By Tahsin Abedi
You made it halfway through an online semester in the midst of a global pandemic. Congratulations!
However, one needs to acknowledge that being stuck at home doing zoom classes all day is not easy. Especially with everything being online, it can be easy to forget to take a break and not know when to stop, often leading to a burnout. Therefore, I am here with 20 ways you can take a break from studies, all from the comfort of your own home!
- Clean your environment. If you’re going to be stuck in a place for a long time, keeping that area nice and tidy is imperative to staying focused and being productive. Doing little things like picking up the trash, changing the sheets, doing the laundry can really help you get going. Here’s1 a satisfying cleaning video to get you motivated!
- Declutter and reorganise. Living in a cluttered space can affect your mental health and decrease your productivity. A clean room is a clear mind! Take this opportunity to go through your belongings and sort out the items that are expired or those that you no longer use. This can be the stationary in your study desk, seasonal clothes in your closet or even the food in your pantry. Move around your furniture and freshen up your living space with a new look! You don’t have to do it in silence either – check out our Ledger Playlists for some exciting playlists to get you in the cleaning mood!
- Read a book that’s not a textbook. This is the time to take out the book that’s been sitting on your shelf for the past few months. Make yourself comfortable and create a cozy environment for you to read. Make a cup of tea or coffee, light some candles, cozy up with some blankets and get ready to immerse yourself in your imagination! This is a great way for you to take a break from the Internet and technology, especially at times like these when the news and media can get quite overwhelming. A physical copy is especially helpful when you’ve been looking at a screen for the past couple months for online school. However, there’s plenty of online books that you can read from the McGill library collection if hardcopies are not your thing!
- Listen to a podcast or an audiobook! If reading a book isn’t really your thing, try listening to one! Audiobooks of all genres can be found online, so you’re sure to find something that you like.
- Learn something new! It can be learning a new language (download an app like Duolingo to learn on the go), a new instrument or relearn the old instrument that you haven’t played in a while, or even a popular TikTok dance!
- Pick up a hobby. Try out different crafts and see which one best fits you! You can choose from embroidery, cross-stitch, cube paper craft, beadwork, finger knitting, calligraphy, painting, sketching and so many more!
- Solve a puzzle! If you’re missing the puzzle table in McLennan, this is the time to get one for yourself and get those problem solving juices flowing!
- Try your hand at gardening! Since you can’t go out, why not bring the outdoors inside? Houseplants have been proven to improve your mood, lower stress and anxiety and even help your skin by improving air quality! I may or may not have bought nineteen plants this quarantine to keep me company and can totally vouch for the above! You can even make plant babies from your original plants! Here’s how to propagate existing plants and be on your way to having your own indoor jungle!
- Have an indoor picnic. Set up a picnic blanket, make your own DIY charcuterie board, set the mood with some candles and some wine, and voila!
- Have a spa night. It’s time for some self-care, baby! Put on a DIY face mask, run a warm relaxing bath and give yourself that extra attention that you haven’t been able to due to all these deadlines. Take the time to really pamper yourself, give yourself a pedicure, paint your nails and catch up on some much-needed me time!
- Connect with your loved ones. Being by yourself can start out as fun but quickly end up as isolating and can adversely affect your mental health. Even though you can’t meet your friends and family in person, take out the time to talk to them either via phone call or video chat. Even playing with your pet, if you have one, can significantly help your mood! If you don’t have a pet, here are some cute puppy and cat videos for some much-needed serotonin.
- Watch a movie or TV show with friends over Netflix Party! If you don’t have a subscription, don’t fret; make use of McGill’s huge collection of movies and TV shows on Criterion!
- Take an online cooking class. Michelin star chef Massimo Bottura launched a free cooking series called Kitchen Quarantine’s. Learn how to make delicious Italian entrees and desserts here!
- Play online games with friends. There’s a plethora of games out there that you can play as a group online to get you started. Among Us is quickly gaining popularity. Download it here.
- Do a home workout! Just because we’re indoors doesn’t mean we can’t exercise! Take care of your body and find a workout that best suits you! McGill Athletics now does live workout videos online. There’s also HIIT videos or even Dance workouts on YouTube! If you need the extra motivation, try working out with a friend!
- Meditate. Serenity seems pretty hard to come by right now but you can breathe a sigh of relief. Here are some apps for guided meditation that will help you reconnect with yourself and get grounded. MORSL has several resources too to get you started!
- Practice Yoga! Sitting at the desk all day, working from home really isn’t doing any wonders for our premature back aches. Doing yoga will not only stretch out those muscles, but also improve breathing, strengthen your body and help clear out your mind. The Wellness Hub has virtual programming especially for yoga. Here are some yoga studios streaming yoga classes online. You can also download the Down Dog App on your phone!
- Take a virtual museum tour! So what if you can’t actually go inside a museum? Many museums around the world are offering virtual tours and here’s your chance to visit these museums all in the comfort of your living room!
- Explore McGill’s Digital Exhibitions! You can also tour world heritage sites and royal castles and palaces online!
- Do nothing. Fit in time to rest and catch up on sleep. Listen to your body and remember to take breaks when you need to.
Most importantly, be kind to yourself. We are going through unprecedented times and it is okay to feel overwhelmed. Remember that you can always reach out for help.
- McGill Wellness Hub is now providing virtual services
- McGill Office of Religious and Spiritual Life
- Free, 24/7 Access to Mental Health Support
- Peer Support Centre
- Eating Disorder Resource & Support Centre
- Sexual Assault Centre of the McGill Students’ Society