Wow, man.

This is something almost none of us could have foreseen. Okay, there was definitely someone who called it a week early, and they should definitely tell me their bets for the Kentucky Derby when it’s finally back on. But I went on record saying “[UR] would never do something like that; I don’t think you have to worry,” seconds before the email was sent out announcing that classes were moving online. 

COVID-19 is a global issue that’s difficult to comprehend, as we have nothing to compare it to that’s happened in our lifetime. Much of the public reaction can seem like overkill or media hype, but hundreds of lives are being lost every day.

Now that I’ve repeatedly punched you in the face with these depressing facts you already know, here’s how I’m coping with the feeling of being smaller than everything in life right now.

Wake up in the morning. Like before noon. Even if you can watch all your lectures after the fact, it’s important to maintain a semi-regular sleep schedule that resembles something you would typically have on campus. 

Eat. It doesn’t have to be three square meals, but care for yourself. It can be really easy to neglect good food without the social aspect of meal times most college students are used to. You could even make a ritual out of sitting down after your 3 p.m. lecture to watch some YouTube with a  snack, but it’s important to create a habit of it, and stick to some sort of schedule.

Shower regularly. It seems simple, but honestly, it can be easy to excuse a four day stink marathon if you aren’t leaving the house, and if you have no reason to actually get dressed. Try making a routine out of this, too, like doing it right before you sleep, or after you wake up. 

Allow yourself leisure time that isn’t sitting on your phone. Entertaining our stupid monkey brains so they don’t think too much about what’s going on outside is important. Your phone is fairly ineffective for helping distract you, since it’s probably constantly notifying you of articles and tweets and TikToks and angry Facebook posts about COVID-19. Go play video games. Make origami. Paint!

Go outside. Alone, mind you — we are still in government-mandated isolation. But the fresh air will do you good, and so will moving around. 

Call your friends. If not daily, at least every few days. While you shouldn’t see your friends in person, humans are social animals. It’s important to be able to actually speak to people beyond texting. 

Try and write down new important information — on paper, in a Google Doc, Notes app, anything. This will help you keep everything straight and allow you to actively reflect on it. Everyone is getting constantly barraged with information on what their personal futures hold, and it can be difficult to recall things without sifting through 75 new emails.

A lot of this seems basic, but as we all scramble to find and adapt to our new normal, it’s important to stay grounded. Being thrown into a situation none of us expected can be scary and confusing. This weirdness will pass, and things will go back to being the odd twilight zone of college soon enough. But while we’re home, try to embrace your freedom to create beneficial habits while you really need them. It’s important to take care of ourselves mentally and physically. Making new routines and maintaining them will not only keep you occupied in the short term — it will keep you sane in the long term.

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