active in your own home. Aside from getting your body moving, it can decrease stress, relieve anxiety, improve mindfulness and some studies have found that yoga can help fight depression. SarahBethYoga on YouTube posts awesome videos for any level and is a great place to start if you’re a beginner.

Most of all: Whatever you do, stay home. Do it for yourself, do it for your grandparents, do it for those with compromised immune systems.  Do it for the more than 4,000 people who have died and all those who have been infected in the U.S. already.

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