Although apart, technology allows now to stay connected. Using the internet to talk with family and friends can be very refreshing. If you are tired of Zoom meetings and all online chats feel like work, you can differentiate the experience of chatting with friends by using different applications from the ones you usually use for work. Leave Zoom and Microsoft Teams for work and perhaps use other software for meeting friends. It may help to create the illusion of separating work from life.
TIP: Although social media can be a great way of staying connected try to stay away from doom scrolling. If you notice that your social media use is causing more harm than good, it is ok to disconnect from time to time, even when in lockdown.
Explore activities and hobbies, be creative!
Of course, sometimes you may not feel like talking and want to do something by yourself. There are many activities to try! Online resources have made starting a new hobby much more accessible. For example, I like drawing and have started exploring different styles and sharing them on Instagram. It also sparks ideas for new projects 😊.
Some hobbies you might want to give it a go are:
- Cooking and baking: Seems like during lockdown everyone became interested in doing their sourdough starter and banana bread. Spending time in the kitchen became more necessary than before. I can understand why it became popular. There are many resources online, and once you start learning how to cook, it can be quite gratifying. Some people enjoy communicating with others by sharing what they have done online.
TIP: Even though it is tempting to eat as much as you can, remember to try staying healthy. Drinking plenty of water and having a balanced diet within the available possibilities are great to feeling overall better.
- Crafting and art: Similarly to baking, an outlet for creativity can be doing arts and crafts. These activities can include lots of hobbies like crochet, knitting, sculpting, drawing, among others. These mediums are a good way of expressing oneself. Furthermore, looking at tutorials and diverse art forms can open your mind to other ways of thinking and even inspire to create your own narrative. I have heard of people learning new skills like crocheting and drawing and then finding ways to better visualise scicomm and even their own dissertations!
- Video and Music: Streaming services are offering lots of content to watch and listen! With lockdown, streaming services have only increased. Many companies are offering these services for small payments (sometimes discounted for students), or even free of charge. They are now also constantly adding new material. Furthermore, the lockdown has severely hit movie theatres attendance, moving new releases to online platforms.
- Books and Comics: The library at the University can provide you with an option to borrow a book and try something new. Novels and other forms of storytelling can be great distractions as well as offer inspiration to create things ourselves. You can also search at their website for ebooks.
Of course, books are not the only written media to enjoy. You can also read webcomics and graphic novel. Many of these resources are free of charge. For example, Webtoons has a large library of comics of different genres and by creators from all around the world. These comics have been formatted to be read on a mobile phone. Some include interactive elements, music, and animation. Webtoons and other forms of graphic storytelling provide a more engaging and relaxed read for people (like me) who like to combine writing and visual elements.
- Exercise: Taking a walk from time to time is a great way to refresh your mind and body. Challenges like “From couch to 5k” are a great project for beginners. You can also do exercise indoors following a routine. There are many resources online you can check for a more targeted workout.
TIP: These hobbies don’t have to be solitary. You can connect online with people with similar interests. Meet Up is now providing online options and some societies at the university are offering the chance to join online gatherings. A common hobby can be a great ice breaker!
- Gaming: Online gaming can provide a great way of connecting with others. Although I am not very knowledgeable of games, I noticed titles like Animal crossing becoming very popular, and many of my friend chatting online about their progress. Games can allow more interaction with other people and the story you are following. With the high number of titles available, there are multiple options for all tastes!
Overall, remember that all these activities are supposed to be fun. They are sources of relaxation and enjoyment. You don’t have to occupy every waking moment you have with a new activity. You don’t have to always be “productive” Sometimes taking time to rest and recharge is the most important thing. Remember to take it easy and take care of yourself. It is easy to lose track of why you started a hobby in the first place. However, in many cases, the purpose is not to be productive or to excel, but to have a good time. If you notice that something you are doing is causing you more stress, or becoming an unhealthy habit, it is ok to stop or take a break to reassess. You can also always ask for help. The University has many resources including the Welfare Team which can assist students who find themselves wanting to talk.