Over the past three weeks, as the Carrboro community has started adjusting to social distancing and online learning, CHS administration has pressed a need for self-care. In the weekly email sent out by Principal Beverly Rudolph, one slide was devoted to “Balancing Mental Health” and included advice such as journaling, meditating and reading. As a student who’s spent the larger part of the last four years practicing a routine that benefits my mental health, I’ve gathered a few more tips for students who are struggling with self-care.
Keep your environment clean
The first piece of advice is to try and keep your environment clean, meaning you should be making your bed every day and cleaning up after yourself. Just because we aren’t in school doesn’t mean you can slack off. According to a study by Dr. Randall Bell, making your bed in the morning can boost your mood and improve productivity. In a time where it’s hard to focus on work, making your bed is a small accomplishment at the beginning of the day.
Work on your routine
Something I’m sure many students have heard from their parents, teachers and administration is to establish some sort of routine that resembles the daily school routine. Doing so is extremely helpful, but if you truly aren’t in the mood to do so (which is completely understandable), at least do one part of your school routine. Whether that involves skincare, listening to music or making breakfast, any aspect that feels normal will help. Once you’ve adjusted to that, slowly add in another factor.
Clean up, even during social isolation
Just like a normal school day, it’s important that you practice regular hygiene. Always change into a new set of clothes, even if it’s just into another pair of pajamas or athleisure, this will also put you in an accomplishment mindset. Try to shower at least once every two days; physical hygiene is important, and this will help you maintain a sense of normalcy.
Do something active
My next piece of advice is something I’m sure everyone is sick of hearing, but it’s extremely important: do something active every single day. That doesn’t mean you need to do a hardcore workout every day, but I suggest going on a walk, playing with your dog or going on a bike ride. This leads to my next tip: go outside at least once a day. Spring has just begun, so enjoy it and spend as much time as you can outside.
In online classes, build your motivation
Now that online classes have started, it’s important to begin readjusting to a learning setting. Try and do as much of your classwork as possible each day, again, this will reinforce your accomplishment mindset and help you feel positive about your days. As a second semester senior, I understand the lack of motivation currently, but try giving yourself a 20-30 minute window to finish work for each class you have. That being said, by 4:00 pm, set down your work and take the rest of the day to relax.
Connect with others
During this extremely isolating and lonely time, human contact is more important than ever. Texting is great, but let’s be honest, it’s not as fulfilling as seeing people in person. If you and your friends are allowed, go on walks or sit outside (six-feet apart) on a regular basis. However, if you aren’t able to do that, make the effort to call or video-chat with friends at least once a day.
Junior Dhara Buebel discussed the true importance of different aspects of self-care during the past few weeks.
“We have so many things we can think about and worry about but if you practice self-care it’s hard to think about those things because you have something else to focus on,” Buebel said in an email.
Self-isolation and quarantining is an exceptionally complex position to be in, which is why it’s increasingly valuable to take care of yourself and those living with you. For people who are already struggling with their mental health, the upcoming weeks and months will undoubtedly be difficult. I hope that the advice I’ve given can help you add some semi-normal practices into your day that ease some of the stress of our current situation. Remember, we are all struggling with similar fears and concerns, you are not alone.