So for the last few months almost every student at Ryerson has been doing their lectures, labs and group projects remotely. This means waking up minutes before a lecture begins, dragging your laptop onto your bed and taking notes in your PJs. At first this seemed like an absolute dream and it felt that way in the beginning, didn’t it? But now that we’re half-way through the first semester and still tied to our laptops, we’re finding ourselves a little blue either because of loneliness, unsureness of the future or general disappointment. The online learning environment is not exactly conducive to a stable, positive, happy mood, but here are some things we can do to make sure we stay in good spirits well into our final semester in quarantine.
1. Establish a daily routine
Even though our bedroom is now our classroom, we still have somewhat of a schedule where we need to be available to participate in online lectures and tutorials. Your class schedule is the perfect framework for planning the rest of your day. Studies have shown that those who follow a consistent routine experience better mental health and lower stress levels. Planning your day out the night before even if all you have on your schedule is classes can be a great way to keep a consistent routine and will prevent you from falling into the existential hole of “what am I even doing with my life?”. Plan to have lunch with a friend, walk your dog, read a book, watch a movie or TV show, work on a creative project and write it all down in your day planner! It’ll make you feel accomplished before you even do anything!
2. Snack often
Do you get hangry? Since most of us are now doing our classes from home, we’re also cooking our own meals and yes…opening the fridge about ten times more often than we usually do. If you have several classes back to back, planning your meals in advance will be crucial to keeping your brain and mood in top shape. The key is to make sure you eat at least every three hours (especially if you’re one of those people who get moody when they’re hungry). Research has shown that there’s an undeniable connection between low blood sugar and mood disorders. This is where snacking comes in! Have easy to grab snacks at your workstation like trail mix, protein bars and apples. And yes, eating a bag of doritos is better than nothing at all, but you will find that foods like beans, whole grains, low-glycemic fruits like berries and protein sources like nuts will keep your blood sugar from going out of whack due to the fiber content. Just because you can’t grab a bagel or a snack from the vending machine doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep snacking at home!
3. Stay off the gram and talk to real people instead
We all know that prolonged scroll sessions on Instagram or any type of social media for that matter, puts us in an uncomfortable, spaced out mood, it’s even been proven through scientific studies showing that prolonged usage of social media can lead to a negative mood and obsessive comparison against those around you. It can be discouraging to see all of your friends “thriving” through the window of their Instagram filters and start thinking that you’re not where you should be. Posting on social media is fun but scrolling mindlessly is not only damaging to your mental health, it wastes precious time you could be using to do something a lot more fulfilling. Save your scrolling as an occasional treat and instead fill your time with chatting with friends online (even through text), getting together with friends face-to-face, watching a movie you’ve been dying to see, listening to a podcast, reading a book you’ve been putting off or…doing schoolwork! Some of it is actually kinda fun!