Calling 2021 a clean slate would be disingenuous given how stress, societal upheaval and a pandemic cannot be erased by yelling “Happy New Year!” However, it is not without hope. There are small habits within reach for all of us that can improve our quality of life and provide a sense of control.
Keep things in perspective!
No year is without bad news, but spending hours doomscrolling through your Twitter feed will improve nothing. Try setting a time limit on your news fixation, and focus on unbiased, direct reports rather than mile-long argumentative threads. Separate this year from its predecessor by trading clickbait and a perpetual sense of doom for a clearer head and more free time.
Trying to keep your deadlines straight can be as overwhelming as the news. Stressing over Canvas and Google Calendar notifications can demotivate you and contribute to a screen-time headache. A physical calendar or whiteboard might be the solution. By combatting those deadlines with a practically portioned schedule, you will feel a sense of control instead of dread in regard to getting things done. Plus, you’ll get a sense of satisfaction from physically crossing out your tasks as you complete them. Dismissing a notification simply cannot compete.
Get a life!
Did you pledge to host weekly Zoom meetings with friends at the start of quarantine, but let the habit go as time passed? Finding time in your schedule to be
social can pose a challenge, but the benefits are countless. Let 2021 mark the start of renewed efforts to stay in touch with those you have drifted apart from during the pandemic. Look for co-op video games, start a virtual D&D campaign or host an online book club! Inspiration for keeping things fresh is endless, and you will be rewarded with a stronger feeling of community and something to look forward to each week.
If you’re living on campus for the spring semester, reach out! Safely, of course. If this is your first time setting foot on campus, remember many students feel just as new and nervous. If not, now is the time to catch up with old friends about winter break. Ramapo’s campus offers plenty of spacious and beautiful spots for bonding without violating social distancing.
Feel good as you do good!
2020 brought gloom in many forms, from Zoom fatigue to quarantine isolation. This negativity can leave you listless, with no desire to do anything more than binge Netflix or take a nap. This year, be more mindful of what you do. Go on walks outside when the weather is bearable. Take stretch breaks between your classes. Put on your favorite music and dance! Anything that gets you moving can have a lasting effect on your mood.
Working to make a difference during 2021 can bring a sense of control, inspiration and mindfulness. Look for opportunities to help others, from tutoring to offering a listening ear. If you are eligible to give blood, set up an appointment as the pandemic has made donations critical.
There is a future!
COVID-19 knocked everyone for a loop in 2020, but a team of worthy opponents has entered the ring this year: vaccines. Check your state’s website to ensure you and your family are registered on the list to receive them. Continue to wear your mask, follow recommendations from the CDC and remember to breathe. Better days are approaching, and you have the power to meet them.