At home coffee shop - little things to stay mentally healthy

Bringing the coffee shop home: how i learned to cope with a worldwide pandemic

This worldwide pandemic has shifted our way of living, working, and keeping up with our social relationships. I struggle to navigate through all of these adjustments. It’s been hard on me and my mental health, and I’m sure, on many of you too. How to keep up with uni work isolated in your bedroom whilst also trying to keep close contact with your friends that you once upon a time saw daily and who now feel so far out of reach.

The world situation has forced us to change everything, and without anyone to relate to, it’s nearly impossible to cope. Since March (yup, it’s been 6 months already), my drive has gone up and down like a rollercoaster. One day I feel like I should take this opportunity to start doing things for me, and the next thing I know, I just lay in my bed wondering why all of this still matters. Then I decided to buy a bullet journal to get creative, yet once I got to page 10, it felt useless again. I tried so many things to keep on going. I started puzzling instead of watching Netflix and did a fitness challenge (no originality there, but can you blame me?). still in the end, I always end up thinking, what’s the freaking point of this…

Truth is, we have to adjust to this new normal because we’re probably never returning to the old ways. The sooner we accept it, the sooner we can take baby-steps to make life a little lighter every day. Now that we are a little freer, think about small things that used to make you happy or that you took for granted but you now miss so incredibly much and try to incorporate it into your pandemic-life. One thing I LOVED was going to coffee shops meet with friends, read or get work done. So, from time to time, I buy a croissant, make myself a delicious cinnamon cappuccino, or even bake a cake. It’s about the little things that just take a little more time in your day, but that make it a little more enjoyable and keep you mentally sane.

Another thing that has helped me so much these past few months is taking some time for self-care. This can sound so superficial… let me tell you: it’s not at all! It turns out that mental health is often neglected. It’s all about knowing when your resources are running low and acknowledging it. If you feel down, don’t brush it off, your feelings are valid! 

A lot of us, when dealing with these issues, use unhealthy coping mechanisms, and I certainly am guilty of this. I tend to inhale my weight in cookies, cheese, or chocolate.  There are many different healthy self-care ideas, but they’re not universal: what works for me might not work for you. Let yourself cry when you need to and be in touch with your emotions instead of ignoring them. Hold a pet in your arms and feel its tender, dance your heart out to your favorite songs, whatever works! Better mental health improves your physical health, increases productivity, and enhances self-esteem!
Picture of me illustrating mental health

In addition to all the mental health problems Mr. Corona has brought to light, procrastination has also become very prevalent. I’m at university and had to pursue my classes online and still do. For people that are not used to work from home, it’s a tough adjustment to make. How should we not be tempted by pretty much anything else than working? Sorry to disappoint you… like you, I don’t know the answer to this. However, I’ve come to learn some best practices to make the process go smoother.

First and foremost, I install work hours. I plan to start at say 10 in the morning and stop at 5 in the afternoon. This way, I separate work from leisure time. I try to refrain from working on my bed because I tend to get very sleepy and distracted. As a matter of fact, your brain associates your bed with sleeping. So, when you’re working in bed, you’ll have a hard time to stay awake and concentrate. In the same vein, I try to dress up every day as if I’m physically going to campus. This as well changes my mindset. When I’m in my pj’s, I’m more prone to watch Selling Sunset on Netflix than to get work done. Lastly, I like to change locations, so it doesn’t get too monotone.

Work at home desk

Obviously, we all work differently, it’s all about being self-aware and trying things that work for you. This is not a “one-size fits all” kind of thing. Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t expect all of it to work instantaneously. It’s a work in progress for all of us!

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