What is today? It is Saturday or Wednesday? Have I showered or brushed my teeth within the last 24 hours? When did I last wash these pants? You might be asking yourself these questions right now. Don’t worry, no judgment. We get it.

In all seriousness, if you’re like most of the world right now, you are attempting to manage life on lockdown. COVID-19 has turned every aspect of our world upside down, including our interaction within the Concordia University community, our teaching, and our learning. So, while you’re debating whether or not you should wash the pants you’re wearing right now (do you have another pair?), or brush your teeth (you should), consider these five strategies to maintaining your sanity as a student during the COVID-19 crisis.

Maintain (or establish) a regular routine.

It’s tempting to let go of your schedule while living back at home and attending class virtually, but doing so isn’t going to help you stay focused or feel productive. Maintain your normal wake time and bedtime (unless you’re a student who is normally up all. night. long.). Use this time to establish a normal sleep routine and stick to it. You’ll also want to maintain a healthy diet and exercise. It is recommended you get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day. Struggling to find a routine or schedule your day? There’s an app for that! Strides (among many others) helps you track your goals and habits with reminders to help you build your routine.

Stay connected socially.

While the current COVID crisis is keeping us from physically interacting with others, there are still creative ways to stay connected socially with friends and family. Social connection helps sustain our mental health and prevents social isolation. Check the weekly Falcon Flyer for Concordia-sponsored virtual events that are open to CUW students. Or, plan something for your and your friends. The app, Houseparty, allows you to play games with others virtually, among other features. Host or join a virtual lunch date through Zoom or Facetime. You can also explore a Netflix party or a watch party on Facebook. With all the technology at our fingertips, connection is easy today, but, sometimes, nothing beats snail mail. Bust out your stationary, try to remember your cursive, and send a note or a card to your friends and family to show them you’re thinking of them during this time.

Use university resources.

Departments at CU have transitioned their services to be delivered virtually. If you’re finding a subject challenging, make sure to check out the Academic Resource Center (ARC) services to schedule a tutoring session. The ARC is also continuing support for students who qualify for accommodations. Registration for continuing students will be opening soon as well. Make sure to visit with your advisor in the coming weeks to discuss your 2020-2021 academic schedule. You may also be interested in revisiting methods to protect your mental health during lockdown, as well as some strategies for virtual/online learning.

Think about the future.

Utilize this time to focus on some long-term projects you were hoping to accomplish. The Center for Academic Advising and Career Engagement team is excited to help you make sure your resume is in top shape for your chosen field. That way, you can be the first to hand it in because it’ll already be the best. Don’t forget to spend some time developing your LinkedIn profile and applying for jobs through Handshake. To begin connecting with other professionals in your area, check out professional networking organizations like NEWaukee while you’ve got the time! Recently, I visited with members of NEWaukee to talk about maintaining professional well-being during a global pandemic (yes, it’s a shameless plug).

Have a laugh.

Research indicates that humor can improve our health, as well as productivity. Take some time to watch a comedy, joke with some friends (socially distant, of course), or take to social media where there’s no shortage of funny memes. Lightening the mood and stepping away from your schoolwork from time-to-time will help increase your productivity and focus.

All these strategies are God-given processes for you to help you deal with everything that’s going on. But, even if these don’t seem like they’re enough, or you’re even looking for more, you should always keep in mind that Jesus is bigger than COVID-19.  Jesus is greater than this virus or all its effects. And in all this uncertainty, fear, and potential insanity, He speaks a word of peace and joy to you because of what He won for you on the cross. He will see all of us through until He returns. Until then, stay sane, stay safe, and help those around you as you’re able. And brush your teeth.

—Elizabeth Polzin, Ed.D. is Assistant Vice President of Academics for Student Success and Assistant Professor of Graduate Education at Concordia.

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