Being a college student in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is tough.  When I think back on my college years, the images of fraternity parties, concerts and classes in large lecture halls come to mind.  For most college students today, these experiences won’t be happening any time soon. Many of you are back in your bedrooms at home, taking classes online and talking to friends on Zoom.  It is not the college experience you envisioned.  But you can still create some great memories despite not being on campus and improve your wellbeing while at home.

Take advantage of being home

For many students, being “trapped” at home can feel like a prison sentence.  But this can be a time to take advantage of all the wisdom and skills parents have to offer.  You can plan for the time you will move on campus by learning necessary skills for living on your own.  Try learning how to make that favorite family recipe or simply learn how to scramble eggs.  Ask how to check the oil on the car or change a flat tire.   When both of my daughters were forced to move back home due to the pandemic, my husband took this time to teach them about financial investing. They set up mock investment accounts and had a contest to see who could make their investments grow the most.   As I remember, my youngest daughter won.   

Learn a new skill

Have you ever wanted to play the piano or learn how to speak French?  What about planning a trip to Machu Picchu?  Yes, you may not be able to go for a while but preparing a trip takes research and planning.  The time you take to do the background work will help once COVID-19 is a thing of the past.  If you find yourself always relying on social media as an emotional distraction from the monotony of everyday life, put down your phone and pick up that guitar that is sitting in the corner.  Research shows that learning a new skill can reduce boredom and increase motivation.

Take care of yourself

There are three basic components of staying physically and emotionally healthy: exercise, healthy eating, and sleep.  So even though you feel stuck in your house, you can stay active.  Take time to go for a walk (when the weather allows) or find an online workout video.  Avoid spending too much time snacking on junk food and make sure you are getting enough fruits and vegetables.  Enlist your family to help create healthy recipes and snacks.  Learning to eat healthy will only benefit you when you are back on campus. And lastly, make sure you are getting enough sleep.  Set a schedule for when you plan to go to bed and when you will wake up each day and stick to it.  Make sure to stop using all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before going to bed.  This will help settle your brain and improve the quality of your sleep.

So don’t focus on what you are missing being off campus or stranded at home.  Focus on what you can do to make the most of your time.  It appears that the US is months away from returning to normal so find ways to make the best of this new normal.  

If you find that you are struggling with worry or sadness that feels overwhelming, please reach out to a parent, friend or ask for help from a professional like me. I am here to help.

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