“It’s OK to Struggle Right Now” by Jakob Warren

When my friend reached out to me to vent about her inability to get schoolwork done due to a depressive episode, I totally understood where she was coming from. Let’s be real: the Coronavirus has taken a toll on all of us – it’s been a struggle learning to adapt to this new situation, and the struggle has been particularly stressful for college students. After all, most of us were not included in the CARES relief stimulus check, and now we’ve made our way through the beginning of a particularly unusual and confusing semester. What I’m saying is: we’re all poor, stressed and maybe even a little discouraged, and most of us aren’t seeing our closest friends – I think it’s perfectly OK and normal to succumb to a depressive episode given the world around us.

Now, don’t get me wrong, depressive episodes are no joke, and being sad is neither fun nor cool. But in these times, we deserve to give ourselves a chance to be patient and compassionate toward one’s self, including giving ourselves the chance to grieve or process. It’s OK to admit that you’ve lost something this year. So, if you’re reading this, and you’re somebody who isn’t performing at your best, whether academically or even mentally, here are my few (but impactful) tips to restore some sort of sense of normalcy within your day:

Take a walk, barring technology

I’ve been doing this one more and more recently. When I think back to pre-quarantine, I was usually the type to wear headphones when I walked to a class or an event – it didn’t matter where I was going. I know many people are similar, so I suggest dropping the headphones and keeping your phone in your pocket on a 10- to 15-minute walk. Explore the world around you, listen to the people and things that are present and observe people or things you normally wouldn’t. This gives you a chance to rejuvenate your senses and clear your mind, which would have been a rarity during pre-pandemic life.  

Start a bullet journal – prioritize your time

This is BY FAR one of the most useful and advantageous things I’ve picked up during quarantine. I ordered this $9 yellow bullet journal from Amazon and followed this simple bullet journal tutorial I found online. How incredible! I find that this has single-handedly altered how I sort my tasks, assignments and other deadlines. The coolest thing is that you can fully customize the bullet journal to however you like. This gives me a small but relaxing creative outlet, but more importantly, it inspires me to keep journaling my tasks!

Clean your space

I’m sure you’re aware of this one, and I’m going to tell you about it anyway: a clean space makes for a HAPPIER you! Seriously, especially if you’re in a melancholy slump, the best thing you can do is turn on some music or a Netflix show (background entertainment) and tidy your space. You’ll look around after and just . . . ahh yes.

Dress up like you’re doing something important. Or don’t.

This one is always changing for me, and it’s interesting how much your appearance can affect your mood. On one hand, I enjoy being comfortable in my home, but it’s a level of comfortability that somehow makes me uncomfortable. Okay, well, maybe not uncomfortable, but I do certainly feel out of place sometimes, and you can probably relate. Putting on a dressy or flattering outfit has a certain . . . je ne sais quoi about it that motivates me to get my day started, ensuring I continue to do things throughout the rest of the day.

And that’s it! I hope that this blog was useful or at least comforting to you. These times are weird, but we’re in this together. By adding some of these tips into your day, you can prepare yourself for being a better ‘you’ once all of this is over!

Jakob Warren is a senior majoring in journalism and communication studies and the current VP of Public Relations for Scripps PRSSA. Follow him on Twitter @urljakob

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