covid-19 break

Spring break is supposed to be a relaxing time, but as I stared despondently at the Delta website and canceled my plane ticket to New York, I realized I’m going to have to get creative with my relaxation methods in the upcoming week. With an alarming increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States, many students’ plans might also change. Here are six ways to have a productive, relaxing spring break while prioritizing personal and others’ health through social distancing. 

6. Clean your house

For those stranded in their dorm rooms, there might not be much to clean up. For students who live in apartments and houses, there is most likely more to do — especially after the semester, flooded with increased deadlines, midterms and other projects. Washing the dishes and vacuuming can be meditative activities to distract oneself from the current state of the world, and the result is a clean space to hopefully put a mind at ease. Cleaning also offers a chance to listen to podcasts or return to beloved sitcoms on Netflix. 

5. Make a new playlist

There’s nothing quite as relaxing as curating a new mix of your favorite tunes. While this activity might not take long, there are endless combinations to help kill time. Getting those creative juices flowing will surely provide that needed spark of dopamine. A recent playlist of mine is the perfect balance of beautiful and melancholic, so I at least feel more dramatic staring out the window at the morning fog with only my plants to keep me company.  

4. Venture out of your comfort zone

This is a broad category, so fill in the blank with whatever floats your boat and steers it away from the turbulent sea of boredom or existential dread. A new experience could include cooking with new recipes, picking up that coloring book that’s been stuck in the clutter of your desk or exploring a new side of yourself with a new hairdo. If the latter activity ends with a disastrous result, no need to fret; you most likely won’t be seeing anyone for a good long while, so your hair has time to return to normal. 

3. Meditate 

Another, perhaps healthier, way of coping with stress is to take up meditation. The Calm app offers a free week-long trial and endless choices for breathing exercises, bedtime stories narrated by celebrities and relaxing soundscapes. Falling asleep might be hindered by anxious thoughts, especially during this surreal moment of history, so why not let Matthew McConaughey’s buttery Southern drawl lull you into the ether of slumber? 

2. Clear your Netflix watchlist 

This activity can kill several birds with one stone, and it can be paired with No. 3 and No. 5. Cheesy romance movies provide the perfect background noise while filling in a coloring book, for example. My Netflix watchlist is by no means a well-curated conglomeration of depressing indie dramas or international hits, as I’ve recently been on a bad romcom kick. But no matter how subpar the film or TV show, there’s still an amount of satisfaction in clicking “remove from watchlist.” Maybe this week’s absence of scholarly responsibilities can give you the chance to watch that movie that has always been on your list. On my list right now is Academy Award nominee “I Lost My Body” and the 2017 environmental documentary “Chasing Coral.” 

1. Call your friends and family 

A recent five-hour video chat with a friend showed me just how desperate for conversation I’ve been; my social circle quickly narrowed with the cancellation of in-person classes. Check up on your friends and extended family members, especially the grandparents who shouldn’t be venturing out of their homes. A friend in South Korea FaceTimed me several nights ago and our conversation mostly centered around boys and COVID-19 — a typical pairing, no? She said she very much appreciated talking to someone after being all alone in her apartment. Reaching out to friends and family doesn’t have to only benefit yourself; think of how you can bless someone else with your repartee.