Nearly a year has lapsed since COVID-19 spread throughout the world, and it seems difficult to imagine how things used to be without masks or social distancing. Given the challenges of the pandemic, it’s normal to be struggling, either with school, mental health or even just finding the energy to go on a walk. However, while it seems like there isn’t much hope for pre-COVID normalcy to ever return, focusing on the little things that incite any non-negative feeling is an accomplishment that we should be proud of.
I’ve been burnt out since last semester. It’s slightly better to be in new classes this semester and taking a lighter course load, but I still feel exhausted and overwhelmed. I know many of my fellow students feel the same way, but what choice do we have? Most of us don’t want to—or don’t feel like we can—take a semester off, and all of our classes are still online.
Not to mention, we have to find and engage in internships, jobs and other extracurriculars on top of all that. While some of us have moved to Cleveland and are with friends, some still live all around the world, and it’s tough not having the same college environment we were used to. While I think most of us have adapted to our situations, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re still dealing with a lot in our personal and academic lives.
One thing that has kept me sane is remembering to take care of myself, whether it’s cooking a nutritious meal, 30 minutes of watching Netflix or just anything that doesn’t fill me with dread. And while I certainly don’t partake in fun activities every day, it’s better than nothing.
It shouldn’t just be me doing the little things to keep me grounded; it should be all of us.
Appreciating and being grateful for what we have or can accomplish, especially the ordinarily mundane activities, is something we all could use a little more in our lives. It’s easy to focus on all the negative things not only in our personal lives, but also in the world around us. When I read that the U.S. had reached the “milestone” of 500,000 dead from COVID-19, I was devastated.
I started to feel my anxiety set in, and that fact gnawed me for a couple of hours. But eventually, I was able to keep it at bay by watching “Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir.” Yes, it’s a kids’ show, but it’s somehow able to bring a smile to my face, no matter what. It’s things like this that I can find a bit of joy in, even though the world may be crumbling around me.
I also appreciate my friends, something which I’m sure many of you can relate to. I was lucky enough to move in with one of my friends this semester, and even though we barely leave our apartment, I’m thankful I can be with her.
I also enjoy watching “Love Island,” a very trashy and entertaining reality TV show, with my friend in California. Those weekly FaceTimes brighten up my day, no matter how awful it was otherwise. Being able to spend time with my friends, even online, are moments that I cherish.
And if you feel like you can’t appreciate or find joy in the little things, that’s okay too. We’re all doing our best to get through this pandemic, so it’s understandable and relatable to not be able to find joy or comfort in our everyday lives. Nonetheless, this pandemic has taught me that finding joy in the little things, whether that’s FaceTiming a friend, watching a 20-minute kid’s show, or even buying yourself Starbucks, is crucial.