If there’s a phrase that best describes life at the moment, it’s ‘monotonous uncertainty’. The future seems foggy and ever-changing, with the only stable factor being the apparent bleakness of the months to come. Plans seem to disappear, the job market has all but evaporated, and everything we talk about is prefaced with ‘if we’re allowed to then’; ranging from post-exam pints to years abroad
1.Take it a day at a time. The classic advice all your friends give you after a particularly sad break up rings true now, in Coronavirus times. Obviously, trying not to think about it isn’t a catch all to dealing with uncertainty, but it definitely helps. Try to make sure that how you feel today is your main priority. You don’t have to make the pandemic into an inspirational journey of self-improvement, where you master three new hobbies, write a book and start a charity – you’ve just got to take care of yourself.
2. Don’t believe everything you think. We all have a tendency to catastrophize, thinking about the worst-case scenario until any hope we had has shriveled up. Last March, I read a broadsheet article about how in 2021 cash transactions would be illegal and the government would track your phone location to figure out who you’d been in contact with. Even though this has blatantly not happened, it still crops up in my mind from time to time, stressing me out about all the ways the pandemic could change the way we live. For me, the best way to deal with this is to act as a conscious check on my own thoughts, and debunking the silly ones when they come up, to stop me getting disaster burnout
3. Help where you can. There aren’t many things we can control at the moment, so it’s important to feel like you are helping where you can. You can volunteer to deliver food and medication to isolating or shielding families, or work at a testing or vaccinating center – whatever makes you feel like you’ve got some control over the virus in your community.
4.Get creative. 2020 was definitely the year of new hobbies, from needlecraft to baking sourdough, and there’s no reason that should stop this year. Looking at something you’ve just made yourself truly does keep the existential dread at bay.
5. Go with the flow. Being a student is a kind of interlude in life – between the strict schedule of school and the strict schedule of a 9 to 5 job, and this is the most extreme version of that. Although I bet everyone would prefer a return to precedented, certain times, and would like to never receive another coronavirus update from the university, uncertainty is just a part of our life for the moment. Focus on the little things rather than the big picture. Life naturally ebbs and flows, so just roll with the punches and look after yourself, physically, mentally, academically and creatively in as many ways as you can.
Image credits: Alfcermed via Pixabay