#CentennialTips on Seven Things That Might be Causing Your Bad Mood (and How You Can Fix Them)
By now, many students have started to adjust to studying from home. But even if you think you’ve adapted to how things are, it’s still easy to feel sad, frustrated or depressed if you’re not taking care of yourself. Self-care is particularly important right now, when we’re all learning and working from home. It’ll help you stave off anxiety, panic and fear, and also help you to be the best version of yourself you can be. Centennial College is here to help with plenty of resources and supports during this time. Outside of that, here’s what else might be dragging you down and what you can do to fix it, sourced from CNBC, Forbes, Healthline and ZDnet.
The biggest problem with learning from home is feelings of isolation and loneliness. The network of people you know has shrunk, especially since a lot of the smaller interactions with people you don’t really know have dropped off. One advantage of working or studying at home is that you have more flexibility when it comes to time to connect with people. The challenge is that you need to find new ways to connect, like social media, texts or instant messaging. Try calling your friends by phone, voice chat or something else, and they can do the same. Hearing your friends’ and family members’ voices will make you feel more social, more connected to people, and less lonely. Remember: Other people are in the same boat.
Staring at the same four walls can be a drag after a while, and it can bring you down. Fortunately, there’s no danger in going for a walk outside, so long as you stay remain two metres away from others. Going for a walk is an easy way to help your mental and physical health, even if it’s just for ten minutes. You can even just sit outside and soak up the sun (and get some crucial vitamin D). It’s the fresh air, sunlight and natural environment that will help you de-stress. It’ll change your scenery, too.
Not taking care of your physical health
When you’re not on campus, you’re a lot less physical. There are no classes to walk to or buses to catch. Instead, you spend a lot more time sitting and lounging, and this affects your body and your mind. The easiest way to help is to make sure you stand up and walk around every 30 minutes. Even if you’re just going to the kitchen to get a drink (or a healthy snack), taking micro-breaks, where you walk around, will help. And needless to say, if you have an exercise in mind, take a crack at it.
Not protecting your boundaries
When the barriers between work and home break down, it can be bad for your mood. Maybe you can’t get work done because you keep getting distracted by life. Or maybe you do too much work and feel like you’re living on-the-clock all of the time. Both are bad for your mood, and the solution is to enforce boundaries between your work and the rest of your life. Making a consistent schedule is one way to do it; for example, having specific studying and schoolwork times, during which no one is allowed to bother you – and when they’re done, school isn’t allowed to bother you. Two different kinds of “do not disturb” are an important part of this.
Not giving your sleep the attention it deserves
In the U.S., studies show that only 10 per cent of adults prioritize their sleep, which is a problem. It’s simple enough: When you’re tired, you’re cranky and your anxiety rises. We already wrote a long piece on this. But to recap, avoid using electronics right before bed, don’t use a ton of stimulants, and create a good, quiet sleep environment.
Too much bad news
The good news is it’s easier than ever to stay informed. The bad news is that the flow of information about the pandemic coming at you can be overwhelming, especially because so much of it is unsolicited. To improve your mood, know when to switch it off. It’s not like you’ll be ignorant. Two of our students, Maria Torres and Harminder Saini, spoke to us about it in the past, and talked about the need to not focus on the numbers, only look at reputable sources, and most importantly, take no more than an hour to scan the news each day, even refusing to check things people send you when you’re “off the clock.” And be sure to check out Centennial College’s own Covid-19 coverage for a succinct summary of how it will affect you as a student.
Focusing on your lack of choices
One of the biggest problems with Covid-19 is how much control a lot of us have given up. Good mental health comes from a sense of control, and having choices removed can be a bad feeling, even disorienting. So instead, focus on what you can control. Guard your time, your sleep, your work habits, the sequence of events in a day, and your routine. Even planning your breaks can help you feel a sense of control over your time. It’s normal to feel a bit off these days, and it’s okay to have an occasional bad mood. Hopefully, by taking steps to lift your mood, that negative emotion will no longer be the default.
Written by: Anthony Geremia