pensive woman in front of the windowHappy New Year! How about that ride end? Right now, I’m sure your timelines, feeds, and notifications are flooded with sentiments of “new year, new goals” or messaging telling you to make changes in your life to become better. Let me tell you, ending the year in one piece is an accomplishment. You have juggled virtual classes, Zoom calls, and an increased workload all while mentally trying to deal with the pandemic. Therefore, it’s okay to not be okay during the pandemic. So, sit back, relax, and throw on some Sade (if you don’t know who Sade is…you better ask somebody) while I share some tips that have helped me keep from completely unraveling.

Journal your way through the pandemic.

During the beginning stages of quarantine, I became very anxious and felt as though my mind was going a mile a minute, and it was difficult to shut my brain off at night. The quarantine forced me to self-reflect and allowed me to look deep within myself. Self-awareness gave me the ability to understand my emotions, strengths, weaknesses, values, and recognize the change I was undergoing. Journaling helped me reflect the most and allowed me to really sit with my emotions which helped reduce my stress and anxiety. Overall, journaling can help facilitate a space for you to vent your emotions, clear your mind, and become better able to focus and track your personal development.

Play music from a happy time in your life.

Another thing that helps me stay sane is listening to music, more specifically music from my playlists of nostalgia which includes songs that I listened to in high school. For example, to this day, Avril Lavigne’s “With You,” is a bop and don’t @ me. Likewise, rewatching my favorite TV shows, movies, series, etc. can help control your emotions when it feels like everything around you is falling apart. When I rewatch shows it helps put me in a good mood and I can reminisce on the good old days.

Leave the house and focus on self-care.

I learned the importance of self-care and how to maintain a healthy relationship with myself. During the summer, I felt an overwhelming sadness, the kind only Lana Del Rey could imagine. For that reason, I made a greater effort to walk outside every day and get out of the house. There are several different ways to focus on self-care whether it’s emotional, social, physical, spiritual, etc. Each plan will be unique to you, and that’s the beauty of it. Self-care is an important activity to do, so schedule a time to focus on your needs.

Validate your feelings.

Through this entire pandemic, it’s okay to be optimistic about the future and feel sad at the same time. It was important for me to normalize it and address my mental health. On the days I feel sad, I allow myself to feel those emotions, and recognize what I am feeling is valid because it will help me heal and move forward. Besides, you’re doing great, sweetie!