This quarantine has been rough. You probably feel a little stir-crazy. You feel cheated out of a spring semester that was about to be the best yet. You’re worried about finding your next job and what your plans after graduation will be. You see your friends on Instagram and wish that you could be back with them on campus going to class, partying together, and making memories that will last a lifetime.
Now that’s all gone and you’re back at home trying to figure out online classes. Most importantly, you’re trying to figure out your family again. Maybe there is a lot of drama in your household. This may be frustrating and stressful because it feels like you don’t have control over anything.
But you do.
If you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated or depressed the number one thing that you should do is reach out to a mental health professional to start a conversation and begin to heal yourself. You can find those resources here.
In addition to professional support, here are five tips to help you feel less stressed and get more excited about your bright future:
Think about what your next adventure is going to be and start to plan it out.
This is going to look different for everyone, but when you think about your adventure it should excite you. A few examples could be planning a summer trip to see your sorority sister who lives in Ohio and throws a wild 4th of July bash with her family. It could be exploring a big city like San Francisco with one of your best friends (obviously once the quarantine is over). Maybe it’s backpacking through South America with a few of your buds. It can literally be anything you want, but it should give you butterflies of excitement when you think about it.
Brainstorm all the things that actually interest you.
When you started out college you might’ve just picked a major because well, that’s what your parents told you to do or because one of your friends picked that major and it seemed like a safe choice. Well if this quarantine has taught me anything, life is unpredictable and nothing is guaranteed. So be true to yourself! What do you really like? What subjects excite you? Which classes do you actually care about? Let yourself explore your feelings and really get in touch with what you enjoy. Steve Jobs once said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
Research an organization you want to join when you get back on campus.
And double bonus points if you pick a choice not to boost your resume, but because it sounds fun. Seriously though, you’re young and have your whole life ahead of you. Now is the time to start to have an impact. Find an organization that brings out your passion in you and dive in head-first. Remember, you are a part of the next generation of leaders that will mold and shape this beautiful country, so get started once you’re back on campus.
Do something different this week that sounds fun.
It could be anything! Maybe instead of eating dinner with your family at the dinner table, you all sit outside for one meal this week. Maybe you plan a game night with your friends over a Zoom call. You could plan a unique meal to cook for anyone who you’ve been thinking about. The idea is to do something out of your regular routine that brings you enjoyment.
Start doing that thing you daydream about but are maybe too scared to start.
It could be putting together videos for that YouTube series you’ve thought about. Maybe it’s creating that hilarious TikTok video. Or it’s starting that business from the business plan you put together in your entrepreneur class. As you read this, you know what it is you want to do. Stop thinking about it and start creating! Don’t let your fears hold you back from creating things that make the world a better place. And don’t worry about it being perfect; you’ll get better as you create more. Zig Ziglar advised, “You don’t have to be great to start, you just have to start to be great.” Take his advice and start now.
This quarantine most likely has changed your routine, forced you off-campus and caused unneeded stress. But you don’t have to let this situation stress you out anymore. Bring more fun and excitement into your life by taking these five actions. And as always, you can reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on IG @zach_westerbeck. I am Mental Health First Aid certified and would be happy to talk through how you are feeling and direct you to professional help if that’s what you decide you need.