I sadly have to write about this topic too much, but the pressures of the past year are only increasing. With COVID-19, we have to be vigilant and prepared for just about anything. Activities that typically bring joy and relief are being interrupted. Add a bit of election drama into the mix, and we can have more stress and anxiety. The hard reality is that none of the external pressures is going away soon.
Allow me, Dr. Davis, history scholar, to put things in perspective. I know this a tough time for students and adults alike. We are dealing with a novel virus, and every day we learn both reassuring or unsettling facts about it. We are seeing an election which revealed that the nation remains divided. Stress is everywhere.
When I get in stressful situations, I like to read about eras of history that were far worse than current times. This week, I watched to two World War I movies: 1917 and Journey’s End.
Both films approach WWI from the British perspective. The British WWI military strategy ranked among the worst in world history. No leader exerted any level of creativity, and millions of young men died for a senseless reason. Humans are motivated by a sense of honor. In the case of WWI, this sense of honor and duty led people of hope and promise to a needless demise. These two films capture this in such striking terms. Just having a book or film to give me a different perspective helps me better appreciate my reality and the things I have in my life.
So, I write today to encourage you all to take advantage of this 3-day weekend. This is going to be hard for some students, because the end of the term is drawing near, and projects, papers, and assessments need attention. Despite this, I encourage you all to find balance—have a productive weekend and get some needed relief.
Here are few suggestions:
- Get sleep. Don’t stay up too late on your screens, either binging on some show or playing games. Recharge your internal batteries.
- Turn off social media. It will be okay, and your friends will all be there on Monday.
- Limit yourself to the headlines. With all the stuff going in the election right now, take a break from politics. Look up a more conventional news source to stay updated, maybe in the morning, and then in the evening. But news outlets are going to do everything to keep the drama going, and that won’t help calm you down. At this point, there are things beyond everyone’s control. It will all be waiting for you on Monday!
- Create a schedule for the next three days. If you don’t plan, these great 72 hours will fly by, and you will have missed out. If you are an older student, I know you probably have to get some work done. But, set a goal of mapping out a strategy that gives you time frames to get some work done and then times to do something fun.
- Get some exercise. Working out always relieves stress and makes me way more productive.
- Take a nap. There’s nothing better on a lazy Sunday.
- Do something fun. Yes, get out there—safely and physically distanced, of course.
I, for one, also will be mixing in work with fun, but I am committed to recharging—riding my bike, hanging out with my family, and maybe another movie or two.